The remote eastern group of islands, the Lau group, have to be my favorite cruising destinations of all time. I sailed around the world in the 70’s, but these islands have to be the highlights in a world cruise.
Over the years it has been very hard for visiting yachts to visit the Lau Group. There is absolutely no tourism and as it is very much Open Ocean sailing between the islands it is not for the faint hearted! Permits are hard to come by and at this present time a group of interested and knowledgeable locals are putting together a proposition to the present interim government to allow super yachts to charter in Fiji and to lessen all the bureaucracy in obtaining permits to cruise Lau.
It has to be said that as the area is so remote tourism would have a huge impact on such a fragile ecosystem and on such a very culturally orientated society and would still need to be carefully monitored.
For guests who do not want to be on board for the 180 -240nm miles passage to Northern Lau there are daily flights from Nadi to Taveuni or Savusavu, or special charters flights can be arranged with seaplanes and other operators. There are small airstrips on grass at Lomaloma on Vanuabalavu, and on a number of remote islands in Lau but these are not always accessible if the weather is difficult.
Northern Lau is a wild, very remote area away from any tourist tracks, with good diving, many very cultural experiences and beautiful scenery. Absolutely no shopdiving, no nightclubs, no stores, no resorts! Here is excellent Fishing Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Wahoo and Walu.
From a pick up in Taveuni where there are daily scheduled flights, the cruising is varied and as a jump off point for Lau without the expense of charter flights then really its only 40 nm to wind ward to Weilagilala to the NE most extremity of Lau.
A nearby sand key with one coconut tree on it is a magic spot to view the green backed turtles that lay their eggs here in the middle of no where.
This happens between October and March and if you are lucky you may see turtles both laying and the little ones hatching at the same time. Stand by to make sure the kasikasi (crabs) don’t eat them before they make it to the water and freedom!
Vanuabalavu (Long island) in northern Lau is a large island encircled by a great lagoon and reef. Called the Exploring Isles by the early explorer Wilkes – it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. One could cruise here for seven days without moving outside of the reefs. Fishing is superb. diving, kayaking, snorkeling, copra plantations, hikes, and with the most stunning scenery of up thrust limestone formations in the Bay of Islands and the Copra plantation of Nabavatu.
Roger Lean Vercoe wrote a great article about this area when we took him for a cruise some years ago. He titled it Fijian Surprise. His photos are amazing. We took him to the Vanuabalavu lagoon where there is enough to do for seven days inside the reefs of that one huge lagoon. Fishing, diving, visiting copra plantations and the famous Bay of Islands which are full of limestone islets. Great for swimming and caving and kayaks; mirror calm waters set the scene for waters sports.