Log Date: Saturday, Sep 05, 2015
Entry By: Fiji Crew
Island Dancer II Captains Log
Sept 5th to 11th 2015.
Captain-Ned, Engineer-Vince, Ops Manager-Steve, Mate-Joji, Chef-Peni, Steward-Eddie
Guests- Wiili and Karin, Theo and Steph.
Visibility-100ft Water Temperature -23-25 degrees Celsius/73-75 ferinheight
Our four lucky guests arrived early on Saturday so we were able to depart at noon for our first nights anchorage. In route we were treated to Chef Peni’s three course dinner of Caesar salad, Roasted chicken with baked potato/veggies and banana split for desert.
Day 1- Makogai Island
We had an easy first day at Macro Makogai Island where our check out dive at Christine’s had 4 free swimming lion fish, variety of clown fish darting in and out of there anemone home, leaf scorpion fish and brilliant colored soft coral, the bright sun and glass like seas made our first dive relaxing and enjoyable. We moved to different dive sites during the course of the day: Half Pipe, Becky’s and Ricks Rock where divers amongst us saw 2 pigmy seahorses on a sea fan during the night dive.
Day 2 and 3 Namena Island
We made an early morning departure for Namena Island due to the weather turning bringing with it rain, strong winds and rough seas. Never the less that did not dampen our spirits as we dove Namena marine reserve starting off at South save-a-tack passage located on the southern end of the lagoon, divers were taken on a short dinghy ride to the outer passage and descended the reef wall swimming through the cathedral, a large swim through with rock formation depicting an alter with sun light streaming in from crack in the reef above, the divers then drifted through the passage past vibrant colored soft coral hanging off the steep wall with crinoides and encrusting sponges. On the sandy bottom several white tip sharks were sleeping with a school of chevron barracuda feeding in the current. After a much needed breakfast chimneys was next, the site consists of 2 pinnacles covered in lush soft and hard coral with a variety of clown fish, large gorgonian sea fans with clouds of bright colored anthias hovering the top of the pinnacles. Our divers were treated to a rear sighting of two male hump back whales cruising past them heading out of the lagoon into the blue. We headed to the northern end of the reserve during lunch for our afternoon dives at Kansas and North save-a-tack passage. We descended the north reef wall drifting with the current towards the passage, we were accompanied by blue trigger fish, schools of horse eyed jacks and grey reef sharks. The night dive was at Dusk reef where two hawks bill turtles took center stage together with a flabellina and 2 pleurobranch. Day 3 started with dives at mushrooms then north wall with the afternoon and night dives at School house. The namena marine reserve has so much to offer that divers could spend a week diving and exploring the lagoon and reefs surrounding the reserve.
Day 4 Wakaya Island
A 4-hour crossing brought us to Wakaya, a privately owned island where we dove Manta wall, wakaya wall, wakaya passage and manta rock. A mild current pushed the divers along the wall past grey reef sharks, turtles, and beautiful hard and soft coral. On the sandy bottom of the passage a juvenile ribbon eel with half of its skinny body sticking out of the sand was quite difficult to notice with the untrained eye, however the pair of winged pipe fish at the base of manta rock was the talk of the day.
Gau Island, famous for shark diving and friendly villages brought us to the culmination of our trip this week. The highlights were the dives at Nigali shark Alley where we drifted through the passage with 20+ grey reef sharks, groupers, red snappers, barracudas, jacks and millions of other marine creatures that inhabit this passage sanctuary. The village visit is always a hit for our guests where they got to meet the locals and see first-hand how the islanders live their daily lives. Our guests joined in the traditional song and dancers and experienced the kava drinking ceremony. Our cruise back to the port of Suva was relaxing in moderate sea conditions being guided part of the way by bottle nose dolphins and pilot whales.