FIJI, TONGA & FRENCH POLYNESIA

FIJI: TAVEUNI, VANUA LEVU & THE SOMOSOMO STRAIT

Season: Year-round diving

Visibility: 25-50m/80-165ft

Water Temperature: 25-27°C/77-81°F


Soft coral delights (Shannon Conway)

Diving: Sharks, Manta Rays, house reef, walls, coral gardens, swim-throughs, shore diving

Snorkeling opportunities

Land excursions/holiday extensions

 

Known as ‘The Garden Island’ Taveuni is a rugged island, covered in verdant forests and steep peaks, secret waterfalls and excellent walking trails for the keen hiker or the mildly adventurous stroller! Despite the fact that Taveuni’s indigenous people were once a feared warrior clan, rumoured to relish the taste of human flesh, the island is now a popular destination for divers and non divers alike, recognised for it’s gorgeous scenery, romantic vistas and numerous activities of the diving and non-diving variety. Several daily flights from the nation’s capital, Nadi take only around an hour and a half to fly passengers to and from Taveuni. It is a fraction of the size of Viti Levu and is well worth exploring on top of the waves as well as below too. Lake Tagimaucia, some 800 metres above sea level in an old volcanic crater is one of Tavenuni’s most favourite tourist destinations as well as the picturesque Bouma Falls. Here you can truly experience the quintessential tropical paradise desired by so many and experienced by so few!

It is Taveuni’s underwater wonders however that are one of the biggest lures for travellers. A narrow channel between the islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu constantly funnels the rushing ocean, creating swift currents. In its haste to squeeze through this narrow gap, the ocean stirs up a nutritious mix of plankton that serves as food for the brilliantly coloured gardens of soft coral which grow here in profusion. Cutting across this channel, known as the Somosomo Strait, is Fiji’s famous Rainbow Reef. Divers can explore both the reef and the strait. The twenty mile long Rainbow Reef has many dive sites. Even before entering the water, just a glimpse over the side of the boat makes it obvious that it is the profusion of brilliant soft corals that adorn each site that justifies the name of the reef. There to be discovered are colourful ‘gardens’ of shimmering golden yellows, explosions of vibrant reds, luminous pinks and iridescent blues and purples.

Annie’s Bommie is one of the prettiest reef dives. A series of coral heads, each packed with multicoloured soft corals, is home to thousands of fairy basslets that appear like a sprinkling of precious jewels. Swim through a gap in the corals and gorgonians and emerge to a display of unusual tabletop corals each surrounded by garlands of soft coral at the Yellow Grotto.

The Great White Wall has to be one of the most thrilling dives in all of Fiji! Careful timing is essential here as the current can range from a gentle lulling ripple to a mask-ripping force! The most spectacular way to see this wonderful wall is to descend to about 30 metres and then gaze upwards to observe the phenomenal and awe inspiring sight of a vertical wall, every inch of which is covered with shimmering, frosty-white soft corals extending their tentacles in a frenzy of feeding that gives them the appearance of flowers in full bloom. In this underwater world that is usually so full of colour it is perhaps the unexpected and spectacular surprise of pearl white corals that makes this dive so unusual.

On Blue Ribbon Eel Reef one encounters the usual array of flora and fauna, but it is made rather special by the presence of so many spectacular ribbon eels. The males are black when young and become a beautiful iridescent blue on reaching maturity. The females are a bright golden butter yellow.

At almost every dive site you can be sure of a vast array of reef fish – parrotfish of every hue, lionfish with manes of harmful spikes, pufferfish, barracudas and many others. Pelagic visitors to the Somosomo Strait may include dolphins and Marlin. You may see White-tip and Black-tip Reef Sharks, turtles or even Manta Rays gliding by.



Resorts

Liveaboards


Sot coral detail (Rachel Lee Horsfield)


Busy and colourful diving characterises Fiji's underwater realm. (Rachel Lee Horsfield)


Soft coral bloom (Rachel Lee Horsfield)


Diver and reef (Martyn Guess)


Anemonefish and host (Martin Edge)


Longnosed Hawkfish (Martyn Guess)

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