Beachcomber, The Blue Lagoon, and Boogeymen...

Trip Start Jan 08, 2006
Trip End Jan 27, 2006

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Where I stayed
Sunrise Lagoon Resort

Flag of Fiji  ,
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday the 18th marked our departure from Beachcomber, and we were looking forward to leaving and going beyond the tiny island. Today was the start of our final week in Fiji - a week to be spent island hopping the Yasawa group.

The Yasawa flyer was our transport for the next week as we cruised from island to island. The Flyer is a fast bright yellow catamaran. The rough channels between islands made the ride a lot of the time nice and bumpy and fun!

We hopped on the Flyer to begin a journey the length of the Yasawa island chain to our first island stop for the week, Nanuya Lailai. The trip up was stunning. The early islands in the chain are volcanic and due to this, rise a few hundred meters above sea level, even though the island may only be a couple of kilometres wide. Kuata, Waya Lailai, and Waya are the best for this. Other islands just had high rolling grassy hills with plenty of palm trees. It was interesting to see the change in the islands the further we went out. The other good thing about going the length of the chain first was seeing some of the islands we were to visit in the coming week.

After about 4 hours we reached our destination - the Blue Lagoon. This is the area where the Blue Lagoon movies were filmed. We were staying on one of the islands surrounding the lagoon, Nanuya Lailai.

We hopped off the Flyer and on to a smaller boat (a dinghy with a big motor attached) which took us to shore. We were met by Tui, our host on the island. The scenery was amazing. There was a semi-large cruise ship anchored further down the beach where the more luxurious stuff happens. The amazing thing about this beach and Blue Lagoon was the noise. There was none. It was so quiet you could hear a fish swimming. The Lagoon is in the shelter of a bunch of islands and hence no waves exist. A very relaxing place.

We were staying on the eastern side of the island, facing the ocean at Sunrise Lagoon. Here was less tranquil. The wind was quite high and the seas rough. We stayed at a place called 'Sunrise Lagoon Resort'. It was really a resort, as weren't most places we stayed in the Yasawas, despite what the name says. It was great though. A Bure 7m away from the beach and a mosquito net made it very pleasant to stay.

We stayed two nights on Nanuya. On the first and second afternoons day we made our way around to the Blue Lagoon beach for a snorkel. Snorkelling was ok here (not as good as Beachcomber), quite good once you found your way to the shelf. The absence of waves made it nice. Stace fell asleep in a hammock whilst I was out frolicking with coral. Plenty of hermit crabs were about, and I wanted to bring some home to add to my collection.

To get to the other side of the beach we could other walk around the perimeter or over the summit. The walk over the summit was breathtaking. It gave great views of the surrounding lagoons, and the different parts of the island - mangroves, beaches, palm trees, and plains. Some parts looked straight out of Jurassic Park.

On the first morning we jumped in 'Joe's Water Taxi' (another dinghy, this one with a bigger motor), and headed further north to the Caves of Sawai Lau. This place marked the furthest away from home I've ever been (as said Samwise!). Willy (another one!) was our guide in the caves.

The caves were awesome. They are caves where you can walk around, but caves where you swim and paddle. We jumped in the main chamber where the water is deep and cool. The rock face extended up about 20 - 30m to the where light was coming in through the trees. This was the first of two chambers we were to visit. To get to the second chamber, it was dive down 2 feet, swim along under rock about 2 meters, and then surface into a pitch black area about the diameter of a computer screen. You can see why some chose not to go. Willy was there to greet us on the other side, and what a sight it was to surface and see him! There were very minimal places to hold on to the side all throughout the caves, and even less places to put your feet down and stand. We ventured in further to a larger area where he told us the nature of the caves.

The caves of Sawai Lau are said to be the birth place of the Fijian's ancestor's Gods. Most Fijians dare not go there for that reason. It was really dark and quiet in there, and we only had one torch. No photos are allowed in any of the caves. There is a small village that guards the entrance to it. After being spooked in there for about ten minutes listening to the silence and Willy's quiet whispered tales of the ancestors, it was time to leave.

To leave Willy likes to sing. He sang, "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream... If you see a boogey man, don't forget to scream. AARGGHHHH!!" It sounds really lame. But he had a great voice, and sang such that it echoed around the chamber. I was freaked.

It was easier coming out from dark to light. The only bad things about this experience were the constant biting of sea lice. As we came back out into the first chamber, it was a bit of a blowout as we saw a Fijian squeezing through a gap of rock just under a foot wide and 2m above the water. It was a very tight tunnel into a smaller chamber. He was another guide. A couple of guys (the Fijians mainly) decided to climb up higher (about 10-15m) and jump down. Madness. Climbing up looked next to impossible to my eyes. The Fijians did it no probs.

The caves were the highlight of our stay on Nanuya Lailai. We met some interesting other travellers, people that we met again on other islands days later. Massages by the old lady were nice by the beach, getting seasick when fishing not so good. The thing we won't forget about Sunrise is the music. Tui had a tape (yes tape!) with 5 songs on it including Rhinestone Cowboy, Queen of Hearts, and Leaving on a Jetplane. She was to play the tape over and over and over. Terrible songs that you couldn't get out of your head with a jackhammer. That is the Fijian way though! And we learned to laugh about it at least!
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