New Year’s Eve Cruise
New Year’s Eve Cruise
All our guests settled in quickly, especially Archie and Von from the U.K. who were joining us for the second of their back-to-back trips aboard the Fiji Siren, but with many arriving off of long, long flights we decided to wait until the following morning for our check out dive at Vatu-I-Ra in the Bligh Water. Diving day number one went off without a hitch. The unforgettable Fiji Blue Sky and light trade winds were the back drop for the day and the night dive was the topping on the proverbial cake with divers coming back full of stories of “humongous” aquatic life. Cats Meow is quickly becoming one of the diver’s favorites in the Bligh Water area.
After a relaxed overnight near Nadi Passage we set out for two days in the Namena Marine Reserve. With a 1.5 meter tidal swing and a new moon approaching, I was anticipating some pumping current and we were not to be disappointed. The variety and colorfulness of the soft corals at South Save A Tack Passage, and the schools of pelagic fishes and sharks at North Save A Tack Passage was breath-taking. On New Year’s Eve day we spent another ½ day diving the South Save A Tack Dive Sites at Namena to take in some more of the super vibrant soft corals of the area, with the second dive being a ‘dive as long as you want’ dive. After lunch we made one last dive before cruising to Savusavu Bay to anchor overnight for New Year’s Eve…We were welcomed into Savusavu Harbour with a beautiful display of fireworks and after a tasty supper with Baked Ham and Turkey, a few cocktails were imbibed, pictures / videos were shown but most guests retired before 10pm but always offering a ‘Happy New Year’ wish to all before disappearing into their cabins… after all there is diving to be done in 2014!
New Year’s Day was looking fine weather wise so the Fiji Siren pulled anchor and headed east towards Dreamhouse where we kicked off the new year with a short sighting of two hammerhead sharks before continuing our cruise onto Taveuni. A late afternoon dive upon arrival in the Somosomo Strait at the Fish Factory and divers on the night dive in Waitatavi Bay returned with reports of stargazer and other critter sightings; this will definitely be a dive we do again. The following day everyone enjoyed diving in the pumping current of the Somosomo Straits with schools of pelagics and the soft corals blooming with the nutrients and plankton like nothing we saw so far! Four daytime dives had the guests exhausted by the time dinner was finished so an early night ensued. Two morning dives were completed on the morning of the 7th day of our journey with Rainbow Reef continuing to impress the guests and after a hearty, energy restoring lunch we boarded mini-vans for a visit to the Bouma Falls National Heritage Park and the international date line, all the while Dodo and Timasi kept all entertained with tales of Fijian life. A third quick stop was made to tour Holy Cross Catholic Church, built in 1911, and the surrounding grounds which house the secondary school and university. Back on board everyone settled in for dinner as we said goodbye to Taveuni and started our overnight voyage southwards to Gau Island where we knew the Grey Reef Sharks would be waiting for us!
After an extremely calm 9 ½ hour voyage across the Koro Sea we arrived at Gau at about 4:30am and anchored in for our first dive of the day at Anthias Ave, before heading into the Nigali Passage. Once again Nigali impressed all and the consensus was to stay for 2 full days of diving at this grey reef shark magnet. We also delighted in sightings of 3 manta rays as well as huge schools of barracuda, red snapper and trevally and having such a beautiful day the crew decided to raise the sails on the Fiji Siren during lunch so so we could take advantage of the photo opportunity. Once diving and dinner were done on the 9th day of our liveaboard safari we began our journey northwards once again to Bligh Waters. Our diving for this trip culminated at E-6 & the Cathedral; the huge pinnacle with its cavern being a must for any underwater photographer. Our evening BBQ followed the serene crossing back to Volivoli but no one was looking forward to the next day and having to disembark, though of course we could be happy in the knowledge that we would see each other again as everyone has mentioned what a terrific dive trip they’ve had onboard. Safe travels wishes were shared and goodbyes said as they 16 guests headed for land, Cheers to all!