Fish Fart, Fish Food, Fish Galore!

Destination: Bligh Water, Wakaya, Gau, Makogai, Namena
Trip Date: Apr 20th - Apr 30th, 2024 - Comments
Author: Bel&Mike
Welcome Back: Ian&Robyn, Mike, Tim, John, Lana, Kate, Mark
Congratulations: Kate on her birthday and Mike&Sandie on their anniversary.

Water Temperature: 28-29C/83-84F and sloooooowly dropping

What an amazing weather we had to go along with our gorgeous dives! Our latest group enjoyed some of the best surface conditions we’ve had during our time in Fiji. The sun was shining and the wind was barely blowing. We saw it read 0 knots a couple of times! It’s what we call a FISH FART kind of day… when it’s so calm, you could see if a fish farted. With a full moon though, it was a little “breezy” underwater, and FULL of fish food! No wonder our group saw plenty of schooling fish, a reasonable number of sharks and even three hammerheads together!

We started with our checkout dive in which several guests had gear issues. And the trend continued. Poor Mike had to fix gear after every dive for the first 3 days. It’s what happens when gear stays dry for too long! After a long but gentle passage to Vatu-i-ra, we spent our first day mostly sheltering from multidirectional currents. The fish, however, were all too happy with it. We saw reef sharks, barracudas, snappers, a massive map puffer, a slender ghost pipefish, an emperor shrimp and splendid coral gardens. The current mellowed at the end of the day and we finished strong with a spectacular dive at Mellow Yellow.

Photo by Mark: Phylodesmium undulatum

Photo by Mark: Mellow Yellow

The hype was so big about Mellow Yellow, we decided to start our following day with it again… and what a dive! Even more fish than the day before, which seemed impossible given how fishy the previous dive was. It was mellow, but SO YELLOW. And full of nudis… But the Sea Mounts were calling and we moved over to E6 and Mount Mutiny. Again our vibrant reefs mesmerized our guests with so many strong colors. We saw sharks, an octopus, a scorpionfish, more nudibranchs and schooling barracudas. On the night dive, our guests hung out with a curious white tip shark.

We moved to Wakaya the next day and enjoyed the wall for three dives. We missed the mantas, but saw nudibranchs, turtles, barracudas, a juvenile bentstick pipefish, a tiny black snapper, a shy hammerhead, grey reef sharks and lots of trevallies. When the current got too much, we muck dived at the bay and found a robust ghost pipefish, a decorated crab, a flatworm and a mantis shrimp. Back there for the night dive, we saw a mystery nudibranch (pokemon shaped), moon snails and a very weird elbow crab.

Photo by Mark: Leaf scorpionfish at E6

Photo by Mark: Robust ghost pipefish

Photo by Mark: A very stylish decorator crab

Photo by Mark: The smallest sea cucumber!

Photo by Mark: A fat pokemon nudi

We cruised to Gau and enjoyed Kate’s birthday with fabulous visibility all day! The bommies were covered in thousands of fusiliers, and Lucky Lefty had a lasting encounter with a huge sea krait. At Nigali only a few sharks made an appearance, but the barracudas more than made up for them. Thousands upon thousands just flowing past our guests, who also fell in love with the cabbage patch. Despite the full moon, the current was very mild and the dives were rather relaxing, except for the “swelly” dive on the Outer Slope, that nonetheless had a beautiful eagle ray. At night, we saw fancy decorated crabs, juvenile lobsters and a friendly baby octopus.

Photo by Mike: Nigali Passage

Photo by Mark: Cuthona orgy

Photo by Mark: Sea krait

We moved to Makogai and did our first dive at Vatu Vula. We hadn’t been there in a while due to surface conditions, but we had it perfect this time! Schools of rainbow runners, ocean triggers, fusiliers, surgeons and barracudas flooded us intermittently. Grey reefs and spadefish came a went. Two enormous groupers observed us from a distance. Just perfect. We moved for easier dives at Ricks Rocks and Beckys and found plenty of critters, plus more schools of fusiliers and black snappers. On the night dive in the bay, we saw another white tip and baby octopus! Our village visit had to be done at noon, which was so very hot, but worth every drop of sweat. Mike represented us as chief and did us proud.

Photo by Mike: Village visit

Photo by Debby: Baby octopus

Photo by Debby: Cowrie

Then we moved to Namena for two days of brilliant diving only a marine protected area can offer. The dives on the North were mainly mild, with a current reluctant to come in. Still, we had great visibility, saw plenty of grey reefs, big groupers, schooling rainbow runners, trevallies, breams, surgeons, triggers, snappers and zebra dartfish. A few special treats: a BIG humphead wrasse getting cleaned at the Arch (lips stretched and all), palette surgeons, pygmy seahorses at Kansas and five tunas hunting together at Grand Central Station.

On the South, the current was more reliable and mainly mild. Lucky Lefty saw three hammerheads at Mushrooms with Righty had three pygmy seahorses. We also saw free swimming moray eels, ribbon eels, pipefish, sharks, Otto the octo, barracudas, three golden mantis shrimps and a bubble coral shrimp. On the night dive, we saw two huge groupers and a big pleurobranch. Debby even found a sea krait! Our kava party was absolutely wonderful and very lively, although an early one.

Photo by Mark: Soft corals

Photo by Mark: Flatworm

Photo by Mark: Wire coral shrimp

Photo by Mark: Pleurobranch

We crossed over to Vuya and UndeNAI’Able. We explored according to the conditions and found many little treats all over. Nudibranchs (especially flabelinas), a sea spider, three depressed crabs, two turtles, the fluorescent pink anemone, pipefish, giant clams and healthy corals. So much healthy corals… The fusiliers were also overwhelmingly abundant once again, courtesy of all that fish food.

Our last day started with easy, scenic, relaxing dives at E6. From there, we moved to Vatu-i-ra and encountered the currents still a little too wild, so we experimented diving the inside of Charlie’s Garden… and what a treat! We will change how we do that dive from now on. The inner wall was covered in hard corals, full of gorgonians and peppered with soft corals everywhere. Small reef fish and fusiliers just swarmed us the entire way… perfection! The last dive at Whole Shebang was a fly-drift on the wall followed by a relaxing exploration of the outer bommies. We could not have asked for a better way to finish this memorable trip, full of great people and endlessly beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Photo by Mark: Regal angelfish gets cleaned

Photo by Mark: Fish/fan

Photo by Mike: Sunsets

Photo by Mike: Sunrises

Our rowdy bunch (minus Janis)


“NAI’A dives the world’s most beautiful coral reefs.”

Howard Hall, filmmaker

~ Howard Hall, filmmaker