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Celebrating the Konis Family Fijian Style

As we near the end of the Konis family trip, we visit 4 islands in their last few days onboard Sugar Shack.  We stop in Naviti, Mana, Malolo, and Viti Levu in 3 days!

Day 9: Naviti Island to Mana Island

We were blessed with northerly winds which gave us a super comfortable downwind sail with our medium size spinnaker.  Everyone was a little nervous considering our last “longish” passage was pretty rough.  This time they all enjoyed the calm conditions as we surfed the seas and averaged 7kts to Mana Island.   35nm down in a blink of the eye.

I love exploring all of these islands for the first time with my family!  They get to see how we navigate into new passes and anchorages.  The pass into Mana island is crazy narrow and curvy.  It is certainly a challenge, especially during low tide.  But we manage to enter it and drop the hook with no issues (thank goodness).

We frolic in the water in the afternoon and enjoy a tasty porkchop dinner and chocolate raspberry ice cream for dessert.   Then we get real goofy watching Zoolander 2.

Day 10: Mana Island and Malolo Island

The next morning, we go ashore to explore Mana island.  It is filled with many backpacker resorts on one side of the island and a posh resort on the other.  A huge ugly fence separates the two halves of the island which is rather unfortunate!  The village and backpacker side is super friendly and very welcoming to cruisers.  We enjoyed some cold beverages, a walk through their small market, and chatting with the locals.  We did venture around the fence to the resort side and found it to be a typical posh resort.   Friendly enough to us, but not overly welcoming like we are used to with the Fijian culture.

This was a funny sign using “kava” as a pun…

The anchorage looks so pretty and peaceful from shore.

We ran into some beautiful little children while here.

We tried to do sevusevu here as well but the chief was not on island during our visit.  The local lady suggested we buy from the artisans instead of presenting kava and we happily obliged as they had some lovely wares.

We left early afternoon to visit Cloud 9, a similar over the water bar as Seventh Heaven. We were very surprised by the large number of people that came and went (in 2-hour increments) and the slow service.  Very different atmosphere than Seventh Heaven, but the food was good and the drinks were cold!

Even though it was drizzling a little, we still enjoyed ourselves.

A huge rain cloud was coming our way so we quickly headed back to Sugar Shack to motor to the east side Malolo Island.  We were hoping for protection from the winds, but as it turned out the weather forecast was delayed and we ended having a super bumpy night.

We were blessed with a beautiful double rainbow after the showers stopped.

The Musket Cove anchorage is super crowded – we spotted over 50 boats on AIS alone plus another 20-30 boats not broadcasting. Good thing we did not go there to anchor in that mess!

Day 11:  Malolo, Musket Cove

There is a pass from our anchorage to the Musket Cove anchorage.  We thought we could easily traverse this but we did not take into account the King tide.  Of course, it was low, low tide when we wanted to go ashore.  So, we dinghied to the reef, found some sandy areas and gently walked across to the shore.  Once onshore, we found a beautiful little trail that lead us all the way to the Musket Cove Resort.

We had lunch at Dick’s Place and enjoyed some pool time at the resort.  A calm, chill day.

Day 12: Malolo Island to Port Denarau

Around mid-day we leave Malolo Island for Port Denarau.  It is a short 2-hour motor directly into the wind.  We grab a mooring and decide to head to shore for a late lunch and then well-deserved hot showers (love marina life sometimes).

Back to the boat to pack and enjoy bhan mi for dinner.  We were meeting our taxi driver across from the “Sails Restaurant” who happened to be hosting a special event.  Outside Sails were some beautiful local Fijian dancers who gave the Konis family a proper send off!

It was so much fun having Troy, Kimberly, Cole and Cameron onboard as we explored the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands.  We are so grateful they chose to spend their holidays with us onboard Sugar Shack!

Events from this blog occurred in the first two week of August.  Our blog posts run 8-10 weeks behind actual events.   In our last blog, we adventure through a series of underwater caves in the island of Sawa-I-Lau.

Underwater Cave Adventure

We sailed all the way to the northern most island in the Yasawas to be able to explore the famous underwater caves.  On the southern tip of the Yasawa Island is a small island called Sawa-I-Lau where they give daily tours for 2 hours a day to these magnificent swimming holes inside the limestone caves.

These caves were actually filmed in the Blue Lagoon movie as well (it’s where she flees to) and they don’t disappoint.  Truly a breath taking experience.

Day 8: The underwater caves & Naviti Island

The next morning, we got up early anxious to explore the famous Sawa-I-Lau limestone caves

Unfortunately, we picked a Monday to do the tour which happened to be the same day the resorts bring hordes of people to do the tour as well.  Considering the caves are only open for 2 hours a day, it is not surprising that we all showed up at the same time.

But, we made the most of it and boy were we impressed!  First, you go up about 45 stairs to the cave entrance.  Then you step down about 25 stairs to the refreshing cave pool.  The “gate” which is where Matt is standing in the upper right hand photo is not much of a gate as one could easily scale the walls to enter the cave.  But, it’s better than nothing I suppose.

As you descend the stairs, you are greeted with the most stunning view of limestone rock formations and turquoise waters.

The photos truly do not do it justice.  But I tried with the GoPro. This is the first cave that you can just walk into easily.

Leaping into the Pools

The guides do these death-defying leaps from way up high to entertain the group while others go into a secondary cave.

Of course, Cameron cannot let this opportunity pass, so he too climbs up (albeit not as high) to take a leap into the deep cave waters.

