I know you have all become accustomed to the high-quality blog posts from Kristen, our first mate, but she stayed with the boat to snorkel, kayak and relax without parents (hmm?) during our adventure to Turtle Island Resort. So, you’re stuck with me.
Admiral Anne and I enjoyed a two-day respite away from the part of boat life that can get old. You know- constant cleaning, showers where you cannot really get enough water and it is rarely warm, beds that are not quite wide enough, preparing meals in a very small kitchen, decks that never stop moving, constantly thinking about all the parts and pieces to maintain, ensuring the anchor does not drag, etc. You get the picture. A night at Turtle Island was the right move.
Turtle Island Resort is a magical all-inclusive resort on private Turtle Island (also called Nanuya Levu). Captain Cook anchored here in 1774 for the beautiful water and good shelter of the lagoon. Turtles in those days were a welcome feast for the sailors. Captain Bligh also anchored here but was reportedly chased off by the king on Matacawalevu Island. Fijians have a strong warrior history.
Now days there are 26 villages in the Yasawa island group. The land is under Fijian control with a hierarchy of kings, queens and chiefs. 500-acre Turtle Island is the only freehold island of the group. Turtle Island was first settled by Europeans in 1858 and then granted freehold status by the English monarch, Queen Victoria, in 1884. Richard Evanson bought the island in 1972 with money he made in cable TV. In 1980 Columbia Pictures filmed The Blue Lagoon staring Brooke Shields on the island.
Today it is a private resort with only 15 bures or “huts” with huge bathrooms, hot tubs, beds and seating areas. The staff or family of 40 people who live on the island cater to whatever you want. As we arrived the girls (Anne and Kristen) were carried by Fiji men in full dress from the boat to shore and we were welcomed with a song and introductions of the staff. After breakfast at a big table on the beach and a tour of the island, Anne and I went to a private picnic lunch on Honeymoon Beach (one of 15 private beaches on the island). We had a great time complete with beautiful sand, rock cliffs, waves, hammock, lounge chairs, and delicious lobster curry. Next, we were up for a horseback ride before cocktails on the beach and dinner.
Dinner was Fijian style- cooked underground in a pit with hot rocks and coals and served on a beautiful open-air table in the garden. The food was excellent including lobster, pork, chicken, and lots of different vegetables. After dinner, traditional Fijian dancers and singers precluded the traditional Kava ceremony and drink. We closed the evening with a bottle of champaign on ice on the beach under a beautiful star-filled sky.
The next morning, we enjoyed another great breakfast at a table on the beach and the morning song and dance with staff/family. Afterwards we went to the beautiful, huge garden to plant a small papaya tree and the traditional garden. It was fun to see names of famous people like the John McCain family, Al Gore family, Robert Murdoch and some of the royals who had visited. We then took mountain bikes to explore the incredible views and the private beaches we had not seen, including Devils beach, where Blue Lagoon was filmed.
We did lunch at the private Cliff site which includes a private swimming pool, pavilion, and hammock overlooking the sea. Relaxing together in the hammock was my favorite.
We returned to the boat late in the afternoon refreshed, relaxed, and with all the boat laundry cleaned by the staff! Kristen was so happy to see us😊!
Captain, Amazing Grace
TLDR: Great memories at Turtle Island and Honeymoon Beach.