Category Archives: Fiji

Yalobi Waterfalls in Waya

We ended up leaving the rugby tournament early because a strong weather system was forecasted to come through and cause all sorts of problems for us.  So, we left after the first set, 16 games in 11-minute increments.  Our new destination is a small bay called Yalobi off the southern tip of Waya Island.

We pointed as high as we could to head North towards Waya.  We managed to sail the first 10nm.  But  we just couldn’t make it so we had to turn the engines on for the last 7nm.  Straight into the wind and waves.  Thank goodness it was only a short distance as it was not comfortable.  We got rained on several times in addition to the wind and seas on the nose.

We arrived in Yalobi Bay on Waya Island to a beautiful double rainbow, but it was only out for a short while before the wind and rain came for 18 hours straight.

The good news is that the rain has brought out the lush green hillside and created several cascading waterfalls.

When we arrived, there were 3 other boats in the anchorage.  By sunset, another 4 boats arrived to hunker down and wait out the storm.

Sun Comes a Shining

Finally, the sun comes out and we are able to go ashore to do our sevusevu and walk around the village of Yalobi.  We meet the chief and several locals who are more than happy to show us around their village with 58 families, a small infirmary, and a school.

There are lots of fabulous homes scattered in between the concrete houses.

We came across a monument which honors the many Fijians that died during the massive Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918.  Fiji lost 14% of their population in a matter of months due to the pandemic.

We strolled along the long, beautiful, beach.

And we discovered lots of cascading waterfalls that filled the streams, water tanks and livelihood of the village.

The Yalobi hillsides and village come alive after the rain storm – so green and healthy!  There was one rather large 50meter yacht that had a helicopter fly off and into the sunset.

We also found this adorable puppy that I so wanted to stuff in my backpack!

The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  We experience our first Fijian Rugby game in Yanuya – did you read about it on our last blog?

Fijian Rugby

The Fiji rugby team has been a major force in the 2022 world rugby tournament.  It is a serious sport here in Fiji and is played on most of the islands.  We were lucky enough to be able to attend a tournament in the Mamanucas!

They started at 0700 on a Thursday morning as they had to get through 32 teams playing 11-minute games.  Each team does a prayer before each game.  One team recently lost their chief, so before their game, the entire stadium had a moment of silence. (top photo).

While 2 teams are playing on the field, the other teams are warming up on the side lines.

The teams do this fabulous thing that I call “hike the player up” when the ball goes out of bounds.  Each team raises one team member as high as they can go and those team members try to catch the ball that is thrown to them from offsides.  

To restart the game, they scrum, where both teams of 7 huddle together in a circle and one guy tosses the ball in the center.

I will tell you that these players are real men!  No falling down and pretending to be hurt (like in US basketball or soccer).  They take a hit and pop back up!  And I mean they really take a hit!  We heard them pound the ground and saw the dirt shoot up.  No pads or helmets!

Good or bad, I have no idea

A lot of “oops” moments where they just couldn’t hold on to the ball as they were pummeled to the ground.

But there were a lot of great moments and fast runners in this rugby tournament.

Most of the time, they held onto that funny football with all their might!

Almost every match had a score or more.

We were wondering what they used to mark the field and wouldn’t you know it, they use used motor oil!

The rugby players might have only played for 11 minutes, but they played harder than any other sport I’ve seen!  And it is no surprise that they played so passionately as the first-place team won $3000FJ, 2nd place won $1000FJ and the teams that lost in the semi finals each were awarded $300FJ (the entry fee).

We made lots of friends on the side lines.

After the game, we headed to their artisan market that they opened specially for us.  They had 6 rows of tables filled with local Fijian crafts.


  • No shoulder pads or helmets
  • The ball must be pitched backwards to your teammates. No forward passes
  • A team can pitch the ball back and forth to each other as many times as they like
  • There is no blocking to assist your runner
  • Everyone runs with the ball and tackles equally.
  • When you are tackled, you have 1 second to let go of the ball and purposely “fumble” the ball.  Don’t touch it again until you are up from the pile and standing on your feet.
  • When you tackle someone, you cannot touch the ball until you are on your feet.  You cannot dive on a loose ball.
  • Typically, there are 15 plays from each team, but in Fiji there are only 7 from each side.
  • When your teammate pitches the ball to you as you are running down the field, and you drop it, that is a penalty (called “knock down”)

The events from this blog occurred in early October 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  Wilson is back on Cast Away Island – did you read about it on our last blog?

Wilson is back on Cast Away island

Monuriki Island is a small island maintained and operated by the chief of a neighboring island called Yanuya.  Monuriki is uninhabited and a nature preserve.  As an added bonus, this is also where the movie Cast Away was filmed in 1999 and 2000.  Tom Hanks as Chuck and his companion Wilson were the leading characters.

We wanted to visit Monuriki, but first we had to do sevusevu with the chief on Yanuya and pay a small fee of $20FJ which goes to the “maintenance of the island.”  After our sevusevu ceremony, we grabbed our friends Thomas and Mareike from Scooter and we dinghied the 1.2nm to the small island.

I took snap shots from the movie….to compare to the real thing.

The left corner of the island is where Chuck washed to shore on his inflatable life raft.  The highest peak (on the left) is where he attempted to kill himself.

Of course, the director removed all surrounding islands in the movie…

The corner of Cast Away island is also where he wrote “Help Me” in the sand.  Unfortunately for him it washed away with the tide, so the locals wrote it using coconuts.  My friends changed it a little to Help Me Tom and you can guess as to whether they meant Tom Hanks or Thomas from Scooter.

Hike to the Summit

The island is a nature preserve. Hikers have to stay on the marked trails (no off the trail exploring).  We wanted to go to the highest peak, but alas there was no trail. So, we climbed to the 2nd highest summit and were rewarded with a beautiful view of Cast Away island and her reefs.

On the way down, we found the famous rock where Chuck wrote his farewell after being on the island for 4 years!

We found Wilson!  After being lost at sea, he returned to Monuriki island.  One of the guides happened to be walking by with a tour group and we were able to borrow one of his props! 

We had a great time visiting Monuriki (aka Cast Away island) which had the softest sand, a picnic table in the shade, a lovely hike to the summit, and lots of Hollywood history.

We made lots of little friends who were the best tour guides you could ask for on Yanuya.

The events from this blog occurred in early October.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  We attempt to rescue a stranded boat on the reef in our last blog.