Big hit with hammers
Big hit with hammers!
All 15 guests were greeted aboard Fiji Siren for our 10 night Beyond the Bligh Adventure including Julie, Caroline, Deb, ‘O’, Shan, Kathy and Charley as returning customers from a Palau Siren trip in 2012 as well as Tom and Sue who arrived to us as newly-weds from their marriage just 2 earlier!
After getting settled into the cabins – listening to my welcome aboard, dive briefing, and boat briefing – 11 of the divers went out to the Amazing Maze for their check-out dive – while Charley and Julie went along just to have a snorkel. Prior to dinner the emergency safety/life jacket drill was completed so everyone could relax and enjoy the rest of their first night onboard the Fiji Siren. Weighing anchor at 4am we headed east, with many of the crew and passengers still snuggled in their beds, towards Vatu-I-Ra and the Bligh Waters.
Everyone awoke to the glassy calm seas and a beautiful sunrise. After 3 dives were completed in this beautiful soft coral area of Fiji’s diving waters, the Fiji Siren moved northwards at the advice of Skipper Julian for a calm overnight anchorage just off the south coast of Vanua Levu – Fiji’s second mainland.
The following morning we travelled to the Namena Marine Reserve for 1 ½ days of diving. As the sun was coming up, the seas had once again laid down to a near glassy calmness – a beautiful way to start the diving day. With our four dives complete for the day (splitting the dives between South, and North Save A Tack Passage) the group gathered on the dining deck to talk about the aquatic life and corals they had seen.
After a blustery, wet night the skies again cleared as we weighed anchor from our shelter near Namena Island and headed out to Nicks Knobs for the first of our three dives at the marine reserve. Deb came back from this newer dive site saying “best dive of the trip yet!” – A great endorsement for this still exploratory dive site. We finished the day at Kansas where the pygmy seahorses (hippocampus severnsi) were still around, grey reef sharks, fields of leather corals, pipe fish, fusiliers and so much more aquatic life was on display.
It was great to hear the divers say what an “awesome” day of diving they had experienced as we started cruising north to Savusavu Harbour for the night. Some moderate winds and a tropical shower accompanied dinner, though with a later than usual wake-up call for the morning allowed everyone to enjoy the conversation and wine.
With the safety of our guests in mind, and three tropical depressions lurking around Fiji we anchored overnight in the marina and as grey skies met us in the morning we moved near the Lighthouse at the harbor’s entrance to dive Golden Nuggets. After two great dives with scorpion leaf fish, pipe fish, moray eels, and tiger cowries we returned in to the main harbor at Savusavu, avoiding the high winds.
In the morning we arrived at Dreamhouse about 15 minutes prior to dive time and with the briefing completed the divers were geared up and ready to go face-to-face with the schooling hammerheads; everyone got a glimpse of at least one whilst some saw many more!
This also provided an opportunity for the first ever offered tour of Savusavu Town. As this city is Julian’s hometown he wanted to show the guests around personally, whilst some chose to rest in the salon with a viewing of ‘Jaws’ on the big screen, or to relax on the dining deck sipping afternoon cocktails.
The following morning with improved weather and two dives completed, we steamed south for the Namena Marine Reserve. Upon our arrival at we were greeted by a large oceanic manta feeding at the surface for a show that lasted about 20 minutes!
The skies continued to brighten and with any threat of a tropical cyclone passed, spirits remained high aboard ship– a great positive mindset was prevalent with all of our guests. The morning provided continued winds and had the crew guessing about dive site locations for the day. After dropping in at South Save A Tack Passage the typical Fijian weather returned with a vengeance – hot sun and calm seas!
With sightings of sharks, tuna, barracuda, rays, turtles, pipe fish and the pygmy seahorse, the guests couldn’t have been happier with the four dives prior to the sun dropping over the horizon.
Our last day of diving was at E-6 in Bligh Water and the talk began with our guests planning their return for another visit; everyone knew the trip was nearing its end.
As S/Y Fiji Siren enters its 6th month of operation it is apparent that the crew forms strong ties and bonds with all who sail with her, and it’s always difficult to say Moce Mada (or goodbye).
The only thing that makes it easier to say good bye is the thought of the guests returning to sail with us again in the future.