How to Scuba Dive in the Yasawa Islands

The Yasawa islands are a chain of 20 volcanic islands situated to the north-east of the mainland of Fiji. These islands are among the most popular destinations, especially for local as well as international and budget tourists, in this country. The islands in this group are spread up to over 80 kilometres. The islands containing mountains offer unexplored natural beauty through its spectacular beaches and natural sceneries to their visitors.

This group of Yasawa islands contain 12 major islands which contain nearly 30 resorts and other accommodation options for the people visiting here from all over the world. Yasawa islands offer you real escape from civilization as even if you can find resorts and hotels with modern amenities to stay here but you may not find any bank, medical service or shops on these islands. One can enjoy scuba diving in the Yasawa Islands along with various other activities including island hoping, hiking, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling etc.

Most of the resorts on these islands have basic accommodations with modern amenities. To those who want to enjoy the serenity of the tropical regions without spending lots of money per night to stay at resorts. You can enjoy access to natural and cultural sites of this country along with local and international cuisines at these resorts at very reasonable price.

Though these islands have a few high-end resorts they are popular among backpackers due to their budgetary accommodations. So if you are short of time and have limited budget to enjoy tropical environment at the natural beaches of Fiji then these islands are the best destination for you. The rugged volcanic rocks with sheer cliffs falling into the sea in the Yasawa islands create amazing drop offs and limestone coral formations which attract travellers who want to scuba dive in the Yasawa Islands to explore unexplored reefs submerged in their jade green and turquoise seas.

Some of the sites at these islands offer a bit of a gentle current where one can experience scuba diving in the Yasawa islands with a team of expert divers to help you at the site of your choice. But before starting scuba diving you should consider various things including intensity of the currents, tides and the condition of the local sea along with your expertise in this respect.

Though Yasawa islands can be visited from Nadi through various economic transportation options including boat rides that take over 4 hours, various adventurous scenic flights are also arranged by airline operators like Turtle Airways that can reach these islands in under an hour. Boat operators run daily boat transfers from Nadi through various island ports in the Yasawa group of islands which take 4-5 hours to complete. The seaplane rides on the other hand operated by Turtle Airways offer multiple seaplane flights from Nadi per day that allow you to reach Yasawa islands within 30 minutes only.

So to explore the unexplored natural beauty at their beaches along with scuba dive in the Yasawa islands you can choose your preferred means of transportation to reach these islands from Nadi.

Marco Polo on the Silk Road

The Silk Road is a name given to ancient trade routes which run from China to the west. These routes were navigated by travelers, adventurers, pilgrims and traders. Among the most famous Silk Route travelers is Marco Polo (1254-1324), the iconic Italian merchant traveler. He came from Venice, Italy and set out for Asia with his father and uncle in 1271. Their journey lasted 24 years and included the Silk Road. His travelers were recorded in the Book of the Marvels of the World also known as The Travels of Marco Polo written in c.1300. Through this remarkable book the imaginations of people in the west were ignited, people became interested in travel to the Far East. Although Marco Polo was not the first European to reach China he was the first to leave a record of his travels.

The Story of Marco Polo, Kublai Khan and the Silk Road

In the book retelling Marco Polo’s travels we read of his father and uncle who were invited to meet Kublai Khan (1215-1294), Mongol leader and founder of the Yuan Dynasty. This is said to have been Kublai Khan’s first encounter with Europeans. The two Italian merchants travelers to Dadu (present day Beijing, China) to meet the Asian leader. Khan met the travelers and enquired about life in the west, politics, trade, Christianity, the Pope and the western legal system. He then gave them a letter to deliver to the Pope. One of the requests in the letter was for oil from the holy lamp in Jerusalem. The Polo brothers had to put off their journey to Jerusalem as there was a delay between the death of one Pope and the appointment of another. In this interlude they returned to Venice where Marco Polo, at that time seventeen years old, joined them on their quest to bring the oil to Kublai Khan in 1271.

The three travelers sailed from Venice to Acre and on to Jerusalem where they collected the oil. From there by camel to the Persian port of Hormuz (present day Qal’eh-ye Hormoz in Iran). Here they failed to find a seaworthy ship to take them to China and so they took the Silk Road. Marco Polo, his father Niccolo Polo and uncle Maffeo followed the Silk Road to Kublai Khan’s summer palace in Shangdu near present day Zhangjakou. Along the way they traveled both independently and as part of a larger caravan of travelers making their way along the Silk Road.

One of Marco Polo’s Silk Road adventures included being attacked by bandits who snuck up on the caravan of travelers under the cover of a sand storm. Many of the travelers in the caravan were murdered or taken as slaves but the Polos managed to escape to a nearby village. Marco Polo and his traveling companions eventually reached Kublai Khan’s palace after three years of travel. Marco Polo spent time serving in Khan’s court before returning home to Venice. His writings about the Silk Road, his observations about the culture, landscape and wildlife have been an invaluable source for future explorers, historians, anthropologists and travelers along the Silk Road.