History of Blue Lagoon Cruises
The history of Blue Lagoon tells the story of a love affair with the islands of Fiji – and of a man who dared to dream about creating one of the most enchanting cruise experiences in the world.
Captain Trevor Withers, a young New Zealand stockbroker with a passion for the sea, founded Blue Lagoon Cruises in 1950. Withers and his friend, Harold Gatty, a renowned Australian aviator, came to Fiji at a time when tourism to the pacific nation was virtually unknown. Visitors to Fiji, for the most part, were in transit at Nadi Airport or were shipped passengers enroute between North America and New Zealand or Australia.
Withers and Gatty had a vision to establish a fishing industry in Fiji. To start the venture, the duo visited the islands to pay respects to the Chiefs. It was at the magnificent Yasawa Island, Waya Lailai, where they enlisted the help of a young villager, Epeli Voli, as an interpreter. With Epeli’s help, Captain Withers obtained the full support of the Yasawa people for his fishing venture and established firm friendships with the chiefs and the people of the Yasawa Islands.
After four years of effort, Withers and Gatty concluded that their hopes of establishing a tuna fishing industry in Fiji were not viable. However, both men had fallen in love with Fiji and wished to remain in the islands. Gatty went on to establish Air Pacific, the forerunner to Fiji's national airline, Fiji Airways. However, the future for Withers was not so clear. He still had his mind on the sea and began to dream of taking visitors on a cruise through the idyllic Yasawa Islands:
a dream that became Blue Lagoon Cruises
By 1966, Blue Lagoon Cruises had established an international reputation and Withers, now suffering from poor health, was ready to retire to his beloved Waya Island. After much deliberation, he sold the venture to Captain Claude Millar, a well-known New Zealand ship owner, so completing the first chapter of the Blue Lagoon Cruise history.