Mantastic week diving in Fiji!
It started with our first day of diving, which was in Namena out to the South Save-A-Tack region. The first dive we had schooling hump-head parrot fish and a rare sighting of a leopard shark sitting on the sand. This in itself made for a good dive but then we added a manta into the mix. It was only a pass by but that would set a precedent for the week. When the first dive was over and everyone was settled into being back in the water we moved to the North and Grand Central Station. This site blew everyone away. Visibility here was great and there were thousands of fish. Multiple schools of barracuda, trevally Redtooth trigger fish, Anthias. You name it we saw it. There was even about 8 man sized dog tooth tuna then we moved through the arch to see moray eels, sharks, mantis shrimp, pigmy seahorses and of course soft coral galore ending up at the window of dreams on Kansas. I don’t think we could have kicked off to a better start worth the way the diving was around Namena. We had planned for three days out here so we could get into Grand Central a couple of times.
The next day, we had Chimneys with the Pigmy pipehorse and leaf scorpion fish while the second group entered Black Forest only to have a manta decide it wanted to have its photo taken. We switched over after breakfast to let each group go through the sites and WOW and behold the first mantas had found a friend. There were now two of them playing around. From here we had School House for the afternoon where some goliath grouper were swimming the deep followed by a night dive out to Ned’s.
We were looking at a couple of site again. With Chimneys being the way it is we wanted to explore more of the site as it is big enough and we had sharks all over it, barracuda swimming around and then all of the extremely pretty corals blooming in the current. Today was the only day where we had no manta sighting at any of the sites. We finished up the day dives with dropping into Grand Central once again. This time the amount of sharks out on the wall had doubled but the schooling big eye trevally was still hanging around mixing with the surgeon fish and trigger fish. We, of course, drifted passed the pigmy sea horse by the archway finishing the dive down the back on-top of the leather coral field.
After three days in Namena it was time to head out and explore other parts of Fiji. The next stop was to be Wakaya a 6 hour boat ride south. Today was the day of days for Mantas with every dive having us see a manta aside from the night dive. The first dives to Vatu Vai and Lion’s Den had three…three mantas each! We switched over after a spot of breakfast and only had one doing a pass by but for dive three we had a manta cruising along with a shark and also a turtle gracing us with its presents. Next Stop Gau Island. The first dive we had through the Nigali Passage was one of the best dives I have done ever in Fiji. We started by dropping out in the deep ocean to drift into and eventually through the passage itself. Initially we had giant grouper swimming around along with a few grey sharks. As we moved further in the sharks just kept appearing. We then entered the area where the schools of big eye barracuda live which had a drift straight through them only to end up on the other side running into a wall of reef sharks. This was a photographer paradise. When we thought it couldn’t get any better I happened to get a glimpse out of the corner of my eye a manta. This guy was about 5m in width and swooped by so close I could see a reflection if myself in his eye ball. He didn’t stay ling but very lazily drifted passed and around us.
For the last day we were out into the Vatu-I-Ra region where we dived into E-6 and Mount Mutiny. Along with the magnificence of the rock structure at E-6 there was a silver tip shark roaming the deep and at Mount Mutiny there were two hammerhead sharks out in the distance.
This could not have been a better trip or with better people. Vinaka Vakelevu to All and I really hope to see you all again back here!