Fiji calls her back
Threpeater returns to Fiji…
Welcoming our guests aboard we were pleased to once again welcome Heather Sutton from Australia who is taking her third trip aboard Fiji Siren – 3 trips in our first 6 months!! With a thorough tour of the boat and all briefings concluded, the crew and guests were excited as we once again immediately lifted anchor to head Southeast towards the Island of Gau – Fiji’s 5th largest Island – and what we now call “The Island of the Sharks”. The first full day of diving at Gau, although a bit overcast, was phenomenal with the fourth dive of the day in Nigali Passage being the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’ with a full complement of Grey Reef Sharks. Many comments of the like “these are the biggest Grey Reef Sharks we’ve ever seen” tended to back up my hunch that the females are pregnant once again…
Day two the guests awoke to partly cloudy skies with a beautiful sunrise over the island of Gau, with plenty of energy and a readiness to dive. The divers explored the outer reef Nigali Passage during dive one and at the insistence of Tony, dive 2 was an exploratory dive of the inner walls of the reef on the lagoon side. Finishing off the day with dives 3 and 4 in the passage this very experienced group of divers, including several instructors, split up along the passage to take advantage of the shark display. An early dinner, some card games (or it could have been drinking games), and off to bed for an early morning departure as we headed towards Wakaya for a sunrise arrival.
It was a smooth overnight voyage, and with two dives over the pristine hard corals at Wakaya, with a Manta sighting on the second dive, everyone enjoyed an all-time favorite at lunch – PIZZA! With the sun high in the sky many were taking advantage of the cushions up forward, and the sun deck chairs for a little tanning session as we headed north towards Makogai for our late afternoon scheduled tour of the village, turtle and giant clam farm, and the always impressive and entertaining Meke performed by the children of the island. We enjoyed a calm, calm cloudless evening in the bay at Makogai, and once again the Australian group ‘kicked’ it up a bit with a few beers, and stronger libations after dinner. As usual, after a few days of diving many retired to bed earlier than they might back at home – but anticipating 2 days of diving in the Marine Reserve surrounding Namena Island.
North and South Save A Tack Passages always leave an impression on our divers. During our two full diving days in Namena – the group saw a variety of marine creatures from the large – sharks, a manta, schooling barracuda – to the super small – nudi’s and our now extremely popular pygmy seahorses. After the first night dive at Chimneys, Tony came back to the Fiji Siren saying ‘one of my top 5 all-time best night dives’, and then Tim said ‘that was probably THE BEST night dive I have ever been on’. Rumors of an Oceanic Silvertip sighting was the topic of debate during dinner and into the next morning at breakfast! No photo of the creature is one of the top reasons for the good natured debates!
South Save A Tack Passage and the dives there seemed to be the favorites for these guests with the stunning colorful soft coral. With the current being very, very light, it offered easy photographic opportunities for the many with cameras on board. After finishing off the diving in Namena and enjoying our Seafood night dinner prepared by Andrew our chef, everyone relaxed with some movies in the salon, and some reading. Our overnight voyage north to E-6 was rough with some side on swell for the first couple of hours but after clearing the southern reef things calmed down so everyone could finish off their night and their sleep peacefully.
The first dive of the morning was great with light current and sightings of White Tip and Grey Reef Sharks, as well as Oceanic Silvertips. Someone from the Australian group (ahhhhh Tony) came back with stories of Hammerheads, but gave in to the pressure of the group when pressed and recanted his story. During dive two everyone was set to go deep, and call up the Hammerheads for our last dive of the trip. Many of our group were continuing with their dive vacation at Ra- Divers so Julius, Matai and the rest of the crew made light work of cleaning the Gear and readying the yacht for our afternoon cruise back to Volivoli as the divers lazed around in anticipation of our final night Bar-B-Que. As we neared the mainland, it was very apparent that our guests were not looking forward to leaving the boat. So, after a quick talk with our Skipper Julian, we decided to anchor just off the small Island of Nananu-I-Ra which is very close to our disembarkation point, but giving the guests a final night of the tropical sailing feeling they have come to enjoy over the past 7 days. But the inevitable happened and after a full breakfast it was time to exchange email addresses with the buzz talk being when they would next return to the Fiji Siren. Soon we hope! Now all that’s left is for the crew and I to ready ourselves for the next adventure in Fiji. Moce mada to all, and we’ll see you next time!