The Captain, cousin Mary Lou and I set out for The Yasawas after a two-day, rain soaked stop over in the Denarau anchorage. Our first stop was in Yalobi Village, Waya.
Donning sulus, we joined another boat (SY Tangaroa) that had recently arrived and headed to shore, kava in hand, for Sevusevu with the Village Chief.
Following the ceremony, The Chief indicated that the ‘women were waiting for us.’ We headed outside, and seemingly every woman in the village had something on offer (jewelry, shells, cloth, woven mats, carvings) with enough available to supply a cruise ship. I do not do well in these situations and felt compelled to buy something from every vendor. The Captain intervened when I was half way through the marketplace. I need to toughen up.
We returned to Amandla, and finding the anchorage a bit rolly, lifted anchor and headed to the eastern side of the bay. Unfortunately, we were now anchored off a different village (Namara). Our ‘drive-by’ Sevusevu in Yalobi Village did not offer us respite here, so we remained on-board and left at sun up the next morning.
Our next stop was the southwest side of Naviti where a school of manta rays are said to make a visit with each high tide. We’d arrived too late to snorkel so we joined a few other boats in the anchorage for a sundowner on the beach.
Next morning, we did a drift snorkel but failed to see any manta rays. As a consolation, we were treated to blue starfish and a few schools of small tropical fish. Early next morning, it was anchors up again.
After a four-hour sail, we arrived in the Nanuya Island anchorage, home of the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’. The lagoon is beautiful and the adjacent to the yacht friendly Nanuaya Island Resort, so we decided to stay for a few days.
We enjoyed some good snorkeling off Savuti Point and were able to purchase fresh produce from farmers that were selling it ‘farm-to-boat’ in the anchorage.
Initially, we had planned to sail from Nanuya back to Denarau so cousin Mary Lou could catch her flight home. But with air and ferry transportation readily available in the Yasawas, we decided to (sadly) disembark Mary Lou in Nanuya at the end of her visit.
From Nanuya, we headed to Yasawa Island, making it as far north as Namataya Bay, an off the beaten track, comfortable anchorage. We snorkeled off nearby Vawa Island and met the grounds keepers. In the evening, we enjoyed a few rounds of Mexican Train with our friends Nona and Steve from SY Corvidae.
The next morning, The Captain and Nona took a provisions package including sugar, rice and canned goods to the very appreciative Vawa Island grounds keepers. The Captain and I then started our return sail southward, stopping first in a good anchorage off Somosomo Bay, just west of Narewa Point.
The following morning, we took the dinghy to shore at what we thought was low tide and set out on a mile long hike to the eastern side of the island in search of a WWII plan wreck that could be snorkeled.
It wasn’t easy to locate the wreck, but some local villagers who were out on the reef harvesting sea grapes told us we could find it next to a mooring buoy in the center of the lagoon.
The water was very murky so I couldn’t see it until I was directly above it
When we returned to the beach at Narewa Point, we found out that now, it was truly low tide and our dinghy was about 20 meters from the water on the beach. We had to remove the engine so that the dinghy was light enough to drag to sea and then carry the engine to it.
Boating 101 should have given us enough sense not to leave the dinghy where we did when we did. But it wasn’t too serious and we were back on-board Amandla in no time and sailing back to Naviti for a second chance at finding manta rays.
This time, we were lucky. At least I was. The Captain, who had snorkeled previously with giant manta rays in the Galapagos was kind enough to drive the dinghy and spot mantas while I snorkeled and snapped.
The images didn’t turn out so great given my nascent photography skills and the uncooperative light (high tide was at 0700 hours and the skies were overcast). Still, I loved the experience.
After the snorkel, we sailed back to Denarau where we will be resident for the next couple of weeks having a new bimini built. The old one has stood up to all kinds of weather over the past 10 years. Hoping the new one is just as good!