Friday, September 25, 2015

The caves in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Hello Everyone,

We have had a number of rainy squally days lately.  I guess it helps us really appreciate the beautiful sun when it comes out.  One of the harder things about being on a boat when it there are rainy days in succession is the fact that we can’t dry anything out and cloth becomes moldy smelling after a time... Phew.. 

We left the Blue Lagoon and headed north 9 miles to a place know for limestone caves.   When we arrived the islands up there reminded us so much of a combination of Tonga and the Marquesas.  The rock peaks weren’t as high but they were definitely just as beautiful.  We anchored off of the the caves location in the turquoise waters and admired the white sandy beaches with the rocks overhanging.  

We were told that the local village charges to go into the caves and that you need to pay for their guide to take you in and that it gets locked at times. Honey, another boat family that we know, came over and said that they had just gone through the caves and it was a lot of fun.  They mentioned that there was a cruise ship coming in so they were closing the caves to everyone except the passengers of the cruise ship.  We really don’t like following crowds into small and dark spaces anyway... When we noticed most of the passengers were leaving we all jumped in the dinghy and headed to the beach.  We were going to see if we could go through the caves after everyone left.  As it turns out one of the last passengers was a guy from Santa Ynez, California and he ended up getting back in the water and showing Chris where the secret underwater part to the dark cave is.  It was really nice of him because as it turns out... the guides had left after the last passengers and you can not lock the door to the cave because the lock was completely rusted out.  

So Chris, Oma, Amaia, Tristan, Alexia, Alina and I all got our masks and rash guards on and jumped in.  The cave is really beautiful inside with its high steeped limestone formations parts are open to the sky for light and the water is an amazing turquoise.  We were there when it was medium tide so after swimming around a little in this hidden pool we wanted to go into the next cave which in order to get into you need to dive under a small section in the dark and then enter up into the dark cave.  Chris went first and then Tristan followed.  They both had underwater flashlights so it helps when someone is in on the other side so you know where you need to go.  Tristan shined the light and then Chris came back for Oma.  

Oma getting ready to hold her breath and squeeze through the opening down below

Can I tell you how proud I am of her to go through this.  It is not a wide opening to go through so you have to hold your breath and turn sideways and kick your way down and through to get up and into this dark cave.  It isn’t very far.. Only about 4 feet, but if you haven’t done this before it is a little scary.  Oma got ready and held her breath and then like a champ ducked under and headed in with Chris pulling her through so she didn’t hit her head... then on the outside where we were waiting we could hear her pop up and start saying... “Oh Wow, Oh Wow.... hee, hee”.  Now it is everyone else’s turn to go in... Alexia just ducked right under and swam in... this girl is so fearless when it comes to this stuff.. she never seems to hesitate or get nervous under water in dark places... I on the other hand am chicken and it always takes me a little bit of muster to do it.  Chris came back and got Amaia and led her through while I waited for Alina... I couldn’t get Alina to do it... she just wouldn’t go in.  She is a little like me in that she worries that she won’t be able to hold her breath long enough to get through... she doesn’t seem to believe that there is a cave in there and that you can breath once you get through the pass.  I KNOW she could definitely hold her breath long enough, especially watching her play and swim around and dive under our boat... but she wouldn’t go... so I waited with her.  Tristan came back out to check on us and when I told him I couldn’t get her to go we said he would wait with her while I go on in and explore with the others.  He is so thoughtful and helpful these days that I am ever grateful for him.  He is really an amazing kid if I do say so myself and am so happy that he seems to be forever thinking of others and how they are.  Anyway... by the time I got in everyone was getting ready to go out so I didn’t go deep in the cave to explore but at least got to hang out inside the limestone cave... with the echoes and the water illuminating below from the light outside of the cave.  It is neat to be inside and looking down at the water where you came through because it casts this light that looks like a pool lit up at night.  They village had put this floating square PVC pipe so that people could go in and use it to float through the cave on... Oma was just hanging out with Alexia and Amaia when I got in there.  

Did I mention the sea lice... Oh that was a fun little benefit to the caves.  They like the algae that grows on the rocks.  They are these little biting bugs that after a short time discover we are in there and like to take a nibble or to.  They don’t hurt too bad and are more on the ibby gibby side of annoyances but never the less the longer you are in the caves either your mind starts to tell you that you are getting attacked by them or they are really increasing in numbers and it is time to leave.  See-ya...

We were able to go back the next day and we finally got Alina to go into the back caves... the tide was low so she could just swim in and then she realized she could breath... it was also a bonus that their friend Ivan from Javalot was in there and she could follow and play with him.  Motivation...

On a funny not so funny note.. we were sitting around having breakfast and Oma just now decides to tell us that she is deathly allergic to jellyfish stings and has to be rushed to the hospital if she gets stung.  WHAT!  OMG... do you think you could have shared that when you first got on the boat in Mexico... UGH... We were getting stung in Mexico all the time and then while swimming with the mantas with Oma I got stung twice... they are little stings that leave small welts but still... She thinks she grew out of it and it was 50 years ago this happened... and maybe it was a certain kind of jellyfish... yada yada yada... so now we just have to be extra attentive to make sure there are no symptoms in the water... 

We did catch yet another fish on the way back to the Blue Lagoon anchorage... Yes a Bluefin Tuna this time... Oma is our good luck charm.

Oma is adjusting well to life on the boat... outdoor showers, knowing there isn’t water unless the pump is turned on, changing clothes multiple times a day, always getting wet getting to shore, clothes staying wet for long periods of times, stinking towels, lots of leftovers, house is a mess/chaos, running generator in order to make coffee and have  power, limited internet.... and she loves it...  Just another day in the life.

Hope all is well...

Hugs and love to everyone..


1 comment:

  1. Heather, the caves sound and look amazing! One of earth's many wonders. Did you ever read "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver? I read it years ago and loved it! It starts out with a young boy in Mexico holding his breath and swimming into what sounds like what you describe. Anyway, thought you might want to download it. As for the wet, mildewy clothes, I can understand how that would be a drag. After all, even on your adventure, you're still a mom trying to manage a busy household! I will assume it is more than offset by the magnificence of the scenery, the cultural experiences, the family bonding, etc. :o) Glad you're enjoying your special time with Oma. Since you are taking visitors, when and where should I fly Lindsay out to meet you? She only wants to stay for a couple of weeks, unless a Fijian family agrees to adopt her. lol. Seriously though, she wants your life! Tell those kids of yours that nothing new is happening here. Go to school, do homework, check Instagram, repeat. I love your last line, "Just another day in the life..." Too true! I look forward to the next installment. xoxo