A tale of screaming goats

Destination: Vatu-i-ra, Sea Mounts, Wakaya, Makogai, Namena & Vuya
Trip Date: Jun 8th - Jun 15th, 2024 - Comments
Author: Bel&Mike
Welcome Back: Rob&Cat, Keith&Nassim, Brian&May
Congratulations: Keith for his birthday, Krystelle and Carsten on their honeymoon!

Water Temp: 26C/79F and dropping

Another week, another splendid trip! We were blessed with amazing weather and fantastic encounters ranging from manta rays, pilot whales and hammerheads. NAI’As founder, co-owner and previous cruise directors Rob and Cat joined us for this beautiful adventure alongside some of their lifelong friends. We also had another 10 guests, and they thoroughly enjoyed having these two living pieces of NAI’A history to tell many tales of previous journeys.

The first day of our trip was the windiest, but not enough to change our plans. We dived Vatu-i-ra Marine Reserve and throughout the day we had very mild currents. Just enough to open the glorious soft corals and gather the fish together for us to appreciate, film, photograph and swim among them. We saw some grey reef sharks, white tips, schooling trevallies, barracudas, snappers, a turtle, dogtooth tuna and many critters for the macro lovers. The night divers enjoyed the many nighttime crustaceans and especially appreciated a friendly white tip and a squid.

We moved early in the morning to the Sea Mounts and a little less wind. E6 and Mount Mutiny left our divers speechless to the abundance and health of hard and soft corals. We saw scorpionfish, schooling pinjalos, Spanish mackerels, a giant trevally, scorpionfish and leaf scorpionfish, nudibranchs and large schools of fusiliers feeding just off of both sea mounts. We moved to Vatu-i-cake for the night dive and saw more small crustaceans, a few barchin scorpionfish, mantis shrimp larvae and a pearlfish away from its home.

Photo by Adel: Fiji magic

Photo by Adel: Coral growth

Photo by Adel: Rainbow wall

Photo by Mike: A new area for us, Vatu-i-cake

Photo by Mike: Vatu-i-cake

Our next destination was Wakaya and we had an early start to the day, all in the name of mantas. Both skiffs saw many of the gentle giants and the encounters were intimate and lasted between 30 to 60 minutes. We identified 10 separate individuals including some of our favorites (Shirley, Snoot, Johnny), some rarely seen individuals (Django!!!) and some individuals we named over the last 2 years (Distinguished, Yoda, Mantanomi). But that’s not all, because we also saw hammerheads, a turtle, leaf scorpionfish and several macro critters again. After the third dive, with a glassy flat ocean, Lucky Lefty got to swim with 50+ spinner dolphins, a few guests got in with friendly pilot whales and the others got to watch several pilot whales surround NAI’A as we headed to Makogai for our village visit. The visit was fabulous. Our guide Bill is an amazing host and the songs and mekes from the children really deliver so much joy and good energy.

Photo by Adel: Johnny, one of our regulars

Photo by Adel: Pilot whales tagging along with us

Photo by Adel: With Bill, our outstanding guide in Makogai

Photo by Mike: Makogai

Photo by Adel: Bel and the most beautiful smiles in Fiji

We headed to Namena and dived the marine reserve for the following two days. The weather remained on our side with calm waters and beautiful sunshine. Despite very low currents on North save-a-tack we had very fishy dives with several grey reef sharks, dogtooth tunas, redtooth and ocean triggers, black and midnight snappers, bigeye trevallies, barracudas, surgeonfish, unicornfish, palette surgeons (Dory!!), and all the more anthias and fusiliers. And to top it all off, zebra dartfish, flame hawks, spotted crouchers, oriental sweetlips, a spotted eagle ray and three curious hammerheads.

South save-a-tack was no less beautiful and the soft corals on our bommies were all majestically open and ready to be photographed. Despite the mainly mild current, the bommies were booming with life and the fish were very active. We saw golden mantis shrimps, deco the octo, several nudibranchs, squarespotted anthias, whitecap shrimpgobies, bubble coral shrimps and sponge crabs. We then moved up the reef to Fantasea to what turned out to be a bit of a wild ride, then did our night dive nearby where the divers saw three enormous pleurobranchs. Our kava party on the first night was a huge highlight of the trip, but left us a little confused by the loudest screaming goats we have ever heard. Unforgettable! 

Photo by Adel: Fiji colors

Photo by Adel: Sea fan

Photo by Adel: Oriental sweetlips

Photo by Tom: Barracudas

Photo by May: Dive finished, time to eat!

Photo by Adel: Kava time!

Our last day at Vuya and UndeNAI’Able brought back the mild currents and relaxing dives. Cat’s with its stunning soft corals and Humann Nature with its endless supply of hard corals and fusiliers offered a blissful start to the day. Our final dives at UndeNAI’Able Reef and Pinnacle had some very special nudibranchs (including an eel bornella), colorful healthy corals and a gazillion fusiliers surrounding us from all sides. We headed back to Lautoka with more splendid weather, big smiles and full hearts. It’s been a special trip and we hope to see many of our new friends in the near future!

Photo by Tom: Juvenile black snapper

Photo by Adel: Fiji perfect

Photo by Mike: Another amazing sunset

Our lucky group. What a week it has been!


“Thank you to everyone on NAI’A who makes NAI’A what it is – an exceptional operation and a gateway to underwater wonders. What a fantastic crew! Thanks for an incredible life experience!”


~ Scott