Saturday 19th August 2017
We spent another 4 days at anchor in Blue Lagoon doing nothing very much but watching the world go by. Sandwiched between three islands this seems to be one of the few spots in the Yasawas that is free of the effects of ocean swell and so an ideal place to catch up on some sleep, do a few small jobs and relax while a trough passes over the area . Quite a few other boats obviously agreed and the anchorage was relatively full.
As we entered through the reef last week one boat name caught our attention and led to a ‘what a small world’ moment. Onboard, having sailed up from their New Zealand base, was the sister and brother in law of some friends of ours from our old home town of Cranbrook. In fact it turned into a very sociable couple of days with all the crews getting together most evenings at the Yacht Club bar in the small Nanuya resort.
Raya at anchor in the Blue Lagoon
Despite its uncrowded feel it’s a busy area. Surrounding the large lagoon hidden amongst the trees are two or three villages, three or four backpacker and more up market resorts, a glamping site and a beach area used by a small cruise ship that comes in once a week. All the resorts in the Yasawa and Mamanuka islands are fairly small and they blend well into the unspoilt landscape.
In fact the whole economy of the area revolves around the tourist industry, the villages provide the staff, grow a lot of the fresh food and are involved in the transport of goods, locals and tourists between one island and another. There seemed permanently to be one boat or another crossing the lagoon.
The villagers whizz about in their all purpose longboats that convert into everything from the school bus, to a fishing boat, a taxi or goods delivery van.
The villages and resorts are kept supplied by landing craft that ply back and forth from the mainland. In such treacherous waters, even with their shallow drafts delivery is dependent on the tide. We watch in admiration at the skill with which these large boats are navigated through the anchorages and complex reef systems.
The larger of the two landing craft keeping the islands supplied with goods.
A few tourists arrive daily on seaplanes that noisily land frighteningly close to the yachts. However most people arrive on the Flyer, a bright yellow catamaran that will be forever synonymous with our trip here, it daily delivers and picks up passengers from almost every resort in the island group. Bringing in its wake not just waves that set us rocking but a fleet of small boats that act as go betweens, transporting goods and guests from the Flyer to the shore.
The Yasawa Flyer
On Wednesday we added another form of floating transport to the Lagoon, setting out on our kayak to feed the fish off the reef half a mile away at the other end of the island. We could see the sky was darkening but the sea was calm and the wind nonexistent, we didn’t think a little rain would harm us. About halfway a sudden deluge began, it brought so much rain we could hardly see even the few metres in front of us. We paddled to shore and hid under a palm tree, five minutes later it stopped and we carried on our way. Then through the trees we saw another band of rain approaching, the wind had began to pick up, the signs weren’t good, so we quickly turned for home. Not being particularly proficient paddlers the trip back was rather, shall we say, challenging, especially as we kept getting fits of the giggles. By the time we reached Raya there were 2ft waves running and it was blowing 25kts, thank goodness we were upwind, I think had we paddled out the other way we might still be out there!
Not the best time to chose to take out the kayak.