This morning, National Geographic Orion anchored in the Kadavu Island Group. Kadavu is Fiji’s fourth largest island but considered the least developed area in Fiji. Captain Bligh was the first (known) European to sight the Kadavu island group in 1792 on his second voyage to Fiji on the HMS Providence. The reef surrounding the island group was named after Dumont D’Urville’s ship Astrolabe, which nearly shipwrecked on the reef that now bears the vessel's name. Great Astrolabe Reef is one of the longest/largest barrier reefs in the world and one of most pristine.

After breakfast, we loaded into Zodiacs and cruised the shores of Yabu Island where there were hundreds of red-footed and brown boobies in flight and roosting/nesting in the trees. From there we went to Vurolevu Island to snorkel and the healthy reef did not disappoint. Around the corner from the beach, we swam with manta rays and their incredible size and grace made it a truly incredible encounter. After a delicious sushi lunch, we snorkeled from the platform and returned to the ship feeling pleasantly exhausted from all our fun in the sun!

Image: Zodiac cruising around Yabu Island. Photo by Elise Lockton