Kayaking and snorkeling in the Yasawas

Just touched down in Auckland, NZ.
The captions  for the Christmas blog posted yesterday  did not come through.  They’re there now.  We’ll post a few more stories from Fiji, then tell you about our fascinating time in Vanuatu.
——————————————————–
Swimming and snorkeling were almost daily activities during our stay in Fiji.  And there was no shortage of new reefs to explore right around Tavewa.  The fish were plentiful and the coral was exquisite.  Rhonda and Henry made sure we went out for a night snorkel with flashlights, and also got to see the large coral ‘bommies’ where she and Henry had their underwater wedding ceremony 10 years ago!

image
The electric blue fish were easy to spot! Camouflage is not their specialty.
image
Jake is diving down to get a closer view.
image
"Lettuce-leaf" coral
image
a giant clam
image
It's another world down there!
image
During the night-dive, Henry picked up a sea-cucumber that immediately did it's defensive reaction: to spit out its spaghetti-like respiratory system! Don't worry, it will go back to normal.
image
Two of the more bizarre forms of marine life we encountered.

Rhonda, and especially Henry, have been involved with kayaking in the Yasawas for a long time.  In fact, on their property is a storage shed full of kayaks and other equipment used by South Sea Ventures, a small company that offers guided kayak trips with stops in local villages.  Their tourist season runs from about March to September.  We were eager to get out on the water and planned an overnight trip to circumnavigate the island of Natacawa Levu (the one with the school we visited).  Most of the island was, at one time, part of the Catholic Mission that ran the school as well as a coconut plantation. 

Camp food was organized and packed, and we rolled up our tent and bedding to bring along.  We set off after lunch on November 30th in a flotilla of 3 doubles and one single kayak.  

image
Just setting off from Tavewa. Sun protection was a must!

image

We paddled to a lovely sand beach surrounded by thick forest.

image
the perspective of a hermit crab
image
With a few minor renovations, this shade structure (made of local materials by earlier picnickers) was great.

image

One type of tree there drops “helicopter” seeds a bit like maple keys but with two wings — they were fun to play with.

image
Another activity was collecting purple shells.

Of course there was great snorkeling around the beach and Henry knew exactly where to take us depending on the tide.  We saw beautiful table corals, soft corals that would change colour when touched, and a wide variety of reef fish.  We didn’t manage to catch any, but luckily Rhonda had brought chilli for dinner which was heated over the campfire and enjoyed with a cold can of Fiji Gold!

image

image
Henry and Rhonda, our hosts.
image
We struck gold!

We watched a spectacular south pacific sunset and fell asleep to the lulling sound surf.

image

image

image
Cam is really getting artistic with the photos now: a fire and a fiery sunset!

Next morning, we went snorkeling again before continuing our circumnavigation.  The last thing we did on the beach was to clean up the plastic bottles and shoes.  Yes, shoes!  I cannot believe how many flip-flops and crocs are washed up on beaches.  The plastics are a terrible and growing problem for sea life.  We didn’t have a good way to carry or dispose of the dozens of bottles we found, so I am embarrassed to admit that we burned them.  With a bit of research later, we realized that that was not the best choice as lots of toxins are released if the fire is not at the ultra-high temperature of an incinerator.  Anyway, after the kayak trip, we were motivated to find out more about recycling and disposal of water bottles in Fiji.  Cam will write about that.

image
What to do with all this waste?

We stopped at a village on the other side of the island where Henry’s cousin (Mathias, I think?) and his family live. 

image
Mathias wove a basket of palm fronds and gave us a gift of mangoes.
image
Local fruit in biodegradable packaging was strapped to the kayak.
image
We played "duck, duck, goose" with the kids in the water.

We continued around the island, stopping every now and then to rest our arms, stretch our legs, and swim.  Everyone we met along the way seemed to offer us fruit!  We got back ‘home’ mid-afternoon.  What a great way to get re-acquainted with sea kayaking, something Cam and I hadn’t done since our pre-kid days out on the west coast!

Yvonne

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Kayaking and snorkeling in the Yasawas”

  1. We are really enjoying reading about ourselves….. and miss you guys a lot! We had some good laughs over your Vanuatu blogs and sang your song out loud , Hysterical Cam in your jungle attire, and the turtle shot- sign us up we are planning our trip there as we speak….. We had a more low key Christmas on this island but enjoyed missing all the commercial spending hoopla and “Boxing “day! Ula and Ben made cactus jello today in the coconut shells and Ben was reminiscing about smalads and mentioned a few things herbs and plants that he was surprised he didnt think of. Henry is only now missing your help with the bure realizing we just dont have enough days left !!! Bon Voyage in NZ we will email our Fox Glacier connection and Cairns in Auzzie land.
    And as they say in Fiji…… ” Merry Christmas!”
    Rhonda, Henry and Ben

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s