Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Fiji is actually made up of over 320 islands, with Viti Levu being the largest. I visited 6 of the islands in 12 days taking the Yasawa flyer, a large catamaran between islands. First stop was South Sea island, one of the Mamanuca islands. It's tiny, taking 2 minutes to walk across from one side to the other. It was a really friendly island where all the staff knew you by name as there was only 11 of us staying overnight. At every island the staff greet you from the boat singing and playing their guitars with their traditional welcome song. Meals are at set times every day and there is usually a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. I went out on a submarine boat to see the coral reef, however the water wasn't very clear after all the rain. The snorkelling trip from the island was a little better, I saw a lot of colourful fish. All the non-motorised watersports were free so after lunch one of the staff taught me how to sail a hobbycat, sailing around the island, it was something I had never tried before but really enjoyed. It was a really windy day and the little boat went very fast, it was great fun. After dinner there was crab racing, the first crab to make it from the centre of the circle to the outside wins, and my crab, Mr Claws, won, so I had to make an acceptance speech and receive a bottle of wine. After South Sea, I went to Kuata, about an hour and a half away, one of the first islands in the chain of Yawasas. From here I did a snorkelling trip to find reef sharks, on Moua reef, they tend to swim along the ocean bed, and I had great fun diving down to take a closer look. They are about 1m long but luckily quite harmless. I spent 2 nights on each island which gave plenty of time to look around and swim and sunbathe each day. After Kuata, I went to Korovou resort, Naviti Island and then Coral View resort, Taweha island. From here I went scuba diving to watch the shark feeding. At a depth of 18m the Fijians feed the sharks every day, and invite the tourists to watch the feast. I wasn't sure what to expect, the sharks were a lot larger than I thought they would be, the lemon shark is 2-3m long, and looks quite mean, I also saw white tipped and black tipped sharks, which were slightly smaller. It was an amazing experience, and I didn't feel scared at all. On my second day I visited the Sawihla caves. It took 40 minutes on a speed boat to get there. The first cavern is huge, very tall and has a lovely large pool of water to dive into, from this first cavern, more caves can be accessed by swimming under the water for about 1m, and then a torch is needed to see inside the caves as unlike the first cave, no natural light comes through. From Coral View I went to Mantaray island which was a very nice island with a great beach and great food, and even a menu to choose from, unlike the other islands. I went scuba diving on a reef about a 20 minute boat ride from the island. The coral reef was very colourful and I saw plenty of fish, a grey reef shark and a turtle. My last island was Bounty Island, one of the Mamanuca isles, a nice small island with a swimming pool and nice beach, apparently Celebrity Love island was filmed there....
I really enjoyed the islands and found them very relaxing after all the bus travel over the last 5 months.

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