We’re still in the Yasawas and stopped off at Waya island. This stunning island reminds us of the Marquesas and even Bora Bora with its rugged hills, beautiful beaches and lagoons. Waya has natural springs that percolate up through the volcanic rock. So no water restrictions here and that is also the reason it has been settled for thousands of years. Our first stop was an anchorage in front of a small resort where we watched the Fijians celebrate the impromptu national holiday on Monday in honour of their first Olympic gold medal. After a short ceremony the afternoon was filled with volleyball games on the beach.
Yesterday we continued to Yalobi village. Together with Marce and Jack from Escape Velocity we went ashore to ask the chief permission to anchor here and were welcomed as soon as we landed our dinghies on the beach. We handed over our bundle of kava root in the chief’s house and a short ceremony followed. Lucy, the chief’s wife (and we later found out, the real “chief” of the village) took us around the village for a tour and also showed us the school. The children sang us a few happy welcoming songs (check out the video tab on our blog). Later in the evening we were invited to come and drink some kava. The village was all dark – no electricity or solar power – and we sat in the chief’s house with a few torchlights to see what was happening. The roots of the kava plant were ground into powder and mixed with water in a large bowl. After the ceremonial clap we could drink our coconut shell of kava and then had to do another three claps when it was empty. This supposedly intoxicating muddy coloured drink tasted OK and we didn’t really feel any effects (although we slept really well that night).
This morning we decided to go for a hike (as suggested by Lucy) to admire the view from the top. Hiking unguided across the island is normally not allowed but we managed to convince the chief that we were fine and had a GPS tracker and a map and wouldn’t get lost (we didn’t). So after a 15 minute dinghy ride to the other side of the island we set off on a two hour climb which included muddy paths, rocks and other obstacles but the view was SO worth it (check out the 360 video). Another hour and a half to get back down and our legs were jelly! Luckily we had arranged some lunch at the bottom and it was waiting for us alongside a cold well deserved beer!