After a particularly rough start, we ended up in the most beautiful resort: Blue Lagoon Resort on Nacula Island, at the northernmost point of the the Yasawa Island chain, west of the main island of Fiji. A white sandy beach stretched out in either direction, hammocks beckoned from nearly every tree, and palm trees swayed in welcome. We managed to sleep off the rest of the hangover in aforementioned hammocks before sitting down to a delicious dinner and enjoying the native dancing, fire show and bonfire on the beach.
We woke early the next morning to catch the boat ride to the underwater caves on Yasawa Island, just next door. My pre-trip research told me this was not to be missed, an experience we could only have in this part of the Yasawas. After marveling at the turquoise water, we hiked down a precarious rusting staircase straight into the lagoon that served as a former movie set for the film Blue Lagoon. Thanks to an open ‘window’ on the ceiling of this cave, we could swim freely and see everything around us, which included the rock where Brooke Shields got her first of her monthly visits from Aunt Flo in the film (our guide told us this almost with pride, and we giggled like 7 year olds).
Inside this large cave there was a conspicuous dark hole just under the water line. We’d heard that part of the tour included navigating a fully submerged passageway to a smaller cave that had no sunlight. Have I mentioned yet that I’m claustrophobic? Let me sidebar for a moment here then: When I was young, my older brother LOVED a game he called ‘Caper.’ Caper involved him getting the thickest blanket he could find, holding myself or my sister down, and wrapping the blanket around us tightly so we couldn’t see (or breathe), and not letting us move. So yeah, claustrophobia.
Though I don’t think my baby sister suffered through too many games of Caper as a child, we both looked at this 3 foot, dark chasm with trepidation. I was peppering one of our guides with questions: “How wide is it? How long? How long will I be under water?” but I was speaking too fast for him to quite understand what I was asking. And of course, I somehow was the first in line when it came time to swim through. But they posted one guide on one side of the cave, and another guide on the other, and in about 3 seconds I had whooshed through into the darkness. We swam through passageways that were definitely large enough to prevent hyperventilation, and going back through was a piece of cake.
We spent the afternoon lounging by the beach before we made our way to the local village and school. The school children sang songs and danced for us, which was absolutely adorable. I wanted to smooch all of their cute little faces but I wasn’t sure what the cultural decorum was, so I just gave them big smiles and lots of applause instead.
We proceeded to the village, where most of the resort staff lived. We were lucky enough to witness a huge ceremony that included the Chief of Police of Fiji, who was visiting the island that day. We stayed on the fringes and watched as the men, kitted out in their finest traditional garb, showed their respect and honor to the Police Chief.
On our last morning on Nacula, we hiked up the massive mountain behind the resort and were treated to incredible 360 degree views of the entire island. It was work, but it was worth it. Then, we were back on the ferry and off to Manta Ray!