Reef Sharks Up Close…..
Reef Sharks Up Close…
Although arriving a bit late from Beqa Lagoon, our second all American group of 14 divers from Enfield Scuba boarded the Fiji Siren. Jon and Simon made a tour of the boat, gave a few thorough briefings and got everyone checked into their cabins within about 45 minutes! Gear set up complete, there was just time for the emergency safety drill prior to dinner, with the group settled and getting to know the crew for a bit, before getting a good night’s rest prior to departing for our first diving day in the Blight Waters at Vatu-I-Ra.
The divers loved the variety of hard and soft corals, pelagics sharks, barracuda , Spanish Mackerel, and colorful small reef fish at Mellow Yellow, Black Magic Mountain and Instant Replay. Then after a nice rest in a sheltered bay overnight, the crew was awake bright and early for the quick trip to the Namena Marine Reserve. Although the wind was up, the divers absolutely loved the diving for the 1 ½ days we were in the reserve. Soft corals abounding, small reef fish, nudis and shrimps, our ever favorite pygmy seahorses, sharks, barracuda and trevally – the diving had something for everyone.
Our late afternoon arrival to Makogai welcomed us with sun and a calm bay for anchorage. The kids of the village continue to impress our guests with the dancing, smiling faces, and overall ‘Bula Spirit’ that Fiji is famous for. The adults in the village always are admired and respected by our guests – with the tour around the village being so informative, and as one guests said – “The best village tour in all of Fiji”. The following day we were able to dive a full day at Wakaya Island where the Hammerheads made and appearance for the first two dives, and a Manta showed up just for a photo opportunity. The corals at Wakaya always amaze with a mixture of hard and soft corals and the night dive at Lions Den was a favorite. After the night dive in Wakaya the Siren headed south for our scheduled meeting with the Sharks of Gau.
The crew was loving this group of divers as all they could do was say how good the each and every dive was. Laura – who has done many shark dives said that is the closest she’s been to the grey reef sharks – and there were plenty in attendance at Nigali Passage. The rest of the Pelagics were also schooling – the barracuda, and trevally were out in huge numbers. Just after our shark encounter on the second dive I showed some of the group my skills in ‘fish calling’ and called the Trevally over for a more proximal photo opportunity. After diving the outer wall at Nigali (more comments on how awesome the diving is in Fiji from the group) and the night dive at Jim’s Alley at the north passage (more comments – best night dive ever!), we had a great dinner of roast pork, lamb and Noi cooked up a traditional Thai Chicken Dish which was devoured by the passengers and staff alike.
After a few weeks of light to heavy winds – our overnight passage from Gau back up to the Bligh Waters was as smooth as it gets in the sea. Glassy calm conditions, with a wake up at E- 6 providing the guests with dolphin and pilot whale photo opportunities, as well as sunrise shots over the glassy calm Bligh Waters. It shaped up to be a phenomenal final day of diving for this awesome group. Diving done, gear rinsed and drying, everyone began packing and relaxing on the lazy sail back to Volivoli with the crew raising the sails for part of the journey, and getting the guests to cruise around the Fiji Siren in the dinghies for photos. Our final night bar-b-que was filled with laughter, fun, sharing of stories, and preparations to depart for travels back home. The crew really is going to miss the fun and easy group of guests. Moce mada to all, safe travels, and we’ll see you again next time! CHEERS!