Beqa Lagoon - Shark Fin Passage
"Early in the dive we saw a large Spotted Eagle Ray among a shoal of literally hundreds of Giant Trevally and Emperor fish. We also had two or three of the largest Bull Sharks I have seen, cruising around us. Slightly further out from the wall, at a depth of about 32 metres, were Grey Sharks (locals sometimes mistakenly call them Bronze Whalers) and Black Tip Reef Sharks.
A good-sized Humphead Wrasse (about 70/80 kg?), with its accompanying Remora, followed us through most of the dive. There was also the resident Giant Grouper (about 400 kg?), with a cloud of yellow Pilot Fish around its mouth.
We gradually ascended up the wall to about 10 metres, noting all the usual reef fish, before swimming away from the wall to the dive boat. An awesome dive!"
We dived this site again in July 2002, less than an hour after Aquatrek did their shark feeding dive there. We identified at least six species of shark there including Oceanic White Tip, Black Tip Reef, Grey, White Tip Reef, Bull and Silver Tip. The Oceanic White Tip, a Silver Tip and a pair of the Greys came very close and followed us up to 15m. I assume that this unusual behaviour is a result of the feeding.
Beqa Lagoon - Aquarium
We did this dive in July 2000, not long after the attempted coup on May 19th and while the hostages were still being held in the parliament building. We were staying at the Centra Hotel, Pacific Harbour for the weekend, just to get out of Suva for a little while and we went out diving with Aquatrek. Both were offering 'Coup Specials' because all the tourists had disappeared after the coup. We virtually had the hotel and the dive boat to ourselves. "This is the first time that I have seen (or perhaps 'noticed' is a better word - there is often so much to see on dives in Fiji that I cannot remember it all) a Clown Triggerfish. We also saw some colourful Ribbon Eels at one point and a Barrier Reef Anemone Fish. I really admire Anemone Fish. They are so protective that they will take on creatures many times their size, such as humans, to guard their young. We also saw several large Potato Groupers and a 1.5 metre Spanish Mackerel (as they call them in these parts)."
Beqa Lagoon - Nasici Rocks
This report is from December 2000. "As we went through a couple of the swim-throughs in the Nasici coral heads, we came across a pair of White Tip Reef Sharks resting on the bottom at about 19 metres. One swam off straight away, but the other swam around in a circle and came back to its resting place on the sand. We settled down to watch it for a while. After a few minutes it swam off, but it was nice to get such a good look at one of these charming creatures. As we were doing our safety stop at the top of a coral head, I was able to watch a pair of Whitebottom Damselfish going through what I took to be a mating display, as they alternately 'fluttered' over an area of smooth coral."
Beqa Lagoon - Soft Coral Grotto
This site is on the far side of the lagoon from Pacific Harbour, but it is a very nice site and worth the extra time it takes to get there. "There are a number of coral heads that rise to within a couple of metres of the surface, at this site. Several of them have 'swim throughs' and overhangs that are worth looking around. I had a first sighting of a Chinese Grouper, out in the open at about 19 metres. We came across a Leopard Shark that was settled on the bottom. I guess it was resting because it let us get within arms length and stay there for a few minutes before it swam off. There was also a Lion Fish out in the open on top of the coral head where we did our safety stop - unusual to see one in such bright sunlight."
Beqa Lagoon - Wreck of the Tasu Maru
We dived this wreck in October 2000. "This Japanese trawler was deliberately wrecked here in about 1993. The bottom of the wreck is in 26 metres and it is sitting upright on a sandy bottom. It is in good condition, although it looks as though anything that could easily be removed has been. It has various cabins and holds that can be penetrated.
A good-sized Lionfish has made its home in one of the holds and a colourful Coral Cod has done the same in a cabin. Corals are starting to grow in various places on the wreck. One of the lamps has become home to a group of small Domino Damselfish."
I have visited this site a couple of times since then and the holds are becoming home to more and larger fish each time. There was a Giant Trevally under the stern the last time.
Coral Coast - Kaleidoscope
We did this dive with Coral Village Divers in April 2000. Sadly they moved back to Australia after the events of May 19th, which is a shame because they are lovely people. "This is a very nice wall, with lots of overhangs and caves, that drops down to about 25 metres. Several of the strands of Whip Coral here have a Whip Coral Goby on them. These delightful little fish are about 1.5 cm long and spend their whole life moving up and down on the one piece of coral. This was a good site for seeing lots of the colourful little reef fish, such as Fairy Basslets, for which Fiji is well known."
Coral Coast - Morgan's Wall
We dived this site with Mike's Divers in April 2001. It is a drift dive on most phases of the tide. When we got down to about 20 metres we saw a Green Turtle for only the second time in about a hundred dives along the south coast of Viti Levu. Unusually, it didn't disappear as fast as it could go - the locals hunt and eat them so they tend not to hang around. A little further from us, at the edge of visibility at about 25 metres, a couple of good-sized Black Tip Reef Sharks cruised back and forth, keeping an eye on us. There are a lot of Pyramid Butterflyfish at this site and, as we rounded a 90 degree turn in the wall, we came across a shoal of a few hundred Barracuda.
Nananu-I-Ra - The Maze
This site is named after the network of coral heads and swim-throughs, located a couple of kilometres off the north end of the island. Although there was much dead and bleached coral, there was still plenty of wildlife to see - large shoals of fusiliers, some of the largest Parrot Fish I have seen, lobsters and many different kinds of reef fish than we usually see on the south of Viti Levu. The area is about 18 metres at its deepest, with coral heads coming up to within about 4 metres of the surface.
Savusavu - Barracuda Point
We dived this site on a trip to Savusavu, a town well-known to yachties on the south of Vanua Levu, in July 2000. "We did indeed see a shoal of Barracuda - Pickhandle Barracuda - their yellow caudal fin helps with identification. We also had our first sighting of a turtle after 8 months of diving in Fijian waters. A lot of the coral is here is bleached, however, it also seems to be recovering. A White-tip Reef Shark put in a welcome appearance.
Savusavu - Shark Canyons
"We saw lots of canyons, but no sharks on this dive. We came across a pair of Green Turtles, but they shot off as soon as they saw us. This is very different to the behaviour of the same type of turtle in Hawai'i, where they are protected. In Fiji, the locals eat them and you can still come across the carcasses of turtles on sale in markets. We saw a small group of Pickhandle Barracuda, as well as the usual reef fish, including groups of Pennant Bannerfish. I got a first sighting of s Springer's Demoiselle."
Mana Island - Gotham City
This site is about a 20 minutes boat ride off Mana Island . It has three pinnacles close together. Lovely fish life. Apart from several giant batfishes, we saw the biggest triggerfish I have seen so far. We saw large groups of fusiliers, pendant fish and what the divemaster called bait fish, they move like shimmering light very fast. A little treat in the end while we did our safety stop was a group of 5 large barracuda's.