Off the northwestern tip of Vanua Balavu is the pretty Bay of Islands, known locally as Qilaqila, a collection of deep indented bays, islands and islets, secluded beaches and limestone cave, with excellent snorkelling available in its brilliant turquoise lagoon. The bay makes an exceptional anchorage for visiting yachts between May and October (for permission to anchor, contact the government station in Lomaloma on VHF channel 16). The islands themselves are mostly impenetrable – difficult to approach by boat and covered in a tangled mass of shrubs and ironwood trees. However, there are a couple of walking tracks worth exploring, as well as easy access to Vale ni Bose, “the Meeting Place of the Gods”. This huge cathedral cave, over 40m high, is full of stalactites and has several windows letting in dashes of light – note that at high tide you’ll be wading chest-high in water.

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