Joseph Tepper wide angle workshop on board the Fiji Siren Liveaboard

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Joseph Tepper wide angle workshop on board the Fiji Siren Liveaboard

Taking the plunge into The Amazing Maze late on the first afternoon aboard the S/Y Fiji Siren were five eager divers not wanting to miss any chance they could get to have a go at the Fijian underwater world. This cruise we have Joseph Tepper with us running one of his wide angled workshops for a couple of guests. He would be making multiple presentations throughout this 10 cruise, the first being with Michael on the long journey from Vatu-I-Ra to the island of Gau.

TEPPER 3Upon waking up it was soon seen that the diving conditions were perfect. We had a quick briefing of the site then had everyone get straight into the blue waters of the Nigali Passage for the first dive. Here we finally had some baby grey sharks swimming around with many a mother still expecting. It’s a great sight to see that the sharks are breeding so well down here. For the second dive we would be adding a little bit of fun into the mix with a small bucket of fish to bring entice the sharks a little closer. And closer they did come. From entering the water we had 20 hanging around below us and as we travelled through the passage many more turned up to see what all the fuss was about. There were so many Red Snapper we almost had to part them to swim down. Once at the bleachers we deployed the bucket and sat back to watch. After 2o minutes we decided to move the bucket a little deeper to get a wider field of view and then to eventually “pop” the lid. This sent all fish into a craze and the small amount of fish we had disappeared in a blink of an eye. This is the dive we come all the way down here for. As we had two dives very close together it was time to let the divers have a bit of a mid-morning nap.

manta5 GermanChOur next dive was to be Anthias Avenue where Bruce managed to spy a manta Ray flying passed and the skipper of the tender caught a glimpse at two on the surface. We had a free swimming eels and even a fairly larger long nose hawke fish. After this dive we picked up anchor and shot on through to Taveuni. This was a long and bumpy ride but we all made it intact and ready to get into annies bommies first thing. This was the first taste of the Rainbow reef and we would be exploring here for 3 days. Next up was the magnificent site of The Great White Wall. This is undoubtedly one of the best sites to dive around this area. In total we spent three whole days in the Somosomo strait diving the rainbow reef. Late one afternoon we even decided to go ashore to walk up the slight hill to look at the International Date Line and jump between the two dates, today and yesterday.

fiji18For the last day in Taveuni we dived the outer wall of the strait multiple times, finishing with one last drop in on the great white wall. We found a nice small juvenile rock mover wrasse darting around the top of the reef. Through the bumpy seas we sailed and arrived early morning to the sights of Namena Marine Reserve. We had also planned for three days diving here to make the most of it. We had our first taste at the park at the site of The Arch’s, dropping in on the corner of the reef and drifting over and through the arch itself. Upon entry we had four grey reef sharks and a few dogtooth tuna in the blue. Moving down the reef we even stumbled over a school of big eye trevally.

For our next dive we headed over to the southern side of Namena where we checked out Chimneys and all its wonders. We found a new Leaf fish on this dive which is always good for a photo or two, and one of the best pats is coming up the last bommie to see a whole reef covered in anemone’s and may different types of anemone fish. Being we had some strong winds coming through we ventured towards land for the night and the night dive. But first Joe and I got the kayaks out for the second time to go explore the shallow coral and get a few half/half shots of the kayak. He could have used a much better model than me but thankfully being such a good photographer helps. As predicted the wind came up overnight so we only went out to the south as this was a much closer trek in the dingies. We dived in on Black Forest first up where we had the huge sea fans and many small fish finishing up on the second bommie where we had the blue ribbon eel sitting outside his home .

fiji2At this point the weather had unfortunately come down so we moved to start diving close to the island. We then proceeded to dive every single spot we had around the island of Namena for the next day’s diving. Thankfully these are still good enough spots. We managed to find a little blue spotted sting ray and many small fish. As it must do we sadly came to the last days of diving and thus E-6 was on the agenda. We had a late night crossing to make it in time and had our fist dive at a gentleman’s hour of 08:30am. After swimming around with a couple of white tips and snapping shots of the structure we dropped the mooring and moved down to Mt Mutiny where our very last dive would be taking place. This was a great move as we had 4 hawkesbill turtles swimming alongside the wall and the view of the Rainbow soft corals the cover the area. I don’t think we could of asked for a better way to finish off the weeks diving than what we had.

Vinaka to all the guest on board and to Joseph Tepper who taught us all some important things about wide angle photography. And of course the term I coined the “up-shot”. Vinaka Vake Levu !!

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