Sharks Everywhere in the Soft coral Capital
Sharks Everywhere in the Soft coral Capital
As we got set for another 10-night adventure board the Fiji Siren we welcomed Nick Darling, owner of Volivoli Beach Resort and his friends aboard, along with repeat guest Colin Gans – and his go-pro mounted quad helicopter – and Glen & Louise who joined us from Australia. After a check out dive that evening at Amazing Maze we cruised out to our first site Nasi Yalo Dina – an old hospital ship that sunk some 15 years ago in the Bligh Water. It was a good start to our first full day of diving, following up with Cat’s Meow and Human Nature. All the guests passed on the sunset dive so we pulled anchor to steam south overnight towards Gau and our weekly meeting with the grey reef sharks. It was a beautiful night passage with near glassy calm seas, and we awoke at Gau to begin our diving day at 6am. After diving with the grey and white tip reef sharks at Nigali Passage, the guests all wanted to stay for a second day, which we of course did for them!
One new adventure on this cruise was that we decided to overnight just inside the lagoon near Nigali passage which allowed us to explore the outside wall where we found pristine hard corals. Very impressive with a sloping descent from 5m down to as far as the eye could see (and farther than SCUBA would allow). So we did this for our fourth dive on our first day at Gau, and our first dive on the second day at Gau. Nigali and the sharks continue to impress and with the added attraction of the super variety of healthy hard corals this is becoming one memorable and talked about dive location! After our fourth encounter with the sharks, we lifted anchor and headed Northeast to visit Tavenui – Fiji’s Garden Island and the world famous Rainbow Reef!!!!
The weather was perfect and the seas flat calm for the overnight transit, whilst the two full days of diving in Taveuni turned out to be picture perfect. The Great White Wall was an instant ‘hit’ for the divers and of course requests to dive it again the next day poured in; we’re always happy to oblige. The next days were filled with plenty of soft corals to amuse our photographers – Colin, Glen and Louise – as well as a couple of ripping current dives, some relaxing ‘let’s hide behind the reef from the current’ dives and tons of aquatic life for all. Taveuni is a real delight. We also took the opportunity to venture ashore, stretch our legs on the sandy beach and visit the Bouma Falls National Heritage Park and the famous Tavoro Waterfalls. Colin was able to get some EXCELLENT video of the falls and the guests relaxing in its cool water, whilst others took advantage of the proximity of Civa (the Fijian word for Pearl) Farm Tour and visited that after the waterfall aswell. All too soon it was time to depart and head west overnight to Savusavu Harbour.
The resounding vote was to head straight to Namena Marine Reserve and we arrived by 11am to glass like conditions on the water and what better way to start the day than with a dive at North Save A Tack Passage? Sightings of two Oceanic Silver Tip Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks and White Tip Reefs sharks on the first dive, throw in a Great Hammerhead on dive number 2 at Grand Central Station and you;ve get everything to make a group of divers really happy. We couldn’t have asked for a better and everyone aboard was eagerly anticipating the two up and coming dives at South Save A Tack Passage. Next morning we returned to North Save A Tack in the hope of encountering the sharks again. Well the shark gods must have been smiling on us as the second group in the water sighted 2 Hammerhead Sharks and an Oceanic Silver Tip! The Trevally were also in attendance with huge schools for everyone to see. At the second dive of the morning at Coral Garden, MANY different varieties of fish, including Blubber lips, trevally, barracuda and bannerfish, were schooling and more Grey, White Tip and Oceanic Silvertips were spotted. In the afternoon the guests requested an exploratory dive on the southwest side of the Namena Barrier Reef and just as Nick was towing Nigel, Mike and I behind the dinghy to get a closer look at the reef a large school of barracuda came up from the deep to check us out! The fish must have thought the 3 of us were bait! Funny stories about this were shared back on board the Siren.
The new site turned out to be a stunning dive for all on board. Although Fiji is known to be the Soft Coral Capital of the world, this dive was a display of countless untouched hard corals, with Nurse Sharks, Eagle Rays and thousands of reef fish to be seen. All the guests were satisfied after the 3rd dive and once again everyone passed on the night dive in favour of a few beers, delicious dinner, excellent conversation and stories of the past 9 days we had spent together.
Through the night we began our journey back north for our final diving day at E-6 in the Bligh Water. Our guests love this dive site, as well as many people from around the world as it was just voted in one of the diving magazines to be the 17th best dive in the world!!!! Even better after this dive we had the pleasure of playing with some Pilot Whales and Dolphins from the dinghy!!!! We made a lazy slow trip back towards Viti Levu as the crew took care of the Siren and the guest’s gear. The final evening / farewell Bar-B-Que was enjoyed by everyone, as new friends have been made and promises from many to return to the Fiji Siren to dive and enjoy their time with the crew in the future!!!! Safe Travels and a Moce Mada to all – we’ll see you again soon!!!