DIVE LOG: November 14-20, 2015
Boat: Island Dancer II, Fiji
Water Temperature: 79 degrees
Viz: Generally quite good
Boarded boat after noon, welcomed with lunch and boat and dive orientation. Left Suva for Gau Island for diving Monday morning. The passage was rough but the boat and captain were up to the challenge. We reached a calm anchorage where we enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
Dives: Jim’s Alley, Nigali Passage, Shark Dive, (Gau Island)
The shark dive is one of the best we’ve seen anywhere. Sharks fighting for tuna heads right in your face! On the other dives of the day we spotted several other sharks, great puffer fish, tiny nudibranch, sea cucumbers, loads of beautiful reef fish and a swimming flat worm, all among beautiful soft coral.
Dives: Manta Rock, Wakaya Passage, Half Pipe (Wakaya Island)
Clouds of Anthias and anemone fish. Pipe fish, nudibranch, white tip sharks and blue tip coral were featured today. A scorpion leaf fish at the top of the bommie was a particular treat.
Dives: Grand Central Station, Chimneys, (Namena Island)
Today was school day! Schools of trigger fish, cornet fish, damsels, anthias and barracuda. Add to that pigmy seahorses, scorpion fish and several colorful nudibranch specimens, including a peacock nudibranch. All found by Joji, our intrepid divemaster. As always, beautiful soft coral above 40 feet.
Dives: North Wall, School House, Black Forest, Mushroom (Makogai Island)
All beautiful dives in the protected marine park. Current interfered with the dive on School House, but the rest were spectacular. Bird Wrasse, Nudibranches, gray reef sharks and eels paled in comparison to the beautiful garden of soft coral. Most notable: today we saw a manta (drum roll please!)
Dives: Becky’s Place, Dominoes, Rick’s Rock (Makoga Island)
Among the beautiful coral on large pinnacles we spotted everything from a large stingray to tiny blue cleaner shrimp. Black and white striped sea snakes, scorpion fish, tiny black and white damsels and the ever present clouds of anthias.
In the afternoon, after three dives, we visited a village on the nearby island. The island had been a leper colony before a cure for the disease was found and then it was returned to Fijians. They now run a giant clam nursery from which they are repopulating the reefs with giant clams. The village residents welcomed us with open arms and gave us a real view of life in Fiji today.
After a smooth passage back to Gau Island, we elected to make our one last dive a repeat of the shark dive. This time, knowing what to expect, we had the cameras ready. A close up view of the shark frenzy was an exciting way to end our trip. The excellent crew then broke down and cleaned our gear which dried on the deck during our passage back to Suva.
Overall, the trip was a wonderful experience. We are all seasoned travelers and divers and we agreed that this was one of the better trips we’ve had. The diving was great, the crew was friendly and helpful and, perhaps best of all, Peni is the best chef we’ve encountered any where.