Day 88, Year 2: From The Blue Lagoon to Sawa-i-Lau
Date: Saturday, July 21, 2007
Weather: Overcast, Clearing in Late Afternoon; Winds E 15-20, Gusts to 28
Latitude: S 16 degrees 50.849 minutes
Longitude: E 177 degrees 28.003 minutes
Location: Sawa-i-Lau, Yasawa Group, Fiji

Our morning in the Blue Lagoon was overcast, but still pleasant. We went to shore to walk on the beach and we were met by a little boy with his baby bottle of milk. He looked to be about two years old. I was fairly sure he didn’t understand English, so we just played in the sand for a few minutes without talking. We then met his family. His mother told us to ask him his name. We did and he replied. He told us that he is Peter and that he is two years old. He was very cute. We found out from
his grandmother that we were supposed to do sevusevu. She actually went into her home and came back with a color-printed sheet explaining that we should do sevusevu here and that we could order fresh bread. This is so different from the non-commercial side of Fiji, but still it is beautiful. Mark had read somewhere that it was customary to do sevusevu, but it looked like there was only a resort on the beach so we didn’t take the kava in with us. Mark went back to Windbird to get the kava and
Steve and I walked toward the south end of the island where two large Blue Lagoon cruise ships had pulled in this morning. We were greeted with a sign saying, “No Entry Beyond This Point. Private Land.” It seems that the Turtle Island Resort on Nanuya Levu and the Blue Lagoon Cruise Line basically own the Blue Lagoon. We did walk through the Nanuya Island Resort to the point on the north end of the island and then walked on the path leading to the other side of the island. After watching the
movie: The Blue Lagoon, I was glad I didn’t see any cannibals on “the other side.” We did meet a couple of women from New Zealand from the sailboat Ivory Quays. We talked about our passages from New Zealand and found that they used Commander Weather out of New Hampshire. They were advised not to leave the week we left, but to wait a week. They had a glorious passage, and hearing the story made us feel sad that we hadn’t used Commander for this passage. Next time.

On our way back to Windbird, we decided to stop by a very large catamaran in the anchorage. We were very curious as to why it had two large satellite domes. We met the owner, Mike Yaw, his daughter and her husband, and their two children. We learned that one dome is for high-speed internet and the other is for television. Mike is a single-hander and is circumnavigating the world in his boat Good News. He started in France about eight years ago and will be going home by way of South Africa.
He is taking the boat to Cairns in Australia at the end of this season and we talked to him about joining the Sail Indonesia Rally next July. He actually had interest in this and we gave him some information. Mike graciously invited us to see the inside of his boat and we were all amazed. The boat is huge and has every electronic device you can imagine, including air conditioning that was running. There was a very large flat screen TV in the main saloon, and a TV with remote controls in each
of the three sleeping quarters. The stateroom was on the port side of the boat, along with a full-sized upright double-doored refrigerator and freezer, an automatic washer/dryer, and a bathroom with a separate shower room almost as large as our aft stateroom. I asked his daughter if she realized that all people sailing around the world weren’t this well equipped, and she laughed and explained that she has to tell her children this all the time. We should have brought them over to Windbird to see
how the rest of us live, but we were in a bit of a hurry to move out to Sawa-i-Lau. We hope to keep in touch with Mike, and will probably see him again somewhere along the line. He knows Jonah on Araby and a few other boats that we have met along the way, so we really enjoyed sharing stories about friends.

We left the Blue Lagoon around noon and made our way north to Sawa-i-Lau. Just before we left, we got a call from Miami inquiring about the Blue Lagoon anchorage. They had just left Sawa-i-Lau and were coming our way. We were just leaving the Blue Lagoon and heading their way. But they were coming down on the east side of the islands and we were going north on the west side. It was another windy day, but the passage was unevently–just scary because there are reefs everywhere and there just
aren’t really good paper charts for this area and the electronic chart is off and we had no tracks of other boats to follow. Regardless, we arrived safely in the natural bay formed between Nacula and Yasawa islands. We made our way to the east side of the bay to the tiny island of Sawa-i-Lau and set anchor in deep water and a good 25 knots of wind. There was one other boat in the anchorage when we arrived, and while we were in the anchoring process, the yacht Christina arrived.

Since it was already late in the afternoon, we rushed to the south shore of Yasawa island to the village of Nabukeru to do sevusevu and to see if we could visit the caves on Sawa-i-Lau today. We learned that there is one chief shared between Tasmaua and Nabukeru villages, and that we could do sevusevu with one of the chief’s spokesmen in Nabukeru. A young man took us to the spokesman’s home where we did sevusevu. The spokesman was a young man named Cagi (Thangee). His eleven year-old son, Kulai,
and five year-old daughter, Litia, were there for the ceremony, and afterwards the eleven year-old asked if I would like to buy shells. I have been hoping to find more nautilus shells and he said that he had a couple. He went to get the nautilus shells and came back with two and with his mother, Lavi. We took pictures and bought shells, and then went in search of Ben who has the key to the gate you must pass through to get to the caves. The young many who had met us when we arrived, Sione, went
with us. He found Ben and Ben gave him the key, so off we went. The village has built concrete steps that lead up from the beach. We climbed the steps and entered a metal door that has been built at the entrance to the main cave. You get into the water in the main cave and can then swim to the far end and go into a very small opening that leads to a second cave. Sione told us that the underwater cave was on the opposite side of the cave, and then he went outside to wait for us. I found the
cave and went in a short distance, bumped my head, and came back out. In the end, Steve was the only one who had the nerve to go all the way into the second cave, but Mark and I enjoyed the crazy sounds he made to let us know he had made it through. We all then enjoyed the beauty of the light entering the main cave through a natural skylight and bouncing off the water and the limestone walls. It really is a beautiful spot.

On our way to the cave, we stopped at Windbird to get our snorkeling gear and we invited Sione aboard to see our home. We talked a little about the movie, The Blue Lagoon. Much of the Brooke Shields version of this movie was shot here in Sawa-i-Lau and Sione asked if we had a DVD copy of it. I told him we did, and he asked to borrow it. Steve brought up the point that we might get into some trouble with the village elders for lending him a movie with nudity in it, but I just told him not to tell
the minister. Steve joked by saying that Sione is the village minister, but I guess we will really find out who he is in the morning. We plan to attend church and then do some low-key snorkeling in the afternoon. Unless things change, we will leave here on Monday morning and head south as fast as we can go. We have packed a lot into Steve’s time with us here in Fiji, but we have a few more things we want to do before he leaves on Thursday night.

070721 Day 88 Yasawa Group, Fiji–The Blue Lagoon
070721 Day 88 Yasawa Group, Fiji–Sawa-i-Lau Arrival and Cave Dive