The site of four Survivor TV series, this little bay is surrounded by two deserted islands, known as the Sacred Islands. Navandra and Vanua Levu, not to be confused with the second largest island in Fiji with the same name. Currently, the only residents are a few wild goats. We heard them bleating early in the morning and occasionally caught glimpses of them scampering around the rocky hills. According to The Rough Guide to Fiji, this island was originally settled by the first inhabitants of Fiji, arriving on canoes. The legend is still recalled in dance. The second wave, finding Vanua Levu already settled, moved on to Vuda, on Viti Levu, now known as “the mainland”. Vanua Levu was later abandoned as it had no source of fresh water.
Landing a dinghy on the beach is almost impossible due to the coral along the shoreline and shore break. We had to anchor it out and wade in, not a friendly environment for a camera. A few times, Monty sherpa’d the camera in a dry bag to the beach, so I could use take some shots.
We also toured around Navandra in the dinghy at high tide. The clarity of the water was magical.
On Mondays, the local cruise ships show up in the bay. One arrived in the morning, stayed for half a day, setting up shore activities, diving and snorkelling for the guests. Another showed up in the afternoon and stayed till dusk.
The snorkelling was not that exciting but we saw a lobster (crayfish), a porcupine fish, trumpet fish, cornetfish and schools of small and large fish. Unfortunately, the coral was mostly dead. My little waterproof cameras had both decided to leak while snorkelling, so I had to give up on the underwater pics. Still, snorkelling is great in the warm water (as high as 31 degrees Celsius).
On our last visit to Navandra, this time with friends on Mango Moon, we went ashore, anchoring our dinghies off the beach. The views were spectacular in all directions.
Monty and Frank had a mission to hike to the top of the “mountain”, and made it easily in 10 to 15 minutes.