Vulaga in the Lau Group
The island of Vulaga is one of the most southern of the Lau Group and fairly remote. A few years ago they only had 3-4 yachts visit each year, but now that Fiji has made the procedures easier they have 50-100 yachts visit.
The lagoon at Vulaga is very large with lots of different anchorages and bays to explore. We initially anchored in a central location to get a feel for the island. All around were limestone rocks with the rock at the waterline eroded to create a mushroom effect.
Across in another bay we spotted Viva, An Amel Super Maramu with Dominique and Songhui on board. We first met them in Suwarrow last year.
Even the small rocks had vegetation and a palm tree growing on it.
Many of the bays had nice beaches, often they only appeared at low tide.
The next day we went ashore to visit the main village and do the traditional Sevusevu ceremony with the Chief. It was a 20 minute walk across to the outside of the island where the village was located.
The start of the village had 2 Nursing Station buildings, which were in very good condition and pretty organised.
We then met up with Tara, who was the Chief’s niece and spoke very good English. She took us to the Chief’s house and explained about the Sevusevu ceremony and we handed over our Cava and paid a 50 FJD donation to their development fund.
We were then taken to meet our host family, Ma & George, who had also been the host family for Trevor & Jan on Villomee. We had talked to them in Savusavu just before we left.
On Sunday we came back ashore to join Ma and Delongi in going to church and then to a lunch party to celebrate one of the village children’s 1st birthday.
Ma & her daughter Delongi with the birthday cakes they & Susan had baked for the party. George was in Suva with their eldest son so we didn’t actually meet him.
There were about 50 people at the birthday lunch. We had our first taste of Turtle and it was pretty tasty, although we weren’t entirely comfortable eating it.
This is the school.
The church. The service wasn’t very uplifting & once is probably enough!
All the houses had corrugated Iron roofs, which weren’t very nice, but they often had small gardens and were fairly well looked after.
The view from the village to the bay on the outside of the island was really nice.
One day we went out the pass to do a drift snorkel back through the pass, i.e. we held on to ropes from the dinghy to ensure it and we weren’t swept onto the reefs at either side & largely drifted with the incoming tide.
The picture is not very clear, but on the outside of the pass, in deep water there were hundreds of Barracuda, and other fish we couldn’t identify. There were also some sharks and I saw a large spotted ray.
The pass itself had lots of coral and it made you quite nervous of taking the boat through the pass, seeing how tall some of the coral stacks were.
Just inside the pass the water was much clearer and there was lots of colourful coral and a good selection of fish.
On another day Ma & Susan went snorkelling for clams. Ma collected a few dozen, whist Susan only managed to spot 3-4. Ma came back to our boat and she & Susan cooked some of the clams for lunch. I couldn’t eat them and we later gave away the rest of the clams to another boat.
On the day before we left Vulaga there was a picnic organised on the beach close to where we were now anchored.
There were quite a few local families, including Ma & Delongi and 4 visiting yachts. All the locals were transported to the beach on the yachts as the location was at the opposite end of the lagoon from the village.
One of the boats, a catamaran, had a Dutchman and his 92 year old mum on board. As you can see she really enjoyed herself and is very happy to live on board the boat, rather than in a care home where she had been a couple of years ago.
The food was provided by both locals and a couple of boats and prepared by the local women.
We had to take shelter under a tarpaulin as a storm passed over, however everyone seemed to remain cheerful & it didn’t last too long.
We left Vulaga the next day as we had developed a leak in our dinghy & hadn’t manage to fix it and the weather forecast for the next week was pretty poor.