My wonderful trip to the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” and I could not wait to explore the waters around idyllic tropical islands and resorts in the two weeks I was on the islands.
My venture started with a flight with British Airways departed from London Heathrow at 12:05 and arrived in Los Angeles at 15:20 local time. No delays and no issues, just a great service as usual and a smooth journey.
The transit time in Los Angeles was 7 hours and I was glad it was this long as the immigration and customs process there can be a bit longer than expected. This way I was able to get through the process without any stress or time pressure and enjoy a relaxing drink in the airport lounge before the next flight.
First Day of Diving
It was time to see what lied beneath the waters in Savusavu. My first dive took place at Leopard Wall, the site was full of exhilarating life as expected. The diving adventure began soon after I entered the water as I could see beautiful colours beneath me with great visibility. The reef soon turned into a beautiful wall covered with soft and hard coral, great colours and of course the usual reef suspects. There were lots and lots of anemone and clownfish, raccoon butterfly fish, blue lined surgeon fish, red bellied fusiliers and more.
For me the highlight here was the colourful carnation and toadstool corals found on the numerous swim throughs towards the end of the dive after exploring the wall. Absolutely amazing, one after another and it just kept getting better.
Second Day of Diving
Dive two took place in a secret location, known as one of the places to see hammerheads so as you can imagine we were all excited for this dive. We had a great dive but it wasn’t our day to encounter the special visitors, instead we were blessed with a school of barracuda and a school of white tip baby sharks.
Third Day of Diving
We went looking for some healthy reefs in the Savusavu area. We took off early on a sunny day and headed towards Mystery Reef. What a great dive site, the reef is completely covered in soft and hard corals. Blue Striped Snapper, Yellowbar Parrotfish, Oriental Sweetlips, Longfin Bannerfish and Striped Surgeon are common on each dive site here but the highlight on this site was a close encounter with a baby white tip shark and 3 Hawksbill Turtles. I also came across tons of nudibranchs and of course beautiful and colourful soft corals. It just kept getting better. The shallow reefs featured spectacular plate corals and coral pinnacles were topped with clouds of damsel fish and purple anthias.
Fourth Day Diving
What a great start it was in Taveuni. After a long transfer we arrived at the Qamea Resort and Spa and the resort setting was wonderful, beautiful white beach, great accommodation and host and above all great diving.
After checking in we all geared up for our first dive in Taveuni. This area is known for a great variety of soft corals and today the visited dive site called the Swelling Coconut lived up for that reputation big time. On the first dive we came across a great concentration of fan corals, almost on every rock, colourful soft corals adorning the reefs, nudibranchs and much more. The current was just perfect as the dive here can be massively affected by the tide.
On arrival back at the resort we decided to do a night dive on the house reef and this was a real treat. Five minutes into the dive we found a Fimbriated Moray Eel and the dive just got better from there. A short swim away we found a rock with more life than some of the dive sites I have visited in the past. There were around 7 different types of crab, banded cleaner shrimp, 2 moray eels, sleeping parrot fish and a massive and very old rock resident, a beautiful lionfish. The night dive ended with a very special encounter, a baby blue spotted ribbon tail ray swimming peacefully on a sandy slope.
Fifth Day Diving
We dived one of the most famous reefs in Taveuni, Rainbow Reef, a reef system with almost 20 different sites. As you descend to any of the dive sites you will see a great profusion of colour as several bommies adorned with a great array of soft corals in such colours as to be reminiscent of a rainbow.
The currents around the site bring a high concentration of little orange basslets that seem to hurtle all over the reef, dotted with crinoids and nudibranchs. The highlights on the first dive was encounters with a school of barracuda, a massive Napoleon wrasse, an enormous puffer fish and grey reef and white tip sharks. In the evening we decided to do a dive at the Paradise Taveuni House Reef and it was incredible. I was able to once again experience what this area is famous for, a great selection of colourful soft corals. In addition to that I saw two blue ribbon eels which made me really really happy.
Sixth Day Diving
On Sunday I managed to do an additional dive in the Yasawa Islands with Manta Ray Resort. This dive was not scheduled so it was a real treat. Manta Ray Resort has a vibrant coral reef and a marine reserve teeming with life on their footsteps.
The house reef is a housing ground to some inhabitants because of the variety of life and sunlight. Anemones and its clownfish frequent the beach with black clownfish dominating the reef. Titan Triggerfish are also very common here and I cannot forget a really exciting encounter with a blue spotted ray and a beautiful moray eel.
The trip on the ‘Yasawa Flier’ was magical. Across the blue ocean I was able to see a chain of islands with white sand and tropical palm trees stretching off in the distance. The perfect place for a honeymoon or a wedding.
Beqa Lagoon – The Ultimate Dive!
The main highlight on these dives was the Bull Sharks and how safe they were to dive with. This was my first shark dive and I felt as safe as a normal dive. It is reported that no other place in the world offers up to eight species of sharks and nearly 300 species of fish in just one dive but I can promise you will get to experience this in Fiji with Brandon Peige the founder and creator of the Shark Dive and his crew of shark experts.
Bull sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks and white tip sharks were the main feeders on the dive and within season you can also see tiger sharks. The season for the tiger sharks here is from April to December. Nevertheless, the shark dive in Beqa is guaranteed to offer you an adrenaline rush of a lifetime with great visibility and longer bottom time.
And then it was time to say goodbye to Fiji
After my adventure is was time to “Moce Fiji” and all the people I have met during my travels. As I waved goodbye to my new friends in Fiji and the rest of the “Dive Fiesta” participants I felt that I was leaving a part of me there and returning home with great memories, some of which I will never forget. We had an amazing time!
I was lucky to have visited and dived some of the best spots this destination has to offer including the large outer islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu and the famous Coral Coast on the south of Viti Levu. I was also able to dive in the Yasawas to the west of Viti Levu and the Namena Marine Park in the central waters with impeccable diving. What a diving trip? I will never forget my two weeks in Fiji and I thoroughly recommend this destination to anyone with the slight interest in diving, believe me, you will have the best time in Fiji if you select the type of diving that suits your experience level and personal interests.
Big thanks to the Fiji Tourism Board and the Fiji Hotel Association for organising this event and for supporting Ultimate Fiji Holidays.