Yes to Yasawa Islands Fiji

Fiji is a South Pacific island nation that is comprised on 333 islands. Until the 1980s the Yasawa Islands, a group of six main islands and many smaller islets, was kept off the tourist trail as land-based tourism was not permitted. The all changed after the film The Blue Lagoon was shot there in 1980 when limited tourism was permitted.

Actually, the Yasawas have a quite important maritime history, as Captain Bligh, pulled in there, the first European to do so, after he had been set adrift by the HMS Bounty mutineers, and an area called Bligh Water was named after him.

As you would expect when you are visiting a group of remote islands, the main activities centre around the water and one of the most popular of these if the Waya Reef Shark Snorkel. Yes, that’s right, you are encouraged to don your snorkel and flippers and swim with the myriad of sharks which inhabit the reef. The good news is that, as sharks go, these are the smaller reef sharks which tend not to be interested in humans as a food source. The better news is that there are plenty of other fish which congregate around the reef, and their presence means that the reef sharks are well fed, so preserving their disinterest in humans.

The main attraction in the Yasawas though is the Sawa-i-Lau limestone caves, which can be a true challenge to reach as the entrance is underwater at high tide.

For those that are fearful of the dive a set of stairs has been constructed leading from the beach to the cave; but to the locals the true test of courage is for you to make the dive to the cave entrance. It is actually a case of mind over matter as the dive usually lasts just a few seconds.

There are actually about 100 caves in the group, many of which are only accessible from underwater. The tallest cave, the one which is accessible via steps does get some natural light, but many of the caves require you to carry torches in order to see properly. When you enter the caves you will be accompanied by local guides.

Because these caves have religious significance to the locals, petroglyphs have been etched into the walls of some of the caves, which your guide can point out to you.

As one of the outer island chains, options to get to the Yasawa Islands are a bit more limited than some of the closer islands to Nadi and Denarau. There is a very large and very fast catamaran that can transport hundreds of people from the mainland to the top of the Yasawa chain, and it does this trip at least once a day.

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