FIJI: Yasawa Islands – Nacula Island

Posted by on Aug 7, 2018 in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Three hours on a ferry, and a quick trip in a water taxi brought me to the beach attached to the island where I will spend the next week. Although I’m staying in a dorm instead of a beach bungalow, the accommodations are quite plush. No bunk beds and real mattresses for starters which are made up for us on a daily basis. All meals are provided, and any number of activities and services are available as well.

One of many islands scattered in our path.

The clouds roll in as we approach our final destination, The Blue Lagoon Beach Resort.


The grey skies lifted and we ended up with a sunny day in its place.

Castaway, with Tom Hanks, was filmed here in Fiji. 




Just about every night they would have a Kava ceremony and sing near the bar. Kava is the national drink known for its slightly euphoric and relaxing effects. The taste is far from pleasant and looks a bit like muddy rainwater. Having a slight cold, I decided to abstain, not wanting to pass it to others or pick up any additional germs in the process. I’m not much into communal beverage sharing these days anyway especially when the beverage is so unappealing.



Okay people, here’s the deal. The Fijian people are warm and eager to please, and the surrounding islands and beaches are everything you would expect from a South Pacific paradise destination. However if you happen to be an underwater enthusiast, and are expecting to see reefs as featured in The Blue Lagoon then you will be sorely disappointed. The diving and snorkeling is lackluster at best, and in some cases it is downright dreadful. The one consolation is that there are some nice corals here and there and the fish have not entirely abandoned the reefs. Unfortunately there is so much that is dead and unhealthy that you can’t help feel pained that one of the world’s premier underwater wonderlands has deteriorated to this degree.

This caps off a world tour this year that taken me diving in Bonaire (Caribbean), The Maldives (Indian Ocean), Aqaba (Red Sea), The Great Barrier Reef (South Pacific) and finally Fiji (South Pacific). Fortunately I was treated to some healthy reef in Australia, but the rest of them were all dying at an alarming rate. In fact even the Great Barrier Reef has experienced a 25% overall die off, but at least I didn’t have to bear witness to that heartbreaking event. The reefs in Bonaire, The Maldives and Aqaba were rubbish, and they are all supposed to be top dive destinations.

Twenty years ago I did a world dive tour, and to say that the changes in the reefs have been anything less than devastating would be understating the severity of the crisis. For any remaining idiots questioning climate change, there are many of us in the scuba community that have seen the effects first hand. There are also the 97% consensus of climate scientists to consider as well. The alarms have been going off for thirty years now. I fear we may have gone past the point of no return, but I’ll seek out healthy reef systems in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia. If I keep running into what I have encountered this year, I will hang up my wetsuit for good. It’s just too painful to witness.

I suspect that the world will continue heating at an alarming rate, the disrupted weather systems will relentlessly punish the planet, the seas will rise and millions of people will be displaced.  I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but the writing is on the wall and I fear the die is cast unless we find a way to get the CO2 out of our atmosphere. The fact is we may have broken the Earth, and the people who could have done something about it are too busy lining their pockets with money from dead industries. The greed and stupidity of these people is leading us into an environmental suicide spiral. I’m not only upset that my granddaughters won’t get to see a healthy reef, but now I worry about a possible future that involves incessant calamity, upheaval, and destruction.

It’s so strange to visit all of these beautiful places knowing that time is running out for so many of them, as well as the wildlife that inhabits them. My advice to people is this. Travel to these places while they’re still worth visiting, and if you like to dive put the Great Barrier Reef at the top of your list. Time is is not on our side. I’m just glad I won’t have to see the worst of it.

Time for a hike up the mountain…

…to forget about what’s going on in the ocean.

A seaplane comes in for a landing…

If I choose to do so, there’s the top of the thing. I’m already thirsty and I didn’t bring any water so I figured I’d gotten enough exercise and photographs and headed back to the resort.

I think the view of the islands was suitable.

A seaplane reminds me that I will be leaving tomorrow.

One Last Sunset

A little Fijian ceremonial dancing before dinner.

One more ferry in the morning and then it’s off to Sydney to catch a flight to Paris.




  1. Karen Devers
    August 28, 2018

    Hi, John
    I appreciate your comments from a scuba perspective. You know I’m on the same page with you. When I lived in Irvine I participated in an Earth day event where we were invited to paint murals on the walls of a walkway tunnel leading from a parking area to the ocean. I painted an image of the sea where you could see the top of the water and below it. My title was, “Protect what you see, and what you don’t see.”

    Most people aren’t able to see the damage and loss you describe. Even so, there’s plenty we can see if we are willing to open our eyes and our minds. For some people that is too big an ask. Personally I’d rather recognize reality and make informed choices. I know that’s your approach as well.

    The greed, selfishness, and shortsightedness of our so-called leaders never ceases to amaze me.

    The earth can manage just fine without humans, and did so for a very long time. At some point our era will end and the earth will be able to thrive without human interference. Perhaps it is best if that happens sooner rather than later. Humans seem to have a self-destructive tendency, as well as being callous towards other beings. So the seeds of our demise as a species may well be in our DNA.

    Until then, it’s fun to watch your travels and join you as you explore the world. I’m looking forward to planning some travel of my own next year. It will be fun to talk about all of this when you are here in October. It’s a good thing you booked the room, it’s been very popular! A most pleasant surprise indeed.

  2. The Travel Zealot
    August 28, 2018

    Hi Karen,
    I think you are dead right about the seeds of our demise as a species is written into our DNA. I just read an article by an expert who has been diving the Barrier Reef for over forty years, and he reckons that the jig is up for that particular natural wonder as well as many other reef systems. As you know, after my experiences this year, I am not exactly optimistic about many coral reef’s likelihood for survival.

    I think we’ve gone past the point of no return. Even if we stopped fossil fuels immediately, the possibility for dire consequences is as real as a heart attack. So, in some ways my travels are about seeing things before they disappear or are ruined by our own stupidity. Once they are gone, they are probably not coming back in this century. In my estimation our only hope is some sort of mutation that will spur a major evolutionary shift, and then hopefully we can utilize science and technology to restore equilibrium to our ecosystem. As long as we insist upon being a bunch of greedy, dung-slinging, knuckle dragging apes, we are doomed.

    One can hope for the best and dream of a better day, but I really think we’ve broken the Earth for the time being. Until the shit really hits the fan, I’m going where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain, going where the weather suits my clothes, bankin’ off of the northeast wind sailin’ on summer breeze, slippin’ over the ocean like a storm.

  3. Karen Devers
    September 2, 2018

    I’m read an inspiring book called, Being Mortal by Auto Gawande. He’s a surgeon and the book explores our current approach to later life and end of life approaches in the US and other modern societies. We can talk about this when you are here but it is fascinating to read about the alternatives to the medicalized, institutional, one-size-fits-all approach that is a prison sentence for the old and disabled.

    I’m going to do some research of my own and have some conversations with my daughters over the next few months. I’ve decided that it’s worthwhile to think about my preferences and discuss them earlier than later. Waiting until an emergency requires serious and speedy decisions, sets us up for the default which might not be what we want at all.

    To be continued . .

  4. The Travel Zealot
    September 3, 2018

    It’s apropos that you focus on death and dying on the Fiji post given the necrotic state of the reefs. The end of life a very important subject, and one that needs to be addressed. I am not one to submit to the deterioration of Alzheimers disease or some such thing, and have my money whittled away preserving a living corpse.

Leave a Reply