CROSSING the Vatulawa Sea from Taveuni during our recent trip to Yanuca Island, the ride was a rough one as the sea swelled and fell around our miniature boat bouncing on the waves we rode. As we got out of Naselesele landing the white capped crests of the waves told me one thing; this was going to be one hell of a ride.
According to the turaga ni Koro (village headman) of Yanuca, Jeke Varanisese the trip was a better one compared to what they normally experienced on their daily trips from Yanuca to Taveuni.
Other companions would crack jokes about how rough the boat ride was saying an expecting mother could give birth with the waves they encounter.
One hour later the boat pulled into the Yanuca Bay which is formed by two islands, the Island of Yanuca and another uninhabited island that forms a perfect 'U' with the minute uninhabited island of Yanuca I Beka at the end of the bay. I knew for once that tropical bliss was awaiting us as I spied the white shores and the azure waters that were clearer than the normal sea water we were used to.
Our dinner at the Mr Varanisese's house included a variety of fish dishes, from those cooked in coconut cream to sweet and sour fish at the sight of which any Fijian would drool with hunger.
Sleep that night took me back to my childhood trips to my village in neighbouring Qamea Island, hearing the sound of the sea rushing to shore with the incoming tide.
Abel Tasman had aptly named Cobia Island 'The Ringgold Islands' during the course of his journey through the Fiji Group. It is indeed a ring of golden memories for visitors like me and the government team that visited the island recently. In our trip to the Island of Cobia with tour guide, Mr Varanisese we learnt that the island was uninhabited and is populated by goats given its rocky formations on which they adapted well. Cobia Island is a horseshoe shaped island with high rocky cliffs that make up three quarter of the island, during our tour through the bay our shouts and laughter reverberated through the whole bay as it echoed between the rocky wall formations.
Long lazy white beaches bordered most of Cobia Island and the early morning trip was really refreshing as the party stood amazed scaling the cliffs around the island.
Standing at the highest cliff on the island made one feel like having the whole world at their foot.
Just feeling the blast of fresh air on my face made me wonder how lucky the islanders of Yanuca were for having access to these natural beauties. During the whole excursion through Cobia it felt like we were walking on a high quality soft rug as we trampled on moss littered ground.
I did the honours of walking around the Island barefoot, even through the cliffs and rocks as if I was walking on some sort of sacred ground. I turned a deaf ear to the spoils from the company as they called out for me to wait.
During our stay in the Island of Yanuca I recognised that the waters around the island were clearer and of a different quality than what we normally see around our large islands. Returning from Cobia I could clearly make out a ray and a large wahoo cruise past the boat without any aid and it was like viewing them through a clear aquarium.
I had the pleasure of having an early morning dip at the village shore with the children of the village carefree and joining a game of touch rugby at the sea front.
Our trip ended on the next day as we took a boat trip back to the Garden Island of Taveuni, waving goodbye to the over friendly people at the village as they turned up in numbers to say their farewells. The three-day tour to the island of Yanuca was a memorable one that will stick with me through the years to come.