It is our smallest but possibly most fun group so far on the Fiji Siren. The guests from Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Germany and China were picked up from the resort and delivered to us at 1pm local boat time! 😉 Getting checked in and delivering the safety and boat briefings were quick for this attentive group. A check dive was completed prior to dusk and everyone settled in for dinner and our first night on board. The first full day of diving brought with it the super colorful soft corals Fiji is famous for, as well as sharks, pelagics and the little nudis most divers love to find. We mixed it up at Vatu-I-Ra this trip and changed out a couple of our usual dive sites to explore the yet undived sites by the Siren – Cat’s Meow and Human Nature. The dives were stunning! Hard corals, soft corals, swim throughs, fish, fish and more fish. During dinner we steamed north to anchor just off the second mainland of Vanua Levu for the night.
As the sun was rising the following morning, we lifted anchor to head south to the Namena Marine Reserve. North and South Save a Tack passages impressed as always with the soft corals, sharks and schools of Barracuda, Jacks and Red Tooth Trigger Fish. After the two morning dives, our skipper made a wise call to head for shelter on the east side of Namena to duck out of some unseasonable North / Northwest winds. We finished the sunny day anchored off the east side of Namena, diving, relaxing, reading and some of the guests taking advantage of Noi’s excellent massage therapy! Dinner and wine before bed for most of the guests as everyone was looking forward to a second day diving the Marine Reserve at Namena. The second day at Namena provided Manta Rays, Mobula Rays, and PLENTY of Grey and White Tip Reef Sharks as well as all the schooling pelagic fish! In the afternoon after dive #3, we headed to Savusavu for a night dive at Golden Nuggets which turned into a phenomenal experience with a Ghost Pipe Fish taking the prize for the most talked about creature.
The following morning we were in search of the elusive Hammerheads at the dive site Dream House about 12nm east of Savusavu. With the assistance of some local knowledge, we dropped in at 8am to celebrate Olaf’s 40th birthday, and we were all treated to schooling Great Hammerheads, Grey Reef and White Tip Reef Sharks, and a singular sighting of a HUGE Oceanic Silver Tip! After a quick breakfast we dropped in for a second dive before steaming east / northeast up to Taveuni. The glassy calm seas and sunny day were perfect for the voyage as we made great time heading north at 8.5 knots, which allowed us to drop in at The Fish Factory on the world famous Rainbow Reef. The Siren crew took her to anchor in Waitatavi Bay (our home in the Somosomo Strait) while the divers enjoyed their 3rd dive of the day. In the evening we had a very nice a la carte dinner, followed by birthday cake and a bit of a late night party with loud music, dancing and cocktails in continued celebration of Olaf’s 40th birthday.
We kicked off the following day in the Somosomo Strait between Taveuni and Vanua Levu on the southern part of Rainbow Reef diving the Purple Wall and the Great White Wall. Following up in the afternoon at Rainbows End with a Hammerhead sighting at the surface (the dinghy followed the large shark around for 5 minutes before the divers dropped in) and finishing the dive day with a sunset / night dive at Red Rock Point just at the mouth of Waitativi Bay. The day was phenomenal with deep azure seas, light blue skies, plenty of sun and great diving! The next morning we repeated the dive at The Great White Wall and followed up at Annie’s Bommies – well known for its colorful soft corals displayed in a ‘rainbow’ of all colors. The fairly strong current was feeding the soft coral with the nutrients and with the sun high in the sky the colors were amazing. We anchored off the New Jetty on Taveuni so 7 of the guests along with 3 of the Siren Crew could visit Bouma Falls National Heritage Park, adding in a short stop at the International date line for photos. With the guests arriving back on board at just after 5pm we set our sights on Gau – anticipating a nice 10 to 11 hour overnight passage under the full moon, and on nearly glassy calm seas.
Waking at Nigali Passage in the morning the weather continued to be the same (sensational!!) and anticipation was running high for the dives with the Grey Reef Sharks we have come to expect at the passage. Not disappointed with 50 plus Grey Reef Sharks, a huge Zebra Shark and Manta Rays at the end of the dive. We headed north to anchor at the Northern Gau passage, and to dive Jim’s Alley and Anthias Avenue for the 3rd and 4th dives of the day. The consensus of the guests was to stay overnight at Gau, and dive Nigali Passage again the next day. We did the same dive sites and Nigali astonished the guests again. Overnight we headed north for our last diving day as we moored up at E-6 in the Bligh Water. The huge pinnacle in the middle of the sea with walls dropping to 1000 meters plus deep was a nice way to end the diving for all of the guests on board. After our dives we headed West for a leisurely afternoon of reading, relaxing, sun tanning, some cocktails and good conversation with everyone looking forward to the finale of the trip – the Fiji Siren Bar-B-Que. It was truly a great week, especially for the crew who enjoyed this smaller but very interactive and fun group. Moce mada and safe travels to all. We’ll see you again on the Fiji Siren!!!!!!!
Photos courtesy of guest diver Heather Sutton