We welcomed on-board a full-boat charter from Lone Star Scuba: a relaxed bunch of fun individuals with a keen passion for diving with whom we spent seven glorious days cruising Fiji’s Bligh Waters and diving all its best spots.
Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Manny, Ann, Manny, Manny
We began our adventures in Vatu-i-ra. It was a trial by fire first day for many, given that we had a huge range of experience levels on the boat: for several, it was some of their very first ocean dives! We suspect we may have spoiled you for life. Fiji diving is not easy – especially given its challenging currents – but it sure is worth the effort and we were super impressed with how well everyone handled it. Our divers were amazed by Fiji’s underwater offerings, particularly enjoying the soft corals and enormous sea fans on dive sites such as Mellow Yellow, Charlie’s Garden and the Whole Shebang. We went out on our first night dive after dinner that evening: we only had two takers but they saw their first ever Pleurobranch and had a very close encounter with a white tip reef shark.
Photo credits (All photos): Heath
From Vatu-i-ra, we moved east to the Namena marine reserve for two full days. The deep wall dives in the north were breathtaking: Schoolhouse was overrun with barracuda and jacks and we counted over 15 sharks on Grand Central Station. Kansas, as always, was a firm favorite: the mesmerizing Sinularia soft coral is so unique. Even better, our divers were treated to a rare sighting of a zebra shark! The pinnacles in the south were equally enjoyable with our guides finding pygmy seahorses, blue ribbon eels and an octopus. Our first night in Namena, we took advantage of a night at anchor and enjoyed a fabulous kava party out on the dive deck after dinner. The second day, we offered another night dive: we had multiple takers BEFORE dinner…..Aaaaaaand then the wine started flowing and soon we had none!
Photo credits (all photos): Ann
Next up…. Gau! We had a great morning, diving Jim’s Alley and Anthias Avenue: the top reefs were looking particularly lovely with the bright sunshine pouring in. A few of our divers were even treated to a pair of graceful manta rays just sauntering on by towards the end of their dive. In the afternoon, we managed to squeeze in two stellar dives at Nigali Passage (Only just though… The current gave us a very narrow window this week). Both dives were beautiful with the second one being extra ‘sharky’: tons of white tips, grey reefs and even a nurse shark. We were very happy to hear a few divers declaring ‘best dive ever’ as we pottered around the dive deck afterwards.
Photo credits (Left top & bottom, center, right) Laurie, Fred, Fred
Overnight we journeyed back north, waking up the next morning ready to dive at Wakaya. We had a manta-tastic day! We saw the beautiful creatures on both the first and second dives, though only in passing: a quick, teasing glimpse! On the third dive, however, two of the gentle giants hung over the top of Vatu Vai for over ten minutes, allowing our guests a perfect view. We felt very fortunate to experience such a thing! After the third dive, we traveled to the island of Makogai where we enjoyed a wonderful cultural exchange with the villagers. A great time was had by all: singing, dancing and drinking kava!
Photo credits (Left, Top right, bottom right): Ann, Sharon, Heath
We headed back to the Bligh Waters for our last day of diving, where we were greeted by some pretty strong currents. Our gang were used to it by now though and nothing could phase them! The reefs were looking spectacular in the current: fishy beyond belief, soft corals all plumped up, big predators hunting…. Ahhhhhhh, a perfect way to end the trip!
Photo credits (All photos): Heath
Thanks to all at Lone Star for joining us on this charter: it’s been a beautiful week and we hope to dive with you again one day!
“I feel like I received top notch service from all of the crew… Thank you NAI’A for an amazing time. We’ll be back!” Jeff & Erika
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! From the diving to the food I was continuously amazed!” Laurie & Platt
“My second NAI’A visit. NAI’A continues to set the standard for excellent operation & boat!” Phil
“We loved every minute of our time with you in Tonga! It could not have been any better. Each and every member of the NAI’A team was outstanding and each of you made our whale expedition unforgettable. The whales, the hospitality, the guides, the skiff driving, the dinners and the singing and kava… Everything was wonderful. It was the best honeymoon ever!”
~ Buzz & Ellie