THE MAJESTIC YASAWAS
In 1789, the first European that sighted the Yasawas was the Englishman, captain William Blight (in Fiji they refer to him as ‘Bligh’). Mutineers set Captain William Bligh and 18 loyal crew members adrift of the HMS Bounty in an open boat just 7m long and 3m wide. The epic journey that followed passed through treacherous waters littered with shallow reefs and islands inhabited by cannibals; two Yasawa war canoes put to sea from Waya in pursuit of them. Fortunately, a squall swept in some much-needed wind to raise the mainsail and blow them to the safety of the open sea. This body of water is today referred to as Bligh Water and while the Yasawas remain relatively undeveloped, the locals are considerably friendlier.
Internationally, the Yasawas were made popular in the 1980 movie The Blue Lagoon. The movie is about two child castaways who grow up alone on a deserted island and later fall in love (the 1991 sequel Return to the Blue Lagoon was filmed on Taveuni).
Today, the mighty Yasawas are just as rugged, remote and awe-inspiring as ever. The chain is sparsely populated and there are no roads, cars, banks or shops, and most of the locals still live in small remote villages, surviving on agriculture and tourism for their livelihoods.