Amazing Shark dives in Fiji
Amazing Shark dives in Fiji
The Fiji Siren Liveaboard had this week a very good cross section of nationalities including German, French, Australian, Spanish, Swiss and the UK. We started the subsurface activities with a relaxed little shake-down dive at Amazing Maze. This site gave us an excellent opportunity to ensure everyone felt safe and comfortable in the dive set-up and have a real-life rehearsal for a full day of exciting diving in the Bligh Water tomorrow.
Early the following morning it was off to Vatu I Ra as we split into 2-groups to dive Maytag and shark with 30m/100’ visibility making it easy to take in all the healthy colorful soft coral that the area is so famous around the world for as well as scorpion leaf fish, moray eels, large cod and groupers and of course masses and masses of anemone and anemone fish. After our second breakfast and live cooking station on deck we dropped in at Coral Corner for a gentle and effortless drift dive. Time for lunch and a little snoozing then we swapped groups and went back to Mellow Yellow and Maytag. With just 3-dives on our schedule today we then set course for Gau, island of the sharks.
As dawn broke to start another day Gau Island was sitting a short distance off our port side and with the encircling barrier reef was off our port it was calm flat waters. The first dive site Nigali Passage, where we consistently enjoy some real life close encounter shark action. Like many times at this site our guests couldn’t get enough so after a short surface interval and a big cooked breakfast we did it all again! It was even better the second time around with over 2-dozen healthy grey reef sharks including quite a few small juveniles right up to several big fat pregnant females. During lunch Captain Sai moved us about an hour north whilst still inside the lagoon and we once again split into 2-groups and explored Anthia’s Avenue and Jim’s Alley before our intrepid night divers chose to go back to Jim’s Alley to see who and what comes out after dark and we found some octopus, scorpion stone fish, decorator crabs and lionfish on the hunt for dinner.
The next day, our early rising guests woke to see our escort of dolphins guiding us into Wakaya Island where our task for the morning was to search for some hammerhead shark action. We took advantage of the big tides and flat seas at Vatu Vai and Lion’s Den in the morning and pleasingly we encountered a couple of hammerhead sharks. After a beautiful calm morning with great viz we made a short 2-hour cruise during yet another tasty lunch to Makogai Island where we hit Pin Ball and Half Pipe to check-out the giant clams to the tiny electric file clams, moray eels to garden eels, nudibranchs to ‘Nemo’ and colorful coral before heading off to Namena Marine Reserve, our aquatic playground for the next 2-days.
On our first morning in the Namena Marine Reserve, we had for our first dive an epic drift along South Save-A-Tack Wall on the outgoing tide with its caves, tunnels and swim-thoughts which saw us entertained by some inquisitive moray eels and an extremely cheeky octopus. Next on our schedule were Black Forest and Ned’s Nuts for colour and life everywhere including scorpion leaf fish, lion fish, patrolling reef sharks, barracuda, wahu and trevally/jacks with literally countless anemone fish and anthias at the top of the pinnacles. Later that afternoon, we again split into 2-groups with one starting at Grand Central Station and making their way down the wall to the Arch whilst our other group started at the Arch and made their way to Kansas, along the way visiting Oz, Yellow Brick Road and the Window of Dreams. These dives were amazing and really turned it on for us with large grey reef sharks, massive schools of barracuda and jacks/trevally, banded sea snakes and of course the little guys like golden mantis shrimp, pipe fish, nudibranchs as well as coral in every colour you could imagine. The Namena Marine Reserve is certainly home to some of the richest and healthiest corals and associated ecosystem you could find anywhere on the planet. To wrap-up a pretty full day it was off to Nemo’s Playground for our night dive.
Today’s dive menu consisted firstly of Chimneys where we saw pigmy seahorses, dragonets, pipefish, leaf fish, garden eels, a large array of nudibranchs, several flat worms, octopus and our resident sharks, barracuda and schooling trevally. Next we swapped groups from yesterday and went back to Ned’s Nuts and Black Forest before heading under bright sun to the north side for more action on North Save-A-Tack Wall and what a dive it was with a big school of hammerhead sharks, plenty of grey reef sharks, massive dog toth tuna, huge schools of barracuda and trevally/jacks, turtles, golden mantis shrimp, dragonets, napoleon wrasse, the list is endless. Our night divers enjoyed one more activity on the local wreck.
Early the following morning we set course back to the Bligh Water and Vatu I Ra where we had a date with arguably Fiji’s most famous and most written about and photographed site, E6. Here our guests explored the Cathedral and her inhabitants as well as meandered around the top of this massive pinnacle rising vertically from the sea bed some 1,000m/3,000’ below to just break the surface at low tide. As another successful cruise comes towards the end our sights are set on Mount Mutiny for its rich diversity of life and the masses of colored soft coral decorating the walls of this pinnacle as far as the eye could see plus dog tooth tuna, green turtles, napoleon wrasse and schooling Spanish mackerel in the 30 meter (100’) visibility.
Like all things amazing unfortunately our cruise has to come to an end as the crew sang Isa lei to our departing friends…….vinaka vakalevu and moce mada.