Windy weather in Fiji won’t dampen our spirits
Windy weather in Fiji won’t dampen our spirits!
As 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.
The morning of 20 October all the divers were in the water by 7:20am for some exploratory diving on the small Island of Yadua. We managed 4 dives for the day, with many of the group saying the dives were really good, with sharks, octopus, nudis and some very pristine hard coral formations. Dinner was served, and Vincent – our 3rd Engineer and compressor man – appeared from below decks with guitar in hand to entertain the guests. Some of the songs turned into sing alongs and some good fun and hearty laughter was had by all during Vincent’s rendition of the ‘Penis Song’. It seems to be a guest favorite! Our 1st Mate Richard took over with the singing for a few tunes with many of the other crew joining in to harmonize. After the show was over some of the guests relocated to the Salon to watch some movies before going to bed for the evening.
We made the decision to just head to the bay to the South which has a small Island in the middle of it for some continued exploratory diving in a new area. With news coming in last evening that some of the other liveaboards in Fiji being stuck just off the mainland of Viti Levu, and one not yet even having left the harbor, we felt lucky to be out in an untouched area and able to dive. By lunchtime and after two really nice dives in a different bay on the Island of Yadua, the wind let up, and the seas are looking better so off we headed to northern Namena Barrier Reef ; the afternoon sailing was very calm, and the guests relaxed for the 6 hour trip. In the evening the boys (Vincent and Richie) got out the guitars, and Harry mixed up the Kava for the guests. Many more sing-a-longs tonite and almost everyone was on the dining deck until way after 10pm talking, having a few beers, singing and taking photos of the crew.
We lifted anchor at 5:30am and headed Southeast towards the Namena Barrier Reef and the island of Namena. Overall the journey was not too rough and the guests were woken up at 7:30am for breakfast prior to our first dive in the Namena Marine Reserve. The first two dives on South Save A Tack passage had the guests experiencing the real Fiji Soft Corals and everyone was excited. Our 3rd dive of the day at North Save A Tack was excellent with shark sightings and many schooling fish (Barracuda, Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna) so it was a good diving day. With our delayed entry on the first dive of the day, we decided to have a nice dinner, and kick it off tomorrow morning at 6:30am and try to get in 5 dives for the day.
Many of the divers were awake prior to me waking them up at the scheduled 5:30am time. Excitement was high as people were anticipating the sharks at Grand Central at North Save A Tack passage. After the dive everyone was back to the boat for a light breakfast before hopping back in for our last dive at North Save a Tack passage to try to get another glimpse of the sharks and schooling pelagics. As the Fiji Siren chefs served a big breakfast we lifted anchor to set sail back to South Save a Tack passage for the next 3 dives of the day. We managed to get a 3rd dive in before lunch and a sunset dive in at Urau (Lobster) Point. After the day’s exertion and excitement all the divers seemed a bit tired, but an excellent dinner was shared and when the dishes were finished the skipper lifted anchor and we started our journey back towards Volivoli.
The crew was busy at 5:30am mooring the boat up at High 8 in the Bligh Waters preparing the boat and dive platform for the final 2 dives of the trip; with everyone making the first dive of the day and after braving the rough waters, we only had 4 drop in for the second dive. As usual – after the last dive, the crew was busy clearing the dive deck, breaking down gear, rinsing and drying everything out. The guests started packing and we arrived back into port at Volivoli at about 3:30pm in the afternoon of the 24th of October. Cocktails were consumed and everyone settled in for some conversation while waiting for the final night Bar-B-Que. Despite the poor weather guests and crew on the Fiji Siren had a great week and we wished everyone fair winds and following seas for their journey home. See you all again soon!!!! CHEERS!