New Jersey Takes Over NAI'A

Destination: Bligh Water, Namena & Wakaya
Trip Date: Apr 13th - Apr 20th, 2024 - Comments
Author: Bel&Mike
Congratulations: Courtney on her 40th birthday and Gary on his 12th birthday

Water temperature: 28-29C/83-84F and slowly dropping

We can honestly say we have never had a trip like this last one! Lang’s Ski N Scuba (NJ) took over NAI’A for the adventure of a lifetime. We had some of the mildest currents of any of our trips, and yet the life on our dive sites was as abundant as ever. We saw grey reef sharks, schools of barracudas, trevallies and triggerfish, white tip sharks and a lifetime encounter with manta rays (the group put the “Lucky” in Lucky Lefty). The critter geeks were not disappointed. They got to photograph several nudibranchs and a halimeda ghost pipefish as well as dance with an octopus for 17 minutes!

After an uneventful checkout dive, we celebrated Gary’s birthday and set out to the Sea Mounts… but the universe had other plans for us and we had to spend the morning on board. In the afternoon, we took our guests to enjoy some of Fiji’s topside attractions. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant was a great way to spend our afternoon, although the walk to the highest lookout point did tire everyone out. So instead of the mud pools, we headed back to the ship and finished the day with a refreshing swim right before sunset. After dinner, we once again headed out to the Sea Mounts.

Photo by Ruth: Regal angelfish

Photo by Bel: Lush forest at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant

Photo by Bel: On the way to the lookout. Some thought that was far enough!

Photo by Bel: Garden of the Sleeping Giant

E6 and Mount Mutiny have to currently be two of the most healthy hard coral sites in the world. Devastated by Cyclone Winston just 8 years ago, it’s now hard to find a place around those reefs not covered by coral. Neon yellow, green, purple, blue and pink all add a touch of unrealism to these reefs. And that’s not even mentioning the Rainbow Wall, with more bright neon colors. Our guests were certainly happy with an easy first day, exquisite reefs, white tip sharks and some schooling barracudas.

Photo by Bel (archive): Acropora coral close-up

Photo by Bel (archive): Vibrant corals

Photo by Ruth: Soft corals and golden damsel

We moved overnight to Namena Marine Reserve for two full days of worldclass diving. The current was barely running for the first 3 dives, picking up always for dive 4. Schooling fish were just about everywhere you looked, both North and South passages. But the barracudas, trevallies, tunas, mackerels and sharks were much more present at Schoolhouse, Kansas and Grand Central Station. A friendly remora entertained Lucky Lefty and a very friendly octopus put on a show for Mighty Righty. Mantis shrimps, whitecap shrimpgobies, humphead wrasses and a sea krait were also around, and Leah even found a bobtail squid on the night dive! Our kava party was absolutely wonderful, although it left us asking ourselves just what in the world do they do to roosters in New Jersey!

Photo by Ruth: Flatworm

Photo by Bel (archive): Crinoid clingfish

Photo by Ruth: Pink anemonefish

Photo by Ruth: Briefing time!

Our next destination was Wakaya, where the mantas played shy during the day. There were very close, but brief fly-bys. But Lucky Lefty and the few who ventured out in the rain for dive 4 spent 40 minutes with 4 mantas… We love those guys, but there was some serious jealous stares going on at dinner! Aside from mantas, the dives were amazing even if the visibility was on the poor side. Sharks, barracudas, leaf scorpionfish, nudibranchs and a green turtle, as well as the pumping atmosphere on the wall, ensured happy tired divers at the end of the day. The two brave enough for the night dive got to see a halimeda ghost pipefish and a teeny juvenile filefish/puffer attach itself to Bel’s hand by sucking it. It was strange, amazing and a little awkward all at once!

Photo by Leah: Toby

Photo by Bel: Ambon chromis

Photo by Ruth: Blue Dragon nudibranch

Photo by Bel (archive): Melanistic (black) reef manta

We finished our glorious journey celebrating Courtney’s 40th birthday at Vatu-i-ra. Again with mild currents, again with over-the-top fishy dives. We saw rainbow runners, bigeye trevallies, barracudas, surgeons, chromis, damsels, lionfish, every flavor of snapper, and sharks. Our dives were unbelievably beautiful and overwhelmingly abundant. We said goodbye to our guests as we celebrated Courtney with aaaaaaaaaall the bubbly! She’d been begging Bob for a Lang’s Fiji trip for a while, so she used her birthday as leverage. We hope she, and everyone else, had a blast!

Photo by Ruth: Bluestreak butterflyfish

Photo by Ruth: More nudis...

Photo by Leah: Last nudi!

The ladies

The group


“We loved NAI’A and it superlative crew 12 years ago. We adore you truly. Thanks for a sublime experience – an unparalleled opportunity to marvel, laugh and sojourn with the best of nature and humanity.”

Sandra & David

~ Sandra & David