The second cave requires the swimmer to dive under water while holding your breath for 3 seconds.  Once inside it is magnificent!  But there is no light and all our images came out crappy (even with a torch).  But we did get to swim back into the depths of the cave, test out the acoustics, and see some beautiful stalactites.

Super cool experience and well worth the effort to come to the North end of the Yasawas!  We enjoyed a little shopping from the artisans selling their wares to the tourist and I found some beautiful dark blue Fijian pearls for a very reasonable price!

We head back to the boat for a tasty brunch before we head off to Naviti Island.

Naviti Island, Somosomo Bay

There is a weather system coming which will make heading south very difficult.  So, we have to leave the northern Yasawas earlier than planned.  We make a quick sail to Naviti island.  Since we have been doing such a good job of eating all of our fish, we decided to put out the fishing lines.

Cole and Cameron picked the 3-lures and we set out the teaser.  Let’s see what we will catch.  We were only going about 5-6kts and the lures were a bit small, but we did manage to catch 2 skipjacks (tuna).  Since we already had a lot of tuna onboard, we set these two guys free to grow bigger.  The larger of the two fish actually had a remora attached (Matt’s fish)

We arrived Somosomo Bay on Naviti Island rather quickly.  Probably because we were distracted with the fishing adventures.  We took a quick walk on the beach while the boys played bocce before dinner.  Matt prepared super amazing chicken enchiladas for dinner.

Events from this blog occurred during the first two weeks of August.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks after actual events.  In our upcoming blog, we take the Konis family to Malolo and Cloud 9 before their departure.  Did you catch our last post, where we swim with manta rays in our last blog.

Manta Ray Exploits

Matt and I have had the extreme pleasure of swimming with manta rays in French Polynesia many times.  But it was usually 2-3 at the most and they were no bigger than 3 meter wing span.  Still incredibly impressive!  However, we take the Konis family to Dawaqa island to the famous manta ray feeding area and are overwhelmed with our Fijian Manta Ray experience!

Day 5: Waya to Drawaqa & the Manta Rays

 A 2-hour motor sail from Waya island to Drawaqa Island. Kimberly woke up feeling sick unfortunately, but she weathered thru the short passage really well.  We managed to arrive right at high tide which was perfect timing to go find the manta rays in the pass between Drawaqa Island and Naviti Island.  They feed in this pass during this time of year.  Matt and Kimberly stayed in the dinghy and dropped the rest of us off to drift the pass.  The first time we saw about 4 manta rays circling around us with their giant mouths wide open trying to catch the plankton.

Matt picked us up and we swam the pass a second time and this time we saw 7/8 mantas!  Two of them had a wing span of over 5-meters!  They were enormous.  And they treated us to a spectacular underwater acrobatic flipping show.  They flipped upside down and all around each other!

It was by far the most magnificent manta experience I have ever had.  I think the Konis boys were super impressed as well.

In the afternoon we walked the beach in search of sea shells and other treasures.  Remarkably, we found two nautilus shells.  I had been looking for one of these shells for years and was so darn excited to find one.  Later, Cole found a smaller one for Kimberly.

Matt fixed tuna four different ways for dinner.  Seared, poison crew, poki and cooked/blackened (for me).  Spoiling our guests.

Day 6:  Drawaqa Island to Nanuya Lailai (Blue Lagoon)

Our sail was a bit “challenging” for the Konis family.  It was really bumpy and uncomfortable as we were pinching into the wind to get from Drawaqa island to Nanuya Lailai.  Not a good way to endear our family to boat life, but they weathered it through (mostly sleeping).

We took it easy once we arrived.  A little swimming around the boat, some baking and dinner preparations.  We actually watched “Blue Lagoon” while we were anchored in Blue Lagoon – right where the movie was filmed oh so many years ago.  I completely forgot how much nudity was in this movie!!!

Day 7: Nanuya Lailai to Saw-I-Lau (caves)

Up early the next day to walk the beach.  We presented kava to the local villagers who are the caretakes of this private beach to allow us the opportunity to walk on their beach.  It was a super pretty day and the beach was soft and white while the waters were a stunning turquoise blue.  Yep, that is Sugar Shack in the background on the lower left photo.

The beach seemed endless and was simply gorgeous.  The tide was going out so the Konis men took a stroll deep into the shallow waters.

Kimberly decided to stand under a coconut tree to read the sign that says “Do not stand under the trees due to falling coconuts”

We were all thirsty after our walk so we stopped off at The Boathouse for some drinks prior to our lunch. We had lunch at the Nanuya Lailai Resort restaurant. It was a flat $45F per person and you had a choice between 3 plates.  It was not bad, but not particularly great either.

After lunch we hopped back on the boat and headed to Sawa-I-Lau which was a 2-hour motor sail.  We dropped the hook and quickly hopped in the dinghy to Nabukeru Village to present sevusevu.  I was so excited at the opportunity to show my family a traditional sevusevu, but we were denied again.  It was Sunday and the chief was resting.  He did accept us into his home where we presented our kava and he blessed us and welcomed us into the village.  However, it was far from a traditional sevusevu.  It was a clap, clap, thank you for the kava, you may walk the beach.

We bought a fabulous stalk of bananas and some lovely sea shells from the locals. I then took everyone on a dinghy ride to admire the rock formations.

Events from this blog occurred during the first two weeks of August.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events. Coming up next we swim inside the limestone caves! In our last blog we take the Konis family to Waya Island (Octopus Resort) where we do a crazy hike to the summit.