Incredible dives on board the Fiji Siren
Incredible dives on board the Fiji Siren
The Fiji Siren and her crew welcomed on board a group of divers from the UK all ready and excited to dive Fiji A leisurely shake-down dive at Bula Maker to kick things off was the order of the afternoon to help our new UK friends feel safe and comfortable after their travels from the other side of the globe. Our first night on-board their new floating home was a nice fun and relaxing affair with everyone getting to know each other, lots of dive talk, even more laughing and great tales, a few beautiful wines and I think we can comfortably say that the ‘stage is set’ for another remarkable 10-night cruise.
The next day, the Fiji Siren remained in the glassy calm Bligh Waters to explore a few new sites which we added to our itinerary for the very first time. First-up was Dream Maker aka ‘swim through heaven’ with napoleon wrasse, sharks and wahoo right down to tiny nudibranch, shrimps and gobies as well as a myriad of beautifully colored soft coral. This was followed after breakfast by Pinnacles which is peppered with anemones and hard and soft coral and another great swim-through full of massive sea fans. After lunch we dropped in at Breath Taker before finally a nice dusk dive on the wreck of the 55m roll-on/roll-off ferry the MV Ovalau II in Nananu I Ra Passage with her cargo of trucks and cars still in place that succumbed to the forces of tropical cyclone Ami in 2003 and if that wasn’t enough flipped upside-down by tropical cyclone Evan in 2012.
The following morning just before sunrise the Fiji Siren raised anchor and ventured a little over 2-hours to Vatu I Ra to start the days diving at Black Magic Mountain which is full of healthy black coral and we were also visited by hungry schools of tuna and barracuda seeking out their breakfast as well as some inquisitive grey reef sharks. During our surface interval as Fiji Siren sat peacefully on anchor in the glassy flat water our guests were entertained by two large pods of dolphins gracefully circling our boat along with the occasional high-flying aerial acrobatics display which brought raucous cheers from the excited onlookers. After breakfast we explored the abundant and colorful soft coral at Mellow Yellow – this site alone shows why the area is named the soft coral capital of the world. Next on the menu was Instant Replay and the thrill of this exhilarating drift dive, which never fails to bring everyone up with smiles from ear-to-ear. To round off a truly majestic day it was back to Mellow Yellow for a tranquil night dive before chef Josevata created a scrumptious dinner of local fish and vegetables. Conditions at Vatu I Ra were so good we decided to change our schedule and stay for a second day and the following morning we dropped in at Purple Haze and then another invigorating drift dive at Vatu Express. Later that afternoon we headed off to Makogai Island for dinner followed by a few traditional kava’s to wash it down and some entertainment by the Fiji Siren House Band before retiring for the night in readiness for tomorrows diving adventure.
Our plan today consisted on three wonderful, or to quote Mike from the UK ‘absolutely brilliant’ dives at Dominoes, Half Pipe and Pin Ball which was followed by our overnight crossing to Taveuni and the Somosomo Strait in preparation for the next two days of our Fiji adventure.
To start our Taveuni escapades we got right into the action with an exciting and very speedy drift dive at Rainbow Passage with blue ribbon eels, mantis shrimp, reef sharks and countless fusiliers. After some rest-n-relaxation taking in the beautiful views topside we then popped over to the Ledge for a more leisurely meander but once again found masses of critters everywhere. Another yummy lunch and it was time to experience some amazing color at the Purple Wall and then to wrap things up for the day we visited one of Fiji’s most famous, talked and written about sites, the Great White Wall, which is truly remarkable and should be on every divers ‘bucket list’ of things to see.
Our second and final day in Taveuni saw us showcase some more superb sites including Fish Factory and Barracuda Point in the morning and after lunch we enjoyed another exhilarating drift dive from Jerry’s Jelly to Blue Ribbon and finally a lovely night dive at Nuku’s Reef. Unfortunately our program here had come to an end and once again it was time to venture to another part of Fiji, the truly remarkable Namena Marine Reserve some 7-hours away which would play host to us for the next two days.
As the pink dawn morning sky broke over Namena Island we could tell it was going to be a remarkable day as conditions were flat and calm and the excitement from guests and crew alike was already building in anticipation to hit the water at this iconic location. To start things off in Namena Marine Reserve we got right into the action and dropped in at the Arch with her massive schools of jacks and barracuda, a friendly banded sea snake and the impressive and well camouflaged golden mantis shrimp and scorpion leaf fish before slowly making our way over to Oz and then along the Yellow Brick Road and finally through to Kansas for our safety stop amongst the masses of healthy leather coral. After some surface interval time and a big cooked breakfast it was back into the action at Grand Central Station. During lunch we moved Fiji Siren over to the south side of the marine reserve and later that afternoon we were in once again, this time at Black Forest with Karen coming up saying ‘I think I saw every colour possible down there’. Next stop was a short 10-minute trip back to Namena Island and a relaxing night dive at Namena Point before Chef Josevata treated us to some traditional Fijian cooking and once again the crew broke out the kava and entertained our guests with some local songs and dancing.
For our final day in the Namena Marine Reserve we were once again blessed with another lovely sunrise as we headed the short 30-minutes back to the north and onto North Save-A-Tack Wall which was later followed by School House and I think that it’s safe to say our guests were very delighted with this morning’s wide assortment of critters from nudibranch to napoleon wrasse, scorpion leaf fish to sharks, huge schools of jacks and more soft coral than we could count. During lunch we made our way back to the south to take advantage of the tides and everyone was treated to some sensational colours of soft and hard corals during our afternoon dive at Chimneys, a range of pinnacles which is home to an absolute diverse array of marine life, almost making up a circle around a flat sand patch with countless garden eels, resting white tip reef sharks, barracuda waiting to ambush their next snack and octopus expertly camouflaged. Nemo was our chosen site for our last night dive of the cruise and as the name suggests is covered with a variety of assorted anemone and anemone fish, a guaranteed recipe to keep everyone smiling.
Early the next morning it was back to Vatu I Ra and the colorful Bligh Waters to round off our diving adventure at the much written about and photographed E-6 and it’s amazing ‘cathedral’. The grand finale was Mount Mutiny, named after Captain William Bligh who navigated through the area shortly after the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789, and it’s ‘rainbow wall’ – arguably one of the most colourful reefs you will see anywhere on the planet, and to top it all off this was also Mike’s 1,000th dive! Congratulations Mike and vinaka vaka levu for choosing Fiji Siren to help you celebrate this very impressive milestone at a genuine world-class site.
After another leisurely lunch we set a steady course back to Volivoli Beach on the glass flat waters as our guests relaxed on the sundeck and took in the beautiful view of the surrounding tropical Fijian islands before another sensational bright red sunset. During our last dinner together we shared some amazing cruise photo’s from our guests on the rear-deck big screen followed by another fun night of entertainment by the Fiji Siren House Band.
Like all things amazing unfortunately our cruise has to come to an end as the crew sang Isa lei to our departing friends…….vinaka vaka levu until next time.