Back on board in Fiji…
Back on board in Fiji…
We welcomed back 12 Siren Fleet repeat guests, including Peter & Deb who were on the first trip here with us in Fiji, as well as 3 new faces. As always our first day had our excited guests trying to take everything in, as wide-eyed they looked and gasped in awe at the magnificent finish of Fiji Siren. The afternoon and evening consisted of setting-up cameras, making adjustments to dive equipment, meeting new friends and sharing stories over a few drinks as our liveaboard home cruised over flat seas to Gau Island. We awoke to some uncharacteristic grey skies and choppy conditions but not to be put-off our keen adventurers were up early and discussing the day ahead around the coffee machine as it hectically ground the fresh beans to kick-start everybody’s day. Before long we jumped in for the first dives of the cruise at Anthias Avenue and Jims Alley, followed by two great dives at Nigali Passage with the sharks and as a bonus we were also visited by some graceful manta rays. Our diving day was completed with a night dive at Waikama Point before settling down to dinner and some tasty French cuisine.
The weather had improved today so we split into two groups and did a gentle dive on the outside and inside of Nigali Wall. Manta and eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks and large schools of pelagic fish right down to butterfly and anemone fish and tiny nudibranch were in-store for us, a proverbial photographer’s smorgasbord. After our ‘second’ breakfast of the day it was back to Nigali Passage for a leisurely drift before feasting on another big lunch then back into the passage for some sensational shark action with well over 30-sharks, eagle rays, countless barracuda, red snapper, giant trevally and of course our ever present and friendly resident groupers weighing in at around 70kg (155lbs). To round it all off we were even visited by inquisitive banded sea snakes during our safety stop. Tonight’s dive was at the always popular Jims Alley. Once we were all back on-board and showered it was time to sit down and feast at our Indian themed night. Big congratulations to Robin for successfully completing her nitrox certification! Day 4 and we set off early for a 4-hour cruise to the picturesque and exclusive Wakaya Island to dive Vatu Vai (Manta Rock) and Lion’s Den and after lunch did a gentle wall dive at Blue Ridge. It was then time to head towards Mokagai Island for dinner and we took the opportunity with some sensational weather to hoist the sails and give everyone a great photo opportunity, it must have been impressive as a friendly pod of dolphins dropped on by to say bula. Our dinner theme tonight was Chinese cuisine and shortly after dessert we enjoyed a few drinks as we cruised to the Namena Marine Reserve.
After another nice calm night we set-out to explore the area known as North Save-A-Tack and dived at some of my favorite sites; Grand Central Station, The Arch and Kansas. It seemed like almost everything was on offer including large Napoleon wrasse, whitetip and grey reef sharks right down to the miniscule pygmy seahorses, garden eels and the highly camouflaged and delicate ornate ghost pipefish. Guest Mike Scotland, 31-year veteran underwater dive journalist and photographer said ‘that was world class diving at its best’. After lunch we moved Fiji Siren around to the other side of Namena Island to South Save-A-Tack and enjoyed afternoon dives at Black Forest and Ned’s Nuts with the trophy find being our local blue ribbon eels. Our diving day was concluded with a dusk dive at Chimneys where we worked up a hunger just in time for our Italian themed night for dinner including the always popular tiramisu for desert.
Day 6 and we started off with an exploration dive at a brand new site called Fantasy and I have to say it was one of the most vibrant, richest and healthiest ecosystems I have ever seen and by the guests’ responses looks like it will be added to our regular schedule, it was that good we immediately amended our plan for the day and stayed for a second dive. After lunch we headed back over to South Save-A-Tack for a couple of dives at Ned’s Nuts and Black Forest, swapping the groups from yesterday’s dives at these sites. As the sun-set on the horizon off Fiji Siren’s stern, Namena Beach was our selected location for tonight’s dive – ‘wow that was the best night dive I have ever done, and I’ve done lots!’ said Debbie. After our Thai themed dinner we pulled anchor and set-course towards the beautiful island of Taveuni in readiness to continue our amazing Fijian adventure.
Day 7 and we woke to glassy calm waters sitting off Taveuni anchored alongside the legendary Rainbow Reef in readiness for our morning dives at the aptly named Fish Factory, with the well camouflaged scorpion leaf fish. After lunch we all dropped-in at Jerry’s Jelly and split into two groups with one finishing at Blue Ribbon Eel and the other at Sam’s Point. The list of what we saw would be endless but included turtles, whitetip reef sharks, massive Napoleon wrasse, the most amazing bright pink anemone, white mouthed moray eels, schools of barracuda and trevally as well as beautiful hard and soft coral. Later in the evening we got in another night dive at Red Rock Point.
Congratulations to our great friends Debbie and Peter on their 14th wedding anniversary – we are honored they chose to celebrate this special day with us. And speaking of celebrations Charlotte came all the way from Denmark to enjoy her birthday on Fiji Siren………and why wouldn’t you? With all these milestones going on we decided to cook-up a massive seafood dinner and of course no celebration on Fiji Siren ever goes without a special cake, two cakes in fact, and a night of entertainment and singing by the Fiji Siren house band, washed down witrh a few bowls of our traditional drink, kava! Peter said ‘this is my best anniversary ever’.
Day 8 and as dawn broke over Taveuni you could tell that something special was in-store for us today. We started at the Great White Wall which looks like we are in the snow fields followed by Mini White Wall and then in the afternoon several guests opted to take the opportunity to do a land-based tour and visit the picturesque Bouma Falls and International Date Line whilst the rest got wet again at Jerry’s Jelly. Today’s night dive was Mini Cabbage Patch and with the smiles on everyone’s faces it was a big hit. And if we hadn’t celebrated enough, today was Keith’s birthday which meant after our traditional Fijian night we had more freshly baked cake, more singing and more fun. Next stop Savusavu.
Day 9 and we woke at Savusavu with bumpy surface conditions and tried for some hammerhead shark action at Dream House, unfortunately not much luck today, before heading to Namena Marine Reserve where we dived School House and The Arch followed by Chimneys and finished the diving day off with our final night dive of the cruise at Arau (lobster) Point. They didn’t think it was possible but dinner just keeps getting better and our mouthwatering carvery night certainly got everyone’s approval.
Day 10 and our final dives of the cruise were at the much written about and photographed E6 and it’s amazing ‘cathedral’ and finally Mount Mutiny- arguably one of the most colourful reefs you will see anywhere, and to top it all off we even saw a hammerhead shark. For our last night we nestled into a lovely little bay just off the island of Nananu I Ra and enjoyed our world class BBQ night and some amazing cruise photos from our guests on the rear-deck big screen followed by another fun night of entertainment by the Fiji Siren house band.
Day 11 and like all things amazing unfortunately it has to come to an end as the crew sang Isa lei to our departing friends…….vinaka vaka levu until next time.