Great dives and great fun on board the Fiji Siren Liveaboard: incredible macro, great pelagics and colorful corals!

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Great dives and great fun on board the Fiji Siren Liveaboard: incredible macro, great pelagics and colorful corals!

A great big bula welcome to the Dive Team from Channel Islands Scuba in California who will be our well pampered guests for the next 7-nights. After a fun but thorough boat and safety briefing it was ‘anchor-up’ with our course set straight for the Namena Marine Reserve, some 10-hours away, and what an ideal location to kick-off the first 2-days of diving. To commence proceedings on a high note we were fortunate enough to be escorted through the Bligh Waters by a large pod of Pilot Whales just prior to sunset – let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.

reef sharks 02Day one for the cruise was a lovely casual drift along South Save-A-Tack Wall with patrolling Reef Sharks and feeding Dog Tooth Tuna and then after breakfast we explored the beautiful and always colorful Chimneys which consistently impresses time after time. For our next dives we split into two groups with one at Black Forest and the other at Ned’s Nuts where we had plenty of Sharks, Barracuda, Wahoo, Walu and Tuna to keep us more than occupied. To round our diving off for the day we jumped in at Pep’s Playground for a tranquil little night dive. The dynamic team of Chefs Josefa and Josevata were once again up to their culinary best with some mouthwatering Indian food for dinner which was followed by a very amusing game of Cards Against Humanity along with a few bottles of great wine.

Our second day in the reserve started off at North Save-A-Tack for dives at Grand Central Station, The Arch, Oz, Yellow Brick Road, Kansas and of course a visit to the Window of Dreams before moving the 45-minutes back to the south to finish our time in Namena off with a lovely night dive at Black Forest. This was of course followed by another delicious dinner before rounding the evening off with an hilarious game of charades accompanied with a few more wines as we ventured just over 4-hours further south to Makogai Island in readiness for tomorrows adventure.

Leaf FishToday’s dive menu consisted of Half Pipe, Dominoes and Ratu Ridge where we saw amazing colored soft and hard coral, Scorpion Leaf Fish, Sharks, countless colorful Fusiliers and a large range of Sea Cucumbers, Sea Stars and Nudibranchs. Later that afternoon it was time to pay a little cultural visit to the local people of the area where our guests were entertained by a Meke (traditional welcome dance), participated in a Sevusevu (kava ceremony) and were each presented with a handmade Salusalu (traditional necklace) from the village children. Once back on-board we kept the local theme going with our Fijian night for dinner including rourou soup, kokoda, ika vakalolo and of course no Fijian night is complete without some tasty kava. Tonight’s entertainment was headlined by the Fiji Siren House Band who kept our guests engrossed in song and dance till one by one the days diving and dancing took its toll and everyone eventually retired to their luxury cabins for the night to be well rested for another big day of diving tomorrow.

Hammer headThe following morning just before sunrise we raised anchor and ventured a little under 2-hours south to Wakaya Island where we dived Lion’s Den, Vatu Vai and Wakaya Wall with a few White Tip Reef Sharks, Turtles and also had a quick visit from a Hammerhead Shark. As weather conditions were starting to deteriorate we decided to head off to Naingani Island for a fun night dive on Flintstones with Moray Eels, Groupers and the creepy Lion’s Paw Sea Cucumbers.

Doakeasaurus HopitusFor our next stop we ventured back to Vatu I Ra and the ‘worlds soft coral capital’ and kicked-off our diving at Mellow Yellow and Black Magic Mountain then after our second breakfast we hit Instant Replay on the outgoing tide to hang out with the Turtles and Octopus plus a very special visit from ‘Doakeasaurus Hopitus’. Another big lunch and time for a nice relaxing siesta and plenty of photo critiquing before switching groups from this morning and re-visiting Black Magic Mountain and Mellow Yellow. Once everyone was safely back on-board it was off to Nananu I Ra Island for the night where we enjoyed a freshly prepared seafood smorgasbord.

MV Ovalau IIThe time we had dreaded was now upon us and it was our final dive day and we remained in the colorful Bligh Waters and took the opportunity to get in our final three dives, firstly on the MV Ovalau II, a roll-on roll-off car ferry full of cargo which sank in 2003 and has since been flipped upside down by Tropical Cyclone Evan in 2012, then off to Breath Taker and Dream Maker to round off this epic diving adventure.
Later that afternoon we made the short journey back to Volivoli Beach as our guests relaxed whilst the always busy crew thoroughly washed and dried everyone’s dive equipment ready for tomorrow’s pending departure. Our last night on-board delivered another magnificent red sunset as a fitting backdrop to our pre-dinner drinks. During our last dinner together we shared some amazing cruise photos from our guests on the rear-deck big screen TV followed by another fun night of entertainment by the always entertaining Fiji Siren House Band and lots of laughing.

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 and Moce Mada until next time.

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