- Yasawa Islands
The Yasawa group consists of six main islands and numerous smaller islets. The archipelago, which stretches in a north-easterly direction for more than 80 kilometers from a point 40 kilometers north-west of
Lautoka, is volcanic in origin and very mountainous, with peaks ranging from 250 to 600 meters in height. The only safe passage for shipping is between Yasawa Island (the largest in the archipelago, about 22 kilometers long and less than a kilometer wide) and Round Island, 22 kilometers to the north-east.
Tourism, economy and culture
Until 1987, it was the policy of the Fiji government that the Yasawa Group was closed to land-based tourism. There has been limited cruise operations since the 1950s, but passengers had to stay aboard their ships. Local residents benefited little from the passengers presence.
Due to its freehold real-estate status, three budget resorts were operating on
Tavewaisland since the early 1980s. Nanuya Levu, also known as Turtle Island, is one of Fiji's most famous resorts. Areas of the Yasawas were the locales for the 1980 filming of the romance adventure film "The Blue Lagoon".
Richard Evanson purchased
Nanuya Levuisland in 1970 and moved there in 1972. After the filming of "The Blue Lagoon" on Nanuya Levu, Mr. Evanson converted the bure's established for the film crew into the [http://www.turtlefiji.com/legend/re.php Turtle Island] resort.
Since the Fijian government lifted the restrictions on land-based tourism in the Yasawa Group, a number of resorts have been established there.
Tourism is growing in importance. Permission is required to visit all islands in the group except
Tavewa. The home of the " Tui Yasawa", the Paramount Chief of the Yasawa Islands, is at Yasawa-i-Rara, on Yasawa Island, but the largest village is Nabukeru.
The British navigator
William Blighwas the first European to sight the Yasawas in 1789, following the mutiny on the HMS Bounty. Captain Barber in the HMS Arthurvisited the islands in 1794, but they were not charted until 1840, when they were surveyed and charted by a United Statesexpedition commanded by Charles Wilkes.
Throughout the 1800s,
Tongan raiders bartered for, and sometimes stole, the sail mats for which the Yasawa Islanders were famous. The islands were largely ignored by the wider world until World War II, when the United States militaryused them as communications outposts.
* [http://www.articlessearches.com/travel/Backpackers_and_Billionaires.html Backpackers and Billionaires: Article about the Yasawa Group's (and Fiji's) history]
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