Island Sanctuary for Humans and Boobies
A three-hour boat ride drops you off on the dragon-shaped island of Namenalala, whose name – loosely translated as Uninhabited Island – is accurate but for the ten guests of a small retreat on the edge of a jungle. The tribal owners of this natural reserve named Tom and Joan Moody as honorary wildlife wardens, allowing the American couple and their few guests to live their island fantasy here.
Namenalala has no television, no electricity, and a delicious do-whatever-you-like and when-you-like philosophy. The five unobtrusive treehouse bures are perched high on a wooded ridge to catch the ocean breeze and are unexpectedly luxurious, with romantic gaslights, his and her baths, canopied king-size beds, and wraparound decks with million-dollar views. But the mile-long island’s true luxury is the feeling of being shipwrecked and forgotten, with no newspapers and no phone, just lazy picnics on any of the six beaches (guests who want the beach to themselves can post an “occupied” sign at the foot of the path) and walks through lush forests whose silence is broken only by exotic bird calls.
Namenalala is home to a colony of red-footed booby birds, a giant variety of albatross, and orange-breasted honeyeaters, and is also the nesting ground for Hawkesbill and green turtles, who lay their eggs on the beaches between November and March.
Namena Barrier Reef creates an unbelievable walk-in aquarium, with more than 100 varieties of brilliantly colored coral and clouds of gemlike fish that make for excellent snorkeling and diving. Namenalala and its reef belong to Mother Nature; its human interlopers are just temporary guests.