Dive Travel : A piece of Paradise
A couple of years ago, Kate and I were living in Cairns. We explored the great Barrier Reef as much as we could, working on beautiful boat and meet extraordinary creatures. But in scuba diving, the extraordinary can become ordinary if you don’t go for a dive travel holiday. With this in mind, we started to look for jobs around the Pacific without any particular idea on the destination. A friend told us about that place in Fiji were he did its Divemaster…2 weeks later we were flying to Taveuni Fiji.
The Paradise Island, the perfect dive travel destination
If you ever find yourself in Fiji, you will certainly land in Viti Levu, the main island. From dozens of dive travel destinations that exist, I will suggest to head a little further out and take the little plane for Taveuni, the paradise Island. On-board of a small Cesna, which gave some cold sweat to Kate, you will admire the third island of Fiji. It looks like a giant tropical forest, where some different green indicates the coconut plantations. The locals call it the Garden Island as it is extremely fertile and offer abundant harvests to the population.
The resort we were hired to work at was isolated in the south of Taveuni. A good hour of four wheel driving is necessary to reach this beautiful place. Despite a night flight, a long stop in Suva and a bumpy ride, we could not resist to jump into our first local shore dive. I can guarantee you that it is one of the best shore dive you will ever do. Guided by the owner of the resort we discovered the 3 residents Leafy Scorpion Fish and the two locals Blue Ribbon Eels. Warm water, nice visibility and amazing marine life we immediately knew we where home.
The next day we were exploring the big marine attraction of Taveuni : The Somosomo Strait, aka the Rainbow Reef. The dive sites there are amazing and so full of life. The coral are glorious, colourful and gigantic. It took a while to gather the good conditions to explore the jewel of Fiji : The Great White Wall. Jacques Yves Cousteau named it one of the best site in the world, his son currently owns and operates a quality dive shop on the next island. The Great White Wall is along Vanua Levu (the Second Island of Fiji), you will start your dive on a massive plate 12meters deep. When everybody is there, you will enter a tunnel that bring you to the wall. When you go there at the slack of the low tide, the current is slow at best (generally strong), that makes it a dive for experienced divers but also it is the reason why you dive there. When the currents blow the white Coral open to feed and the wall turn white, snow like particles float around making the place magic. For a few minutes you swim or drift along the wall before you get into another tunnel that bring you back to the plate and eventually you can go back for a second tour.
If you decide to go to The Great White Wall you have to plan your trip. First allow yourself 24 hours before your last dive as they are not mucking around with safety. Then you need to have your low or high tide slack around 8am and 9.30am, as the Great White Wall is always the first dive of the day and is hard to access in other conditions. Allow also one day before the Great White Wall to have your check out dive.
Beside the diving, the island is beautiful and offers nice walk and cultural tour. It is also one of the rare place in the world to have a waterfall pouring directly to the sea. We were working at Paradise Taveuni and we love that place and people.
The hundred Islands of Fiji
There is so many places to discover in Fiji. One of the most famous one is Benga Lagoon and its very famous Shark Dive. We did it and love it. As many divers we didn’t know what to feel about shark feeding, but the show they put on made our feeling disappear.
The West Archipel is also a very touristy destination. Quite far from the rest of Fiji’s mood, it was not my favourite place. However if you love white sand beach, diving with Manta Ray and fancy Hotels, that place is made for you. It also a good place for non divers families who wants to take part in a dive travel.
The north of Viti Levu harbour Rakiki with some extraordinary dive. We stayed there for a couple of days and loved the resort, their dive equipment and the beautiful diving. For history nerds, that is where the last Cannibal Chef lived in Fiji. It also the water of Captain Bligh, who lost the Bounty and named another extraordinary reef in the area.
The Lau Group is home of the Astrolab Reef. A legendary dive site that so few people have been exploring. It is very hard to access and very expensive. It is on one of my top list of place to explore and I dream to charter a liveaboard over there for one of our dive travel adventures.