Seven Nights in Fiji

Seven Nights in Fiji

fiji-sirenThe guests are picked up at the resort at 2pm – Fiji Time – and arrive on the Fiji Siren just minutes later where the time is only 1pm!!!!! We’ve chosen to ignore daylight savings time on the boat. After briefings we had 12 of the 14 guests go out for the Check Out dive and to hear the emergency recall device, all went well and just before dinner we did the emergency life jacket drill so everyone was set for rest of the evening. The next morning Julian and our interim Skipper, Semesa, had the crew lift the anchor and head for Vatu-I-Ra for our first full day of diving. Light winds with plenty of sun prevailed and the divers were in the water by 7:30am. It ended up being an excellent diving day as Fiji and the Fijian waters finally started to deliver some of the stronger currents that bring the soft corals to life and the bigger fish into the dive sites. The visibility and fish life was better than ever and our night dive at Mellow Yellow was by far the best night dive we have done thus far on the Fiji Siren. So much to see – Flat Worms, Sharks, Scorpion Leaf Fish, Turtles, Schools of Fusiliers and Unicornfish.. the list is endless

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Hammerheads, coral spawning and Village visits

Hammerheads, coral spawning and Village visits

fiji villageWith the Fiji Siren preparing for its fourth voyage on the 26th of October, we boarded our 14 new guests at 2pm everyone was excited to be aboard as we headed out for our 7-night liveaboard safari in Fiji. We had the divers in the water at 4:30pm for their checkout dive just off the reefs of Volivoli Beach Resort at the dive site called the Amazing Maze, after which we completed the lifejacket / emergency drill and rounded off our first dinner and delicious dessert from chef Iwan.

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Windy weather in Fiji won’t dampen our spirits

Windy weather in Fiji won’t dampen our spirits!

Group-on-Fiji-SirenAs anticipated, anchor was up at 4am on the 19th of October as the crew and Fiji Siren set sail for Vatu-I-Ra. Weather reports for the week were looking less than favorable with 25 knot plus winds and scattered rain but despite the conditions we dived in for an exploratory dive at “Hide and Seek” (a newly named dive site) on Alacrity Reef which turned out to be a really good dive. Sharks, nudis and all the usual suspects, we then headed North to Yadua Island to spend the night and then to venture on to The Great Reef on the North Side of Vanua Levu for some exploratory dives during the week everyone had a sense of adventure and being able to name dive sites sounded fun to everyone. The adventurous group from Australia jumped in for a night dive right off the dive platform, and down the anchor chain as a reference. Much sand was found, along with some small critters and jellyfish. Dinner was served outside despite the windy conditions and everyone settled into the salon for conversation and after dinner cocktails.

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Hammerheads, mantas and enough corals to blow you away!

Hammerheads, mantas and enough corals to blow you away!

group-on-fiji-siren-liveaboardI met the guests at Volivoli Beach resort and escorted them to the Fiji Siren ready for its second voyage. Welcome onboard, boat briefings, overall dive briefings, cabin check-ins and dive gear was set up on the dive deck by 4pm. We did a late afternoon check out dive for 12 of the 14 guests onboard to get the buoyancy and weights sorted. Two guests from the U.S. were very tired after not much sleep and chasing down their luggage (one missing piece) so they choose to take a quick cat nap while the others were out diving. The guests returned from the dive just as the sun was setting and everyone rinsed off and cleaned themselves up for dinner. Not forgetting the Emergency Life Jacket Drill all the guests participated in this very successfully about 20 minutes prior to dinner time. Although a serious drill, many jokes and laughs were exchanged during the exercise. Everyone retired early – prior to 10pm – resting up for the anticipated diving in the Bligh Water area of the Fiji Islands that was scheduled for the following day.

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Maiden Voyage of the Fiji Siren Liveaboard

Maiden Voyage of the Fiji Siren Liveaboard

fiji-liveaboardsThe crew is awake early morning on the 26th of September making final preparations for the maiden voyage of the S/Y Fiji Siren. Everyone is excited, nervous, anxious, and pumped with adrenaline awaiting the arrival of our first guests. To help make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible, we’ve got Frank, Thomas, Iwan and Noi on board. The crew that spent some time in Komodo training are: Cruise Director – Jon, Captain – Julian, First Engineer – Clinton, and Second Engineer – Harry. Many of the other crew has worked on other Mega Yachts and Live-aboards which consist of: Chef – Laisa, Scuba Instructor – Ju, Divemaster / Guide – Matai, Host – Knox, Compressor / Deck / Dinghy Driver – Vincent, First Mate / Deck Hand – Dodo. Although the scheduled arrival time of the guests is 2pm, we had to make a small delay in embarkation due to last minute configuring of the taps for the Fiji Bitter Draght Beer system installed on the boat. As the guests arrive, they all agreed that the short delay was worth the wait. Getting the guests settled into their cabins, and after a short mid afternoon lunch, only 8 guests went out for a late afternoon check out dive, with Christian and Jenny doing a private dive with their rebreathers to ensure they were blowing no bubbles, and the systems would be ready for the next 9 days of diving. A wonderful evening dinner was had by all and the boat briefing was done by Thomas, followed by an emergency drill with life jackets and the muster prior to the guests retiring for the evening.

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Frank Goes to Fiji

fiji siren1Fiji Siren – The Journey Begins

YES YES YES the Fiji Siren has arrived! But the building of the boat and the sailing to Fiji didn’t happen overnight, in fact from the moment of laying down the keel until our arrival in Fiji took a little over 18 months. For the people that didn’t hear that much from me during this time, here’s my story about the traditional building of a Siren Fleet Liveaboard and the 4000nm journey from Indonesia to Fiji.

first cutOn the 4th of April 2012 the building of the Fiji Siren commenced with a traditional ceremony, then the head carpenter began to cut the huge piece of ironwood, 22.1m long x 35cm high x 35cm wide, entirely by hand. This first cut had to be non-stop to make sure the boat has good luck in it’s liveaboard life. With this 20 minute sweaty event successfully completed the building could begin. Thousands upon thousands of working hours would follow, we would use over 15000 hot dip galvanized bolts along with hundreds of kilos of nails and of course plenty of wood! The whole was skillfully put together by the best traditional Bugis craftsmen and the boat was ready for launching.

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