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Captain Cook Cruises Fiji Debuts its Southern Lau Expedition

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Captain Cook Cruises Fiji Debuts its Southern Lau Expedition
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Captain Cook Cruises Fiji Debuts its Southern Lau Expedition with Never-before Visited Locations onboard MS Caledonian Sky

Fiji’s expedition specialist Captain Cook Cruises Fiji has just returned from its inaugural seven-night voyage to the Southern Lau archipelago. The Southern Lau itineraries now feature on the cruise line’s program with departures each month for the remainder of the 2024 season, and including two bonus itineraries that combine with a visit to Tonga for the annual whale migration in August. 

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On an extraordinary journey, expedition small ship MS Caledonian Sky’s inaugural Southern Lau voyage featured many ‘firsts’ with several stops visiting destinations tourists had never before visited. Each morning, the ship’s cultural delegation went ashore for the traditional sevu sevu with the village chiefs and elders, and the ship’s guests were then officially welcomed ashore. 

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Every land-stop along the voyage offered wonderful experiences, from the warm welcome at Buliya village and a discovery of the rich history at Matuku to Fulaga’s extraordinary aqua blue beauty and Totoya which delighted guests with its culture and thrilling dive spots. Beqa wowed with traditional ceremonies and firewalking while Vatulele captivated guests with its gorgeous lagoon, ancient rock paintings, caves and vibrant cultural encounters. 

With generously inclusive rates from $7,693, the Southern Lau departures are detailed here and a summary follows: 

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BULIYA: The journey began with a warm reception at Buliya village. This was the first ever visit of its kind to the village and the ship’s guests and crew were greeted with enthusiastic singing. It was Easter Sunday and the special church service with its incredible choir was followed by a village tour and a refreshing swim. 

MATUKU: Matuku Island was the only island in Lau not to have been conquered by the Tongans. As the first organised tourism visit to the island, the ship’s guests discovered rich Fijian history, a significant cultural site and thrilling surf breaks. Despite its warlike past, the locals welcomed the visitors with vibrant dancing and cultural experiences.

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FULAGA: Located halfway to Tonga, Fulaga revealed its heavenly beauty, with welcoming villagers showcasing their renowned wood carving craftsmanship and hospitality. Passengers basked in the island’s idyllic charm, dubbed “heaven on earth”. Fulaga’s aqua blue waters seem to go for on ever.

YAGASA: At Yagasa the ship’s guests enjoyed the picturesque scenery, with time to relax and swim or kayak.  

TOTOYA: The shiparrived in Totoya to the news that they had no contact for a month as the supply barge that usually comes once every two weeks had not come for four. Despite this, Fijian happiness abounded and Totoya’s well organised village showcased its trade in copra and coconut, offering enriching experiences like copra demonstrations and a fabulous cultural performance by the school students. Passengers explored its underwater wonders and top dive spots, ending the day with excellent surfing adventures.

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BEQA: After the traditional welcome by the locals, Beqa Island treated passengers to an awe-inspiring firewalking display. Passengers immersed in village life, enjoying warm hospitality and sampling delicious local cuisine.

VATULELE: Hidden gemVatulele revealed its beauty and vibrant cultural heritage. From its magnificent lagoon, white sandy beaches, caves and hidden canyons to an experience of 3000-year-old rock art, sacred red prawns and immersive cultural encounters, the island captivated all with its charm, a fitting wrap to a Southern Lau adventure. For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises Fiji via fiji@captaincookcruisesfiji.com or visit www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com.

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Picture of Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
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