Island Dancer II Captains Log Oct 31st –Nov 7th 2015
Water Temp-78f Visibility- 100+ ft
Ni sa Bula Vinaka from the Fiji Islands, we hope you’ll had a wonderful week as we did. Our departure from the port of Suva was slightly delayed as their were late arrivals. Nevertheless this didn’t dampen the spirits of our wonderful guests who were from different parts of the world. Our 8 hours cruise to the first nights anchorage was in fairly calm seas and cool light south easterly breeze.
Day 1-Makogai Island.
The first day was spent pinnacle diving around Makogai in crystal clear water, our check out dive was at Christine’s, a soft coral covered pinnacle teaming with different bright colored anthias, nudibrancs and leaf scorpion fish, the other dive sites included, Becky’s, Dominoes and Ricks Rock. The sky’s were overcast in the morning then cleared up a bit by lunch time guest got to photograph Lion Fish, White tip sharks, more nudibrancs, brilliant colored soft coral and different species of Fish on their first day. After the night dive we cruised further north to Namena Island.
Day 2-Namena Island.
We awoke to a cold windy morning in the Nemana Lagoon Marine Reserve. The first dive of the day is one of my favorite dive sites – North Save-a-Tack Passage. Dive Master Eddie dropped us off by Tender on the outer north wall, as we descended down into the abyss there were schools of horse eyed jacks, chevron barracudas, bright blue trigger fish and grey reef sharks cruising the wall and passage in search of breakfast. We were not on the menu so they didn’t mind us. Dive master Moses led us through the passage under the arch, past large sea fans and more schooling fish, we ended our dive at Kansas a beautiful pinnacle that rises up to 15 ft below the surface covered in brown soft coral, perfect for our safety stop. The next dives, “Chimneys” located on the southern side of the lagoon, at chimneys divers got to see a hammer head shark, garden eels and scorpion fish. We ended the day with a night dive at Mid patch, a site located in the middle of the lagoon with beautiful soft corals, little critters and a large resident hawks bill turtle.
Day 3- Namena Island.
The morning of day 3 saw us back at North Save-a-Tack passage taking advantage of the incoming tide, as usual there were large pelagic feeding in the morning current and the visibility was 100+ feet. Dives 2&3 were at Mushrooms and we ended the day with a dive at Black Forest. Known as the soft coral capital of the world our divers got to experience the dazzling colors that Fiji has to offer, brilliant corals, huge sea fans, eye catching clown fish and brightly pigmented nudibrancs.
Day 4- Wakaya Island.
Dive Sites at Wakaya were Manta Rock, Manta Wall, Wakaya Passage and Wakaya Wall. Sightings of 2 Great Hammer heads, Schooling Barracuda and white tip Sharks.
Day 5- Gau Island.
Woke up to a bright sunny morning at Jims Alley, Great visibility, clouds of schooling Fusiliers’ and bright colored Anthias feeding on the incoming tide above the 4 pinnacles. The Blood red Anemone was a hit with the divers. And then there were the Nidibrancs, lots of them mating……A comment from Guest Jess summed it up….”Feels like watching a nudibranc orgy” Our next dives were at Nigali Shark Passage, we drifted on the outgoing tide, visibility was around 50ft but that didn’t deter the sharks from cruising the passage checking out the divers. Hundreds of schooling Chevron Barracudas all facing into the current feeding, looking bizarre as they were all stationary in one spot. We waited for the tide to change direction before we got in for our next dive, the shark feed. As we descended Nigali Shark Passage, sharks were circling the divers as they anticipated late lunch was on it’s way. Leeroy junior our friendly grouper got his share of tuna fish head from D/M Moses as we drifted to the feeding spot. Once all the divers were settled in the foxhole(a natural cut in the side the reef at 65ft that accommodates 10 divers) the feeding began. . The feeding frenzy took 30 minutes with 20 grey reef sharks turning up to the delight of our guests, as soon as all the tuna heads was eaten we drift down the passage on the incoming current back to the Island Dancer. Next up was the highlight of the trip which was the Village visit. Our Guests got to experience the Fijian culture first hand at Nawaikama Village. They witnessed dinner being cooked in the earth oven(lovo), traditional kava drinking ceremony and island songs and dancers.
Day 6- Gau Island- Suva.
The final 2 divers at the request of the divers was at Nigali Shark Passage, then we made our way back to the Port of Suva.
Till next week, Safe diving,
Captain Ned Hill.