Hen-rietta's return (sort of)
Oh, the joys of being a Cruise Director couple in Fiji! This trip was filled with marine life for all tastes: from small nudibranchs to Manta Rays, from Pygmy Seahorses to Sharks, from absurd amounts of Barracuda to endless amounts of Trevallies. All in the company of our amazing group from Colorado!
We welcomed 18 guests from One World Dive & Travel, lead by the fierce Jill and Brian, who brought gifts, lolomas from Michelle (“I need a cigarette after that” lady) and Hen-rietta. Not THE, Hen-rietta, but A Hen-rietta. This Henry was to bring shame upon forgetful divers. Just like Michele and Steve, Jill and Brian are on top of their game and their divers are a merry and efficient bunch.
Photo by Bel: Barracudas
Photo by Bel: Fire Coral Shrimp
Photo by Bill: One of many Nudibranchs
After a long crossing to Vuya, we spent our first day diving with many different nudibranchs (Flabelinas, Phyllidias, Blue Dragons – with eggs – and Chromodoris), a Hawksbill turtle, Scorpionfish and our resident Pontoh’s Pygmy (spotted by King Brian himself). The current steadily increased towards the day, and on the 4th dive we were sheltering as much as we could. It’s what diving close to the Full Moon is… high currents, high rewards.
Photo by Bel: Cat's Meow
Our next destination was Namena Marine Reserve, where we stayed for two days and celebrated the 20th anniversary of Heather’s 30th birthday. And her 700th dive! Being in Namena for both these celebrations… lucky gal! Our dives were filled with countless “tornadoing” Bigeye Trevallies, nesting Yellowmargin and Oceanic Triggerfish, rains of Fusiliers, absurd numbers of Bigeye Barracudas and sharks… lots of sharks, and BIG Dogtooth Tunas.
One of the dives was right against Namena Island due to absurd currents everywhere, but we saw an Octopus, a massive Map Puffer and Shrimpgobies everywhere. The high (FAD) current dives at South Save-a-tack were incredibly colorful and Phlemmy was still in Kansas, although Snotty is nowhere to be seen. Our last Grand Central Station dive ended with Tunas attacking thousands of Barracudas. Our Kava party was lively, and the kava consumptions made for no lines at the coffee machine at 5:30!
Photo by Bel: Namena Bommie
Photo by Bel: Redtooth Triggers
Photo by Bel: Barracudas
Photo by Bel: More Barracudas. There were A LOT of them
We spent the following morning at Wakaya, where the first dive delivered Barracudas, Popcorn Shrimp, Scorpionfish and Clingfish… but the second dive delivered Manta encounters of 5 and 35 minutes. Then we moved to Makogai for fabulous bommie dives at Ron’s and Rick’s with stunning soft corals and Cleaner Shrimps, Nudibranchs and a very cosy crab inside a Giant Sea Cucumber’s butt. Then we did our Village Visit and once again the children’s mekes enchanted everyone. Our guests brought an abundance of gifts to the village, especially to the kids. Amazing, thank you!!
Photo by Bill: Moray Eel
Photo by Bel: Moray Eel and Cleaning Committee
Photo by Mike: Village Visit, Makogai children
Photo by Mike: Welcome to Makogai
Our Sea Mounts day was delightful as usual. Aside from the breathtakingly beautiful hard and soft corals, we saw small Barracudas, big Tunas, Phyllidias, clouds of Fusiliers and all the small reef fish anyone could hope for. Mike and Brian hung out with an Octopus for 30 minutes! The dusk dive had few participants and the rain caught up with us towards the end of the afternoon.
Our last day was at Vatu-i-ra, where we flew through Charlie’s Garden, then enjoyed the company of a Hawksbill on the amazing reef top. We also had an extremely Yellow dive and a fantastic time at the top reef at Mellow Yellow and a great Coral Corner dive, with “all the colors”! Our final dive was at Whole Shebang with a great drift followed by our healthy and heavily populated coral heads. The perfect ending, and the sun even came out for that!
Photo by Bel: Flabelina
Photo by Bel: Phyllidia
Photo by Bill: Details
Photo by Bel: The smallest of Clingfish!
It's been a glorious time with a great group of individuals, lead by the best group leaders. Thank you, Brian and Jill, for bringing this great crowd to dive with us. We wish you all a smooth trip home and hope to see you again some day. And Dave… try not to miss Bel too much.
Photo by Brian: our glorious group!
“Joann & I had a remarkable experience here in Tonga! Our diving trips mostly entail liveaboard boats and this one was the best yet – great crew & great food! You are fortunate to have the ownership in place to allow you to do it right! We won’t easily forget our “Whale Week” on NAI’A – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime gig!!”
~ Terry & Joann