Bloody Marvellous!

Destination: Fiji's Bligh Water
Trip Date: Mar 5th - Mar 12th, 2022 - Comments
Author: Bel & Mike
Welcome Back: Tui & Colleen
Congratulations: Happy 75th, Colleen!

Hammerheads and Pygmy Seahorses. Hundreds of barracuda and dozens of reef sharks. International Women’s Day with six very inspiring ladies.  And Chui’s series of “Planet Bommies” have brought our photo gallery to a new level!

Photo by Chui

Photo by Chui

Art by Jenn

After getting their orientation, singing Happy birthday to Colleen and setting up their gear, the group headed to their checkout dive to get familiar with our procedures and adjust weights. As a bonus, they saw some juvenile Many-Spotted Sweetlips and some endemic Bicolor Rabbitfish. We had an early night and a smooth 9h crossing to our next destination: Vatu-i-ra.

The sunrise was stunning and the current was ripping, so we chose Charlie’s Garden and The Whole Shebang to start the day somewhat sheltered and watching some great hard corals. Then the current slowed down enough for us to check out Mellow Yellow and Coral Corner, which still had the soft corals fully out from the earlier current, lots of anthias and fusiliers, as well as a Giant Trevally. The divers also saw reef sharks, blue dragon nudibranchs and flatworms. Later we explored Howard’s Diner and at the end of our last dive the ladies had fun being hoisted onto the skiff by Koroi and Vernon, our super skiff drivers.

We arrived at Vuya early the next morning escorted by a pod of spinner dolphins, certainly a treat and an omen of good things to come. Our first dives were current filled at Cat’s Meow and Humann Nature where we saw Raggy Scorpionfish, lots of soft corals, a couple of Pontoh’s Pygmy Seahorses, a green turtle and many nudibranchs. In the afternoon we explored UndeNAI’Able Reef and Pinnacle and saw some Brokeback shrimp, Spotted Shrimpgobies and flabelinas. The night divers returned to UndeNAI’Able reef and had tales of Ann being shallowed by krill. She even had a few inside her wetsuit and woke up with shrimp still on her hair!

Photo by Chui

We cruised for 4h during the night and arrived at Namena Marine Reserve for some sharky dives in the morning at North Save-a-Tack’s Grand Central Station and The Arch. The strong current brought us our jacks, grey reef sharks and a few white tip reef sharks, one of them pregnant. Later we made it to Kansas (although Wayne and Mim made it to Alaska) and saw many flatworms (some free-swimming) and a bunch of Orange-spotted Pipefish. John and Matt did The Bel back roll into the boat and earned a mention on this diary!

In the afternoon we dived Two Thumbs Up, two lovely dives. On Tui’s words: Bloody Marvellous! The group’s only difficulty was finding a place to rest at the end of the dive, as the healthy reef at the top didn’t provide with anything dead to hold on to. Not a bad problem to have. Later on, we had less current and a chilled dive filled with gorgeous soft corals again, many different shrimps and a Napoleon Wrasse getting cleaned… not bad! Koroi even had Sly drive the skiff so he could dive with the group.

That night we dressed in our sulus for our group photo and Kava party. Between Namena as a background with a beautiful rainbow and the perfect sunset light, this may be our most beautiful group photo yet, except that Mim and Wayne were sleeping and missed it! We then had our kava party and Matt has a theory that every kava tide seems to be the same. Tui, Wayne and Bets finished the night on the sundeck watching the stars, a perfect way to end the day.

The next morning we returned to Grand Central Station determined to find hammerheads, and Bel’s group saw one! We then all reached our parking spot surrounded by jacks, dozens of Yellowtail Barracudas and hundreds of Bigeye Barracudas. Also a couple of Dogtooth Tuna the size of Jenn and a juvenile Napoleon Wrasse. Thanks, Chui and Ann, had you had your cameras I’m sure the dive would not have been half as spectacular!

Our afternoon was spent on Tetons 1 and 2. Tui sent Bel on a swimming marathon (although Tui herself wasn’t winded at all), Chui wasn’t sure the right way to tickle a crinoid (but he did see a bunch of Clingfish and crinoid shrimps) and Tui & Colleen found a Zebra Dartfish.

Photo by Chui

Photo by Chui

Photo by Chui

We cruised for another 4 hours overnight and woke up at Wakaya for a morning full of treats! Will saw a manta, Bel, Tui, Wayne and Bets saw a hammerhead and everybody but Matt saw a pygmy seahorse. We also saw leaf scorpionfish, Helfrich, Decorated, Fire and Yellownose Dartfish and Bel and Bets had a glimpse at a shy Whitecap Shrimpgoby. What a morning!

In the afternoon we explored a little more and had a 4th dive with the current taking everyone flying through the reef. At night we got our last night dive of the week and saw Leaf Scorpionfish, a Girdled Glossodoris, a white tip shark, some Lionfish on the prowl and a Blue-Spotted Stingray. Also, Ann saw the biggest shrimp she’s ever seen, and it wasn’t even on her hair!

The following morning we woke up at E6, our beloved sea mound. The cathedral, as always, awed everyone, as well as the stunning hard corals on the shallows. Mike and Will saw a Wrasse bigger than Bets, and Bets is convinced they just saw her. Mim found her first Pygmy Seahorse and we found a group of about 20 Twotone Dartfish (although in Bel’s head they’ll always be the Tutu Dartfish) and a wacky juvenile Oriental Sweetlip.

Photo by Chui

Photo by Chui

We did our last dive at Mount Mutiny with its gorgeous Chironephthyas and what a perfect ending it was to a fabulous week. Our guests just can’t seem to get enough of our gorgeous corals on the sea mounds. Only 6 years ago they were wiped from the shallows by Cyclone Winston and here they are now, looking as good as ever. It’s always a great way to finish strong. In Tui’s words, it’s been bloody marvellous!


“I'm sure that it's very difficult for the Nai'a establishment to solve this thorny situation. But, be assured that we, your Nai'a family in a small way, are sympathetic. We realize that the reason we love your trips is that you spend what it takes for a quality voyage. That's why we come back. And that's why we plonk down $10K to sail with you. We know it's worth it.”


~ Steve