Great Dives, Great Group!
Great Dives, Great Group!
Fiji Siren is happy to welcome aboard another another great fun-loving group including 6-repeat Siren guests plus Nicole who was doing her Open Water Course and we were also delighted to host Christine and Ron from New Zealand’s premier dive travel wholesaler, Dive Fish Snow Holidays, onboard to ‘check us out’ – so let’s hope they have a great time and send plenty of their kinfolks our way in the very near future. Immediately after heaving anchor we eagerly headed the short distance to our initial dive of the cruise at Amazing Maz.
Just before sunrise we set-off to Vatu I Ra to spend the day diving in the world’s soft coral capital at Black Magic Mountain, Mellow Yellow and Instant Replay. During dinner we were honored to present our repeat Siren guests with their FREE Fiji Siren souvenir T-shirts which I’m sure they will wear proudly like a badge of honor.
As our guests started to rise and make their way topside to begin a new day they were greeted by the morning sun peeking over Makogai Island just a few meters off our starboard side as we readied ourselves for dives at the colorful Dominoes, Half Pipe and Ratu Ridge before weaving our way around a few small palm tree fringed islands in readiness for tonight’s dive at Vatu Vasuwa.
Wakaya Island was our next stop, just a leisurely 2-hour morning cruise from Makogai with dives scheduled at Vatu Vai, Lion’s Den, Blue Ridge and Wakaya Wall. Some of today’s diving highlights included plenty of playful manta rays, some cool turtles, winged pipefish, white tipped reef sharks, a hammerhead shark, leaf fish and large schools of barracuda. It was then off to our most southern destination, the island of Gau some 4-hours away in readiness for tomorrows adventures.
Dawn broke over Gau as the crew busily prepared for the day ahead and our first dive at Jim’s Alley which saw everyone come back on-board grinning from ear-to-ear with amazing visibility and countless aquatic critters everywhere they looked. Fiji Siren then moved south to Nigali Passage and had 2-amazing drift dives with the grey reef sharks, eagle rays, napoleon wrasse, grouper and moray eels, schools of barracuda and giant trevally. We then set course for Taveuni which would be our playground for the following 2-days. Welcome to Taveuni! Rune from Denmark was a little more date savvy than most as today was his birthday and to start the celebrations off on the right foot, or right fin in this instance, we named him Ratu (Chief) Rune for the day. Throughout the day we dived a range of sites around the famous Rainbow Reef in the Somosomo Straight so let’s get a few first-hand quotes from our guests: ‘amazing’, ‘pretty’, ‘very pretty’, ‘so beautiful’, ‘fish everywhere’, ‘good, very good’, ‘incredible’, ‘plenty of fish, plenty of coral so that was good’ and ‘I want all my dives to be like that’.
Day two in Taveuni and our dive schedule included the world famous Great White Wall first-up which also coincidently coincided with Brigitte’s 500th dive and right on schedule, just like I ordered, we had a large pod of friendly pilot whales turn up to help her celebrate. Add this to the 30m (100’) visibility! This was followed by Annie’s Bommies, Jerry’s Jelly and Blue Ribbon before setting course for the magical Namena Marine Reserve which would be our home for the next 2-days.
Our time in Namena Marine Reserve started with a remarkable dive at the truly world class and incredibly colourful Chimneys, this was followed by a quick 30-minute trip around the north side of the island to dive Grand Central Station, The Arch and Kansas in 60 meter (200’) visibility where we were exposed to the full-monty from the huge guys like dog tooth tuna, sharks and Napoleon wrasse through to the middle of the pack with moray eels, octopus, barracuda and Spanish mackerel right down to the little fellas including pigmy seahorses, mantis shrimp and nudibranch. Later that evening as the sun dropped below the horizon it was time once again to fire-up out the torches for a night dive at Namena Pinnacle.
As this was our last day in the Namena Marine Reserve we pulled-out all stops and kicked it off with the first dive of the day at Fantasy which has quickly become a big hit with many of our guests. On our way we had an entourage of dolphins and flying fish to escort us. This dive had everything from grey reef sharks and dog tooth tuna to a couple of exotic pink leaf fish, giant clams and countless tropical fish of every colour imaginable in the 30 meter (100’) visibility. Next stop was School House which just turned it on with over 2-dozen hammerhead sharks, massive dog tooth tuna and large schools of trevally, barracuda and Spanish mackerel, grouper, turtles and moray eels. the 50 meter (170’) visibility only enhanced such an incredible site. During dinner and well into the night, just like clockwork, and of course without needing an invitation, the Fiji Siren House Band were back in full-flight pumping out a few fun tunes until our last guests slowly ventured below deck for a well-earned night’s sleep in readiness for the unique Bligh Water in the morning.
Our last day of diving was now upon us and as the crew safely secured Fiji Siren to E6, our first dive site of the day, the humpback whales breached and the sun slowly rose up from the Bligh Water. After E6 it was off to our final dive of the cruise at the beautifully colourful Mount Mutiny then lunch and a picturesque cruise back to where it all began some 10-days earlier for our final night BBQ and party which is always guaranteed to be lots of laughs with great stories and an opportune time to start planning the next adventure.
So in summing up some of the stand-out things we saw over the last 10-days – manta rays, hammerhead sharks, pilot whales, humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, moray and blue ribbon eels, pink leaf fish, pigmy seahorse, gigantic dog tooth tuna plus several days with 30m, 40m, 50m and even 60m visibility and let’s not forget some mind-blowing sunrises and sunsets. And of course a truly great group of people which we now call friends and hope to cross paths with again in the not too distant future.
Like all things amazing unfortunately the adventure has to come to an end as the crew sang Isa lei to our departing friends…….vinaka vaka levu until next time.