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Vanua Balavu, Fiji

Today we cross from the cultures of Polynesia into the cultures of Melanesia.​ ​ Situated in the Northern Lau group of islands in Eastern Fiji, Vanua Balavu is a mountainous volcanic island, surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing reef. The island is quite minimally populated but has both naturally-occurring spring water and thermal water for hot springs. ​ The interior lagoon boasts diverse and healthy coral and is a lovely place to spend time in the water. ​ ​Sitting at Fiji's eastern edge, it also has a mix of both Fijian and Tongan culture and was once coveted and partially occupied by the Tongan people. There are still remnants of the Tongan culture today. ​

INCLUDED EXPEDITION:​ Lomaloma Island​ East of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu lies Vanua Balavu, the third largest of the Lau islands is part of Fiji’s Eastern Division. The island is protected by a barrier reef of some 130 kilometers in length. The enclosed lagoon area promises excellent snorkeling while the reefs keep larger ships at bay. Vanua Balavu has a special geological set; it has a volcanic part in the south and uplifting coral in the north and even hot springs with limestone caves. Vanuabalavu means ‘Long Island’. The population of roughly around 1200 people living on the island consists of 17 villages located along the shoreside. Lomaloma is the main village with schools, a post office, a police station, and a small hospital. According to the historical event that evolved on the island, it was under the rulership of a Tongan chief named Ma’afu who resides in Lomaloma. The folkloric presentations feature Fijian and Tongan music and dance formed a special union. The generation of the Tongans still occupied a section of the island from Sawana in the southern part of Lomaloma. The ship located near Lomaloma for Traditional Welcome ceremonies, school visit and village tour concluding with refreshment & entertainment before farewelled with the traditional fijian song called “Isa Lei” before boarding the vessel.