FULAGA, Southern Lau group

Approx 130nm south of Vanua Balavu is Fulaga (pronounced Fulanga) which is an island that welcomes yachties and in fact has a system where a family hosts a yacht. We had Easterly winds and calm seas so had a great sail down to Fulaga.

Once thru the pass, which is 50m wide and 250m long and where the current flows up to 4 knots if you don’t get the tide right, you enter a beautiful lagoon with lots of mushroom islets with palm trees on them, crystal clear water and small white beaches dotted around. The local people here get around the lagoon in kayaks or long boats to go fishing.

one of the many anchorages here on a dreary day
On entry to Fulaga you pass lots of islets
Love the palms on the mushroom islets

It was Saturday when we arrived so we anchored close to Moana-I-Cake, the village where the chief lives and dressed to meet the chief walking the 20 minute path to the village.

Brett in his makeshift sulu (skirt) ready to meet the chief

Soco met us on the path and took us to Bill, whose role in the community is to introduce visitors to the chief after checking Fiji paperwork and collecting your $50 anchoring fee to be here. The chief was actually out fishing so one of his sisters performed the ceremony and accepted our yagona/ kava root and us into the village. With it being the beginning of the season we were the 4th yacht and the people here were excited to see us as they knew more were to come. In 2018, 70 yachts came to Fulaga.

Soco and Bill at a Drua/(canoe) that the village built in 2018.

After the ceremony Bill walked us around Moana-I-Cake, which included a school for 80 children including boarders from the other 2 villages on Fulaga, a health clinic, church, community hall, volleyball net, post office and a store to buy staple items, which sounded as though it had recently been closed.

Soco taking us thru Moana-I-Cake village, ahead
Church on right and a few houses in the village
homes are circular to help the wind go around during cyclones

Bill then took us to meet our host family; Tara (Chiefs other sister) and Joe; coincidentally Bills parents. Tara had prepared tea and pancakes and had bunches of bananas for us. We were asked to return Sunday for church at 10am and lunch after with the family.

Tara, Johnny & Bose (grandchildren) & Joe after Sunday church

Sunday’s are church day with 3 sessions and family time, no work allowed, with everyone dressing up to go to the Methodist church here in their sulus, long shirts and ties for men and a long flowing dress for the women. The start of church is pronounced with the beating of huge hollowed out logs and the pastor then makes his way in. The service is in Fijian so we didn’t understand what was said even when they thanked us for coming. We wondered why everyone turned around and looked at us. Such beautiful harmonious singing which was worth the confusion.

drums being beat signaling church is starting in the perfect location
We are early. Everyone dresses up to go to church so we didn’t recognize people we’d met previously.

With no work being allowed on Sunday’s fish, shellfish, root vegetables and coconuts are all gathered on Saturdays. While in Fulaga we enjoyed 2 lovely seafood meals with Tara & Joe and any close family and friends that dropped by to talk. Each time we were sent away with leftovers as we hadn’t eaten enough. These people don’t have a lot but are very generous. We gave some gifts to our family as thanks in return and I baked them cakes when we went into the village.

Tara & Joes house which Joe built 10 years ago when they moved from Suva back to the island

Everyone is so friendly with a nice Bula Bula everywhere we walked or stopping by the boat to say hello while at the various anchorages we were at. We were brought bananas, coconuts, passion fruit, oranges, papayas and fresh caught fish. With only 2 boats here we were totally being spoilt.

Joe on his way to the other village with relatives dropped off a huge bunch of bananas
Alfreddy had been kayaking and speared lots of fish so gave us a parrotfish for dinner
Akuila a farmer kept us stocked with oranges & papayas.

The Sandspit anchorage has lots of deserted white sand beaches to investigate at low tide, a brilliant blue pool at low tide, lots of small passes to snorkel thru within the inner lagoon and crystal clear shallow water & beautiful mushroom islets to kayak and dinghy about. We saw kingfisher birds and lorikeets, turtles and small reef fish.

on the Sandspit at close to high tide with our anchorage behind it
perfect place for cocktail hour b4 the bugs come out
plenty of places to go kayaking in the lagoon
walking the deserted beaches & trying to find clams

It has definitely been an interesting experience being here and learning about the culture here in Fulaga and being able to experience a little of their life.

The children are typically brought up by their grandparents and go to school in Fulaga till the age of 14. They then go to Suva for school with their parents or for some to boarding school and then on to look for work eventually returning to retire and take up responsibilities in the community. Land is handed down thru the family and includes an area for farming along with a cooking hut and a place to sleep and entertain.

There is no cell service (internet is available at the school), no electricity (each house has a solar panel), no airport but once a month a supply ship arrives delivering ordered supplies and moving family back n forth between Suva. The people here make money to buy fuel and staple items from wooden carvings, weaving mats, coconut oil and decorative string made from the coconut husk, mainly sold in Suva or resorts in West Fiji where family work.

Little Joe Carving some small Kava bowls ready for selling

Tara and Joe really helped make our experience with the people on the island here enjoyable. A simple life where there are very few worries. To live here you need to slow down and enjoy this part of paradise and be able to fish and farm. Back to subsistence living here.

Our great host family who made it special for us.

Well we have no fresh veges left and we have family coming so it’s off to Western Fiji to restock and meet them.


1 thought on “FULAGA, Southern Lau group

  1. Love your take on this place! Simple life is like paradise. And those mushroom rocks! beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I think I can live there for a few months. Reminds me of my childhood days. Not many spots like that remaining.

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