A truly great diving cruise in Fiji!
From pilot whales to dolphins jumping, this week the Fiji Siren had it all roaming out on the oceans. We started the week with dives out to Vatulaca Reef. After the standard shake down dive we dropped into Dream Maker. The top region of the site is covered in golden yellow soft corals and the deep end can have some strong currents making it a nice home for reef sharks and barracuda. During the dive there was a few sharks swimming about and a small school of barracuda but a real highlight was towards the end up amongst the yellow coral when three spotted eagle rays circled before swimming off into the deep. As the day followed we managed more sighting of reef sharks and small schooling fish along with abundances of soft coral all over the place.
For our second day we moved out to the Vatu-I-Ra Passage, where we had dives planned at Mellow Yellow, Black Magic Mountain and Instant Replay. As the afternoon drew to an end we moved on out to Wakaya Island and as luck would have it a friendly pod of bottlenose dolphins decided to join us around the bow for about 20min. At Wakaya, we had a bunch of the usual suspects such as leaf scorpion fish, lion fish and anemone shrimp. For our night dive, we dropped at Vatu Vai and hung underneath a ledge with our lights of hunting for flashlight fish. About four came out darting all over the place looking for snacks.
The next destination of the liveaboard dive trip in Fiji was Gau Island. We ended up spending two days around this island diving the Nigali Passage FOUR times with each time being just as great as the previous. The very first dive of the day through the passage we landed on the sea floor right beside a mating set of marble ray. There were six males and one very large female all in one big pile. After a couple of minutes and multitudes of photos they all swam away in one big beautiful formation. We had throughout the dives tahitian rays, black and white banded sea krait, schools of barracuda, schools of trevally, malabar grouper (Bill) with his tiny off sider Billy the golden trevally, tons of snapper, a huge patch of cabbage coral amongst all of the soft corals and of course, sharks. Plenty of sharks, most being the grey reef, a couple of white-tips and at the very last minute a hammerhead swam passed the cabbage coral in 5m of water.
In Namena, we visited all of our favourite sites. Over the three days we dived into the sites of Grand Central Station, Chimneys, Black Forest, Ned’s Nuts, Fiji Gold, School House, Nemo’s Playground, Kansas and the Arch. Some of these dives were spectacular having many fish all over them. Some of the currents were slightly strong being the full moon was in effect, which also played a little with the tides. We did still manage to see hammerheads, a ray, plenty of schooling trevally and barracuda, more brooding marble rays, grey reef sharks, silver tip sharks, white-tip sharks, leaf scorpion fish, nudibranch galore and millions of anthias on every reef we touched along with schools of fusilier. For our last day of diving, we decided to stop at E-6 and dive this over two dives with one dive being the wall like sides of the pinnacle and the other being the Cathedral. Through each of them we had multitudes of golden yellow soft coral, schooling barracuda, perfect holes to swim through inside the cathedral and as fortune would have it another five hammerhead sharks swimming in small circles on the very last dive of the cruise.
This was an amazing cruise filled with great people!. Truly a great cruise. Vinana Vake Levu