Fiji is a paradise destination with fantastic diving, and the hospitality to travelers has resulted in the country being coined as one of the friendliest in the world. Read on to find out more about this laid-back and welcoming liveaboard destination.
Where Is Fiji?
Fiji lies in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, and consists of 333 tropical islands. Of these islands, only 110 are inhabited and the others are largely untouched. Fiji is known for soft coral diving, white-sand beaches, and pristine natural environments.
What Are The Main Areas For Diving?
Strong currents flow around the islands of Fiji, bringing nutrient-rich water to dive sites that result in a variety of dives and marine life to experience. There are a number of different island to dive and highlights include:
The Yasawa Islands are the driest and warmest area of Fiji, with sunshine almost all year long. Naviti Island has a unique dive at Babylon Caves, where divers can explore a cave complex, a reef-capped wall, and spot manta rays. Barefoot Manta, just south of the Yasawas, is a popular island to visit for manta ray encounters from May to October each year and is also home to some of the best coral gardens in Fiji. A visit to the Yasawas wouldn’t be complete without also visiting Nanuya Lailai Island; the setting for the famous Blue Lagoon movies of 1949 and 1980.
Gau Island, or the Amazon of the Seas, has incredible biodiversity and is the fifth largest island in the Fijian archipelago. This special island has a fringing reef on its north and east coasts, with a barrier reef off the west and south coasts creating a large lagoon. Gau Island is usually visited as part of a multi-stop Fiji diving itinerary and is not to be missed. Shark Fin Point is the place to go for eagle rays, reef sharks and plentiful fish life, whilst Koro Gardens is covered in hard corals.
The Ngali Passage is a beautiful and exciting dive with just a 3-hour window for diving, outside of which the current exceeds 4 knots and the visibility is low. Divers drop into the swift current and ride it through a passage, which is around 20 meters long and resembles a sandy road. The steep walls of the passage are covered in hard and soft corals and the water is full of barracuda, whitetip reef, and grey reef sharks. There is a coral ledge within the passage for spotting more sharks and other marine life, before letting go and flowing with the current into the coral-filled lagoon.
The vertical walls of the Somosomo Strait are washed by strong currents and offer great wall and drift diving. The area is known for its colorful soft corals and large bushes of white, brown, pink and orange corals appear when the current is running. Purple Wall is true to its name and is covered in purple soft corals, plus whip corals and sea fans. The Great White Wall is one of Fiji’s most famous dives. This wall and drift dive has a large concentration of white soft corals that give the appearance of a wall of snow and is a dive not to be missed. The Purple and Great White walls are accessible by Somosomo Strait liveaboard diving.
Namena Marine Reserve
Located between the main islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, this beautiful 70 square kilometer reef has incredible marine biodiversity and consists of both Namena Island and the horseshoe-shaped barrier reef. Thanks to the chiefs of the region Kubulau, a total ban on fishing was placed in 1997, after an increase in commercial fishing in the 80’s and 90’s when a serious threat on Namena Reef was foreseen. There are numerous dive sites to explore at the reserve and marine life highlights include pipefish, nudibranchs, unicorn fish, garden eels, barracuda, reef sharks and even occasional hammerhead sharks.
Who Is The Diving Suitable For?
Fiji diving is suitable for all divers and is a destination that can be enjoyed by less experienced Open Water divers and experienced divers. Some liveaboards, such as the Fiji Aggressor, have no requirement for a minimum number of logged dives. Whilst currents can be strong at some dive sites, others are relatively easy.
When To Visit Fiji
It is possible to dive all year long at Fiji. Visibility is best from July to December when the water is coolest at 22 – 25m and visibility can exceed 40 meters. Summer in Fiji is from November to April, which is the rainy season with water temperatures of 28 – 30 ?. Visibility is variable during summer due to plankton blooms, which attract large pelagics such as manta rays and whales. September is a particularly good month to visit as it is the tail end of winter and the humidity and heat are comfortable.
How To Get To Fiji
Nadi International Airport is the main airport of Fiji and has daily domestic flights to other islands. Nausori Airport is Fiji’s second international airport and lies on the eastern side of Viti Levu.
Useful Phrases To Know
Whilst English is the official language of Fiji, it is worth knowing a few local phrases when visiting this friendly archipelago.
- Bula – To greet people or say hello.
- Vinaka – Thank you
- Vinaka vaka levu – Thank you very much
- Moce – Goodbye
- Kerekere – Please