Delightful Dives in Fiji
Delightful dives in Fiji…
For this trip aboard the Fiji Siren welcomed divers from Brazil, the U.S., Australia, U.K., Latvia, Switzerland and Russia for our 7 night adventure ‘Beyond the Bligh’. Briefings and settling in ensued as we made ready for the dives to come the following day. Some mechanical issues with the anchor winch created a set back the next morning, but due to quick thinking on my part, we teamed up with RA divers and were able to send our guests out to the Vatu-I-Ra Passage for their first 2 dives, whilst engineers Clinton, Ben, Sam and our Skipper Julian, cured our anchor woes and after a third day dive we set a course NNW towards The Nadi Passage on the southern coast of Vanua Levu for an overnight rest before heading to Namena Marine Reserve early the next morning.
After our first dive all the divers came back talking about the ‘astonishing’ colors of the soft corals at Black Forest. The rest of the day moved along smoothly with dives 2, 3, and 4 providing sightings of sharks, marble rays mating, schooling pelagics and of course more of the soft corals. Spending the night in the Reserve at Namena allowed us 2 morning dives at South Save A Tack Passage before heading south to Makogai to visit the Village Station to participate in the traditional Sevusevu ceremony and to watch the Island Kids perform in the Traditional Meke (Fijian Dance) in their brilliantly pressed and preserved costumes. As usual the chosen ‘chief’ from our group – who happened to be Mikhail this time around – was addressed as ‘chief’ for the rest of the night by the crew on board the Fiji Siren.
In the morning as we lifted anchor it was evident that the swell and waves were calming down with a drop in the winds we had experience for the past few days. Throughout the day the sea grew more and more calm and the diving at Wakaya Island was great for the divers. The hot ‘spot’ of the day was a frog fish at Wakaya Passage during the afternoon dive. 4 divers, Stuart, Mel, Brent and Dave opted to join Ju for the night dive at Lions Den as everyone else relaxed on board with a beer, a book, or a massage from Noi. Dinner was served in our outdoor dining area as I gave a mini pre-briefing about the diving and sharks at Gau Island scheduled for the next morning.
A 2am departure for Gau allowed us an on time arrival to drop in for the first dive of the day at Nigali Passage. Current was light and along with the grey reef sharks, everyone was treated to visiting manta rays both while we were watching the sharks and afterwards as we were carried into the lagoon with the current. Everyone got to hang out with a manta ray at a cleaning station for about 15 minutes; plenty of great photos were taken and the divers exited in a great mood after the dive and also after the second dive at ‘Shark Alley’. It turned out to be a beautiful day at Gau with light trade winds and plenty of sunshine. An “A la Carte dinner” with snapper and steaks on the menu was planned, as we enjoyed fun conversations of the week gone by with new friends; relaxation was the order of the evening.
We departed Gau and headed back north at 10pm for our final diving destination in the Bligh Water – the famous site E-6 named by Jacques Cousteau. What an ending to the trip with our 4 Russian guests coming back to the boat after dive one talking about the schools of great barracuda, trevally and 3 hammerhead sharks to make the dive the best it could be!!!!! After the final dive our crew – by now all working in sync after 3 months on the Fiji Siren together – systematically and thoroughly broke down and cleaned all the divers gear before hoisting the sails for photo opportunities for the guests. Relaxation was the word of the day as we sailed back to Volivoli Resort near Rakiraki town to snuggle in for the final night bar-b-que. A group photo during the evening was taken and e-mail addresses shared as everyone was thinking about leaving the Siren and her crew (a bit sadly), but looking forward to getting back to family and friends back home. Cheers to everyone as we bid a heartfelt Moce Mada (farewell) and we hope to see you all back soon!!!!