We spent a week cruising the Lomaiviti Islands as we day-sailed our way between Fiji's two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The group is small and infrequently visited; there are only a handful of backpacking style hostels slung across the ten or so islands. Our first stop was Naigani. There was a horse-shoe shaped anchorage on the western edge of the island, protected by the land on one side and projecting reefs on the other two.
The islands were beautiful, but most dramatic here was the havoc caused by last season's Cyclone Winston. Blowing through the Fiji's islands were winds upward of 200 knots. The islands were stripped bare of all greenery and reduced to dirt, sand, and sticks. Four months later when we visited, the palm trees still looked like poorly treated dandelion stems. Some were topped with bright green tufts of newly cropped fronds, and there were plenty of vines and shrubs returning to life.
After two nights in Naigani, we spent one night in Makogai and then three days anchored off Namenalala, the island closest to Vanua Levu. We snorkeled the bay in front of a resort that had been swept clean off the island. We swam over a cement staircase that had been tossed to the center of the bay. It was an awe inspiring sight, and made us both feel like the sail two and from New Zealand was worth avoided such forces of nature.
A few bright barnacles (I think they're barnacles....) we found on coral off the beach in Naigani: