Scuba at The Fiji Islands, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by Karl S. on January 06, 2003 at 19:02:19:

Our group visited The Fiji Islands during late December to scuba dive there. Air temps were in the 90s during the days and in the 80s at night. Water temps were 81^F to 81^F this time of year. Vis was 50 ft to 100 ft in the water. Current ran anywhere from 1/4 kt some days to about 3 kts other days.

Saw reef sharks, sea snakes, moray eels, ribbon eels, triggerfish, wrasses, butterflyfish, parrotfish, hawkfish, rabbitfish in colours of blue, yellow, orange, black, and all sorts of mixtures of colours. The smaller fish were found everywhere in schools, while the larger fish tended to swim alone. There were often cleaning stations where smaller fish probed and cleaned the larger ones.

Hard corals of many colours formed the major structures of the reefs, with soft corals of white and bluish growing on many of them. The sites we dived included The Great White Wall, and the Little White Wall, The Ledge (pinnacle), and other sites along the Vanua Levu coast in the Somosomo Strait.

The technique of diving here is to tie the dive boat to a fixed buoy at the dive site, then for the divers to drop down a descent line to get under the current and behind the reef to the bottom. Currents varied from mild to strong while we were there, and most often required a fairly quick descent down the line to get under the current, and an ascent up the moored anchor line to do a safety stop amidst the current. It was important to stay with the dive guide or else it was possible to lose the boat and get washed down current, which happened a few times on our boat.

I wouldn't call this "easy" diving. Drift dives where the boat drifts with the divers is probably a whole lot easier, such as is done in Cozumel, rather than here, where the boats instead tie off to the reefs.

The airline flight was 11 hours going and 10 hours returning, in terms of actual air time. Flying from the main island of Viti Levu to the other islands takes another hour as well, plus layover between flights.

Our accomodations were on the island of Taveuni at The Garden Island Resort ( Noreen is in charge of the resort and Brandon is in charge of the diving shop. The resort rooms are air conditioned, although after a few days, you tend to become acclimatized and don't really need the a/c anymore. The food was great! The people there were kindly hosts.

I met divers there who go back every year for more. I feel like The Fiji Islands is a great place to visit and dive at least once in your lifetime.

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