The Yasawa islands extend from southwest to northeast over an arc of about 100 kilometers west of the two main islands of Fiji: Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Consisting of about fifteen main islands and countless smaller islands, the Yasawa are a very suitable place to visit on a cruise.
WHICH CRUISE TO CHOOSE
If you want to visit the islands on a cruise you have basically two possibilities: Blue Lagoon Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises. Both cruises depart from Port Denarau, a short distance from the main international airport of the Fiji Islands, where almost all international flights from Australia, New Zealand and Asia arrive. The itineraries of the two cruise lines are almost identical.
In our case we preferred to try Captain Cook Cruises. The reasons for our choice were substantially two: the possibility of bringing the children on board, our trip was in fact dedicated to an experience in Fiji with the children, and the lower price of the cruise.
Captain Cook Cruises offers cruises of 3, 4, 7 and 11 nights that allow you to visit a large part of Fiji: Yasawa, Mamanuca, Lau, Kadavu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau, etc. Our choice fell on the 7-night cruise that allows us to visit both the Yasawa islands and the Mamanuca islands. This cruise, if you don’t have enough time for the 7 nights, can be divided into two cruises of 3 and 4 nights. The ship, the Reef Endevour, in fact returns to Port Denarau after the first part of the cruise. Every day the cruise program offers numerous activities such as snorkeling, visits to villages, schools, trekking itineraries, kayaks, interesting conferences on local culture and the coral reef and inevitable visits to the many white sandy beaches of the islands. The cruise is very active and you won’t be bored.
THE BEGINNING OF THE CRUISE
Our cruise experience begins with a quick check-in that is done at the Captain Cook Cruises desk in Port Denarau, it is easy to find because it is the largest of all and is located right in front of the entrance to the port of embarkation. Once assigned the cabin you are invited to go to the nearby Rhum-Ba where you have a free drink offered by Captain Cook Cruises. Here we await the call for boarding which takes place around 1 pm.
We go aboard the ship, the Reef Endevour, and we are greeted by the crew with a necklace of shells, a cocktail and beautiful Fijian songs. Fortunately, the ship is not large but offers all the advantages and merits of a boat that carries just over 100 passengers. Shortly after boarding the cruise begins. The first stop is the Tivua islet, a sandy islet surrounded by the coral reef. Tivua Island is the private island of Captain Cook Cruises and is used for day tours that depart from Port Denarau. We remain on the island until sunset having the first swim on the cruise.
VOLCANIC ISLANDS AND SOLITARY BEACHES
The next day, at dawn, the ship passes near the southernmost islands of the Yasawa: the mountainous islands of Kuata, Wayasewa and Waya. It is worth getting up early and admiring these beautiful mountainous islands as the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean. Then we cross the narrow channel that divides the islands of Naukacuvu and Nanuya Balavu, we skirt the large island of Naviti and anchor in the northern part of this island.
We disembark on the long beach in front of Brothers Island, a spectacular strip of deserted white sand. Then, in the afternoon we move to the bay in front of the village of Gunu where we snorkel. In the late afternoon we visit the village of Gunu, where the inhabitants organize a craft market, we attend the Kava ceremony, the cooking of the dishes in the Lovo and then the villagers delight us with engaging songs and dances. Gunu is a beautiful village with a single church frequented by Methodists, Catholics and other Christians.
TREKKING AND BATH IN A CAVE
On the third day the Reef Endevour reaches the northernmost point of the cruise the Buasali bay, between the islands of Sawa-I-Lau and Yasawa. Today for me, wake up before dawn because I participate in the trekking excursion on Mount Tamasua on the island of Yasawa. An excursion of about an hour (2 km and 600 meters), rather tiring due to the high speed at which it is faced.
On this excursion you climb the mountain overlooking the school of Ratu Namasi and from there you observe the sunrise. From above you can admire a large part of the island of Yasawa and some nearby islands. Let’s go back to the ship. After breakfast we visit the school of Ratu Namasi where the children delight us with their songs and then make us visit the classrooms of their school. After the visit to the school, we have space for snorkeling, which is done around the islet of Sivia which is located in front of the village.
In the afternoon we decide to participate in the excursion to the cave of the island of Sawa-I-Lau, a cave where the sea water enters, with a 22 meters high ceiling partially open. We bathe inside the cave, an absolutely must-do experience: sheer walls, the blue of the sky and the green of the vegetation at the top, and the dark water at the bottom. It seems that nobody knows the depth of the cave. This is the cave that appears in the film “Blue Lagoon” with Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields. After the visit to the cave we move for a refreshing bath to the Blue Lagoon where it seems that they have shot other scenes of the famous film.
SPECTACULAR SNORKELING EVERY DAY
On the fourth day we participate in snorkeling on the island of Yaqueta where we observe spectacular corals. Then we visit a beautiful beach near the island village, truly spectacular. In the afternoon another spectacular snorkeling, the most beautiful of the cruise. We do it in the coral reef in front of the south-east coast on the island of Drawaqa. So let’s take a last swim on the island of Drawaqa on the triangular sand strip opposite the Manta Ray Island Resort. This is the last day of the cruise in the northern Yasawa, tomorrow morning we will return to Port Denarau to start the cruise to the Mamanuca islands and the southern Yasawa.