Posted: 2nd April 2013.
After a long association with Multihull Solutions, Ian Smith better known to all as just Condor is now working full time with the team assisting with commissioning boats, maintenance programs, sail training and more. Condor has too many certificates to store in one place, spanning RYA Yachtmaster Ocean to instructor and M.E.D.III (Engineering) right through to qualifications in waterskiing, parasailing and scuba diving. At last count, he has accrued more than 480,000 nautical miles in his marine career. So when Condor started telling us about his favourite anchorage we all took note and decided we should share it with you…
At the southern end of the Lau group of islands in Fiji lies the atoll of Fulaga. This area is not often visited by yachts as you need to get written permission to visit the Lau group. This group can only be obtained after clearance in the main the two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and requires you to sail to windward against the trade winds to get back there.
This, however, is quite worth the effort. The atoll consists of three main islands which sit in a ring on the outer reefs and a narrow but easily navigable entrance gives access to a large lagoon inside. The lagoon is an average of 5 to 10 metres deep, miles wide and offers hundreds of fantastic anchorages in any wind direction and condition. There are hundreds of small islets dotted throughout the lagoon, some joined by sand bars.
There are many beaches to explore, the fishing is fantastic, the diving excellent and the locals are friendly and willing to trade if you need fresh fruit or vegetables or wish to try the coconut crab. It is always a good idea to go and meet the chief, give a gift of Kava and ask permission to anchor and fish in their area. This will usually lead to an invitation to a meal and Kava ceremony at the chief’s house. The locals have strong customs, being that they have little access to the outside world. There are many local stories and they will be happy to take you to the cave of skulls, full of the bones of dead Tongan worriers that were all slayed by one heroic Fijian in an attempted takeover.
It is also the place where most of Fiji’s Kava bowls are carved and you can see the locals at work producing these and many other fantastic handcrafts.
I originally went to Fulaga to stay for one week, but I was so taken by this enchanting place and people that I left three months later (and then only when my grog locker finally ran dry!)
In all my years of cruising the globe, this is one place that has left a strong and memorable impression on me.
Image Gallery: (click to enlarge)