Bright blue sky, little wind and exceptionally flat seas. This week was going to be a stellar week. For the first day of our cruise the tides decided it was best for us to stay on our mooring until the next morning then move out to the Vatu-I-Ra passage before sailing down to the Island of Gau.
For a start, we headed to Black Magic Mountain and Mellow Yellow, both being fantastic sites to start off our cruise and a good place to conduct a check out dive. We managed to find while out a few leaf scorpion fish, some wahoo and a couple of stray sharks. At Instant Replay, we experienced a bit of current driving us along at a healthy speed passing reef sharks, corals and the beautiful wall of golden yellow soft coral. After the ride all divers were ready for a spot of relaxing on the deck while we moved south to Gau and the Nigali Passage.
The first dive in the passage started wonderfully with little current slowly picking up bringing in the fresh clean water and making the corals all bloom. We had massive schools of barracuda extended almost the length of the channel. The second dive through the channel was a lot more action packed as upon entering the water we had about 10 grey reef sharks directly below the boat and our huge resident grouper. The visibility had gotten better to the point that on the surface from the boat we were pointing out sharks swimming through. There was close to thirty grey reef sharks with a mix staying well back on the opposite side of the wall and just as many coming nice and close getting us some spectacular shots. For the afternoon we got a real treat as during the dive to Jim’s Alley there was a total of seven, yes you read right, seven manta rays. From here there was a night dive to Anthias then a party on board with the band coming out to play a few songs.
Next up was Wakaya. WOOOOOOW. More was going on here than I ever thought was possible. One dive we had five manta rays, then a couple on another and finally hammerhead thrown into the mix. And as luck would have it upon reaching the surface we had a pod of Pilot whales to contend with. Naturally we took the opportunity to run over and see them. Amazingly as we approached they did not drop underwater. They came close enough to touch. While a couple of them zipped past underneath the boat drive-by style checking us out one decided to breach a mere metre from the dinghy trying to get a good view of us. It was truly spectacular. After that kind of day diving there was not much more to be done or to see. We touched onto almost everything that Fiji had to offer!
We did carry on our way North over dinner to finish up at Namena kicking things off with a dive into Chimneys. It was a beautiful dive and was a taster for the afternoon at North Save-A-Tack Passage. Grand Central lived up to its expectations. Not only did we have tuna and an eagle ray but along the wall there was schooling hammerhead. This cruise had left us speechless with the amount of huge life we have been getting. The colour of these sites and the creature around truly makes this country a spot not to miss as a diver. We spent two days diving Namena getting more hammerheads and humphead wrasse and plenty of schooling fish. For our last dive we had Mount Mutiny and the gorgeous soft coral wall and for the third time running we have had a silvertip shark racing past to see divers.
Thank you to all of the guests who were amazing to have with us. I hope we can see you again soon for another adventure through Manta City at Wakaya! Vinaka Vakelevu.