Prize winner gets song and dive…
Prize winner gets song and dive…
The beginnings of another fun-filled diving adventure aboard Fiji Siren started as we enthusiastically welcomed high-spirited guests from Australia, Europe and the United States. We also greeted some Australian expats who call Fiji’s capital Suva home. Along with us too was our incredibly excited and very lucky London International Dive Show (LIDS) competition winner, Tina – congratulations! We lifted anchor once we had ran through the briefings and completed the boat familiarization, and headed off to spend the night snugly moored alongside Nananua-I-Ra Island.
Our group instantly got along like old friends, and the first night’s party festivities began before chefs Andrew and Lepani treated us to an amazing Indonesian-themed culinary delight. Sorry guys, put the diet on hold for another week! The morning saw everybody up bright and early in readiness for a full day bursting with dives in the warm 30⁰C (86⁰F) Vatu-I-Ra water at Mellow Yellow, Coral Corner, Cat’s Meow and Human Nature. A stunning night dive at Nasi Yalo’s Dina wall, where a friendly pod of dolphins dropped by to say a big ‘bula’, rounded things off nicely.
The evening our divers were treated to some traditional local cuisine during ‘Fiji Night’, including rourou soup, kokoda and finished off with banana and lolo, plus of course our time-honored drink, kava. During the banquet we were serenaded by Richie and the harmonious Fiji Siren house-band. Not to be outdone, our guests joined in for an evening of song, dance and lots of laughing! As a perfect postcard sun rose over Namena Island our ‘new family’ woke for what was to be a sensational day of diving, in the very healthy Namena Marine Reserve’s dive sites of: Ned’s Nuts, Black Forest, Grand Central Station, The Arch, Kansas and a night dive at Chimneys. The evening’s themed dinner ‘Italian Night’ included a mouthwatering tiramisu and, of course, vino flowed as stories and pictures of the day’s diving were shared. All whilst Fiji Siren sat peacefully under the South Pacific sky full of stars!
It was so good we went back and did it again! By unanimous decision we started our third day with two dives back at Black Forest and Ned’s Nuts. We then went to visit Nick’s Place, a newly discovered dive site, where we swam amongst enormous schools of pelagic fish, saw endless fields of garden eels and the brightest coloured coral you can imagine! After lunch, we cruised to Makogai Island where our guests went ashore to be greeted by a Fijian Warrior, and enjoy a tour of the baby clam, oyster and turtle farm projects. This was followed by a traditional Meke and Sevusevu, with the entire island coming to greet us. Our duly elected Ratu (Chief) for the day, Peter from the UK, did us proud as he thanked the friendly locals for their hospitality.
Like all good things, our time on Makogai Island had to come to an end, and after countless photographs and goodbyes, it was time to return to our boat for a few pre-dinner drinks and settle back to be well-fed, this time with our ‘Indian Night’ theme. But wait, there’s more! Festivities and frivolity continued into the wee small hours with singing and dancing, as we did our upmost to hilariously ‘choreograph‘ our underwater video. This group must be in the running for BEST EVER!
Understandably we had a few weary heads as we approached Wakaya Island for the first of our day’s dives at Vatu Vai (manta rock) and Lion’s Den, to visit the manta rays, turtles and hammerhead sharks. After lunch, we took advantage of the tide and did a drift dive through Wakaya Passage for some more manta and hammerhead action. Shortly after, our guests safely back on-board we steamed the 28 nautical miles to the island of Gau in readiness for what we anticipated would be another wonderful day of diving, with even more sharks. As expected our chefs once again delivered in-full with a mouth-watering ‘Carvery Night’, where we dined on succulent roast pork, lamb and chicken, accompanied with all the trimmings.
Did someone say SHAAAAAARK? Everyone in fact as we started the day with not one, but two incredible dives at Nigali Passage, accompanied by well over 40 sharks, literally countless barracuda and giant trevally, and of course our large resident groupers and Napoleon wrasse . That afternoon we dived at Anthia’s Avenue for some more manta ray interaction, followed by the last night dive of the adventure, at Jim’s Alley. Barracuda were spotted feeding in our torch-light, prior to us settling in for a fabulous ‘Seafood Smorgasbord’, and another hilarious evening jam-packed full of games, laughter and dance.
Our last day of diving arrived and saw us back at Vatu-I-Ra for the sunrise, and the chance to explore the spectacular E6 site. Some of our more energetic guests even found time for a casual kayak! We then set course for home to Volivoli Beach and a final fun-packed evening One more chance to party and dance the house down, after our famous BBQ banquet!
Just how good was it was the diving adventure? Let’s see what the guests had to say: ‘I wouldn’t have missed this for the world’ (Peter – United Kingdom), ‘The best diving I’ve ever done!’ (Ian – Australia), ‘We enjoyed every minute!’ (Asa – Sweden), ‘I was more than pleasantly surprised with the quality and variety of the diving!’ (Fiona – Australia), ‘The boat was beautiful, the crew took really good care of us and the diving was first class!’ (Patrick – Sweden) and ‘The trip and the attention of the crew was excellent!’ (Tori – Australia).
Sadly, the last morning arrived and after a sumptuous breakfast we said ‘Moce mada’ (goodbye) to a truly marvelous group of new friends! The crew gathered together to sing a heartfelt Isa Lei, as our guests departed with what we hope are fond life-long memories of their time with us onboard Fiji Siren.