Friday, September 19, 2014

Yasawa Islands, Fiji: Waya

Sondra, our Sun Goddess, read a new book every few days!
Finally it is time to get out and explore the Fijian outer islands. Annapolis friends, Stuart and Sondra, have arrived to spend a couple of weeks with us. Since they have not had the island experiences of native culture, we will head up the Yasawa Island Group to introduce them to another world. We have seen many examples of song, dance, crafts, food and worship as we have travel across the oceans. It is always fun to see what the next place has to share with us.

Overview of the Fijian Islands: over 320 of them!
Our first real exploration of the Fijian islands was a sail up the chain of islands known as the Yasawa Group. These islands are northwest of Vuda Point Marina and it is about 90 miles to the most northern island. The Yasawa islands are inhabited primarily by the native Fijians. However, the most southern of the Yasawa islands now host a number of resorts as well as backpacker hotels.
The Fiji islands have more vegetation and less volcanic
rock then some in French Polynesia and they have
more white sandy beaches,, but getting to them is
a challenge with all of the reefs in the way!
Our first stop on our way up the Yasawa Island
Group was at the island called Waya which is the larger island just north of Wayasewa Island. We were not planning to go ashore here as it was just to be an overnight stop on our way to Naviti. Traveling through the reefs is a slow and cautious process, so we knew we could not cover a lot of ground in any one day. The key is to find safe places to anchor in good light before nightfall.

The wind was very light, almost non-existent so sailing was out of the question even if the reefs had not been an issue. They say that sails get raised about one out of every seven days. We are finding this to be true of cruising within the island groups. Obviously, they are always up when there is wind on an ocean passage so that helps keep the average up.

We anchored off this beach for the night, but did not
go ashore on Waya. Came back on our way down, too,
where we met up with S/V Circe and S/V Tulasi
Waya Island is just 60 km northwest of Viti Levu and is the highest island the chain at 579 meters. This is the place for hikers and the adventurous. Of course, when hiking it is important to watch the tide so you don’t get stranded somewhere at high tide. The beach you walked a few hours earlier will be non-existent when you return if you are too late!

There are four native villages on the island. This gives you the opportunity to experience the village visit with the sevusevu ceremony and explore. Although, we have heard that the lower islands get so many visitor that they sort of blow .off the tradition and tell you to just leave your kava gift on the table! This may be the result of too many day trippers on tour boats arriving at the closer islands. We will go to Naviti for our first sevusevu experience.

The terrain and flora are very different from the more
volcanic islands in French Polynesia.


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