No, Christmas hasn’t come early to Fiji. It’s the White Wall, the most famous dive site on Rainbow Reef. When the current’s running, the soft white corals open and it looks for all the world like a ski slope or the largest christmas tree you’ve ever seen. It’s a sheer wall on the outside of the reef, dropping down into the abyss. We got to 33 metres and that was far enough for us!
Suffice to say, we’ve had a great time diving here on Rainbow Reef in the Somosomo strait, which is between the big island of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. After we left Paradise Resort on Taveuni we motored across the strait through the main passage in the reef and picked up a mooring in Viani Bay. There are two moorings owned by Jack Fisher, a well-known local identity and third generation Anglo-Fijian. Jack is now in his late sixties but has been offering services to visiting yachts for many years. Apart from his moorings, he offers dive guiding for the reef, or can organize provisioning runs to Taveuni and will take your garbage for a small fee. (Jack deserves his own blog, so Bruce has promised to oblige I just have to convince him to start writing it!)
The currents are strong in the straight, so most dives are done as drift dives, which means you either need someone in the dinghy to follow the divers, tow your own dinghy (difficult on the deep dives), or go with a local dive operator. We opted to use Jack as our guide. Let’s just say he’s not a small man, so with three of us in the dinghy and all our dive gear it was a SLOW trip out to the reef! Our first dive was on “Purple Wall” – not too hard to guess what colour the corals were but not quite as spectacular as we were expecting. Maybe it suffered some damage from the cyclone or maybe we got the timing wrong.
Having learnt our lesson from the long dinghy ride, the next time we opted to take Toucan out to the reef, again guided by Jack, and with the other Jack from “High C’s” who came to do some snorkeling while we were diving. It got a bit confusing with two Jacks on board, but Jack (Fisher) knew exactly where the best anchoring spots were. It was a tad alarming to be anchored so close to the reef but it was a super calm day and he reassured us the boat would be fine. OK Jack, we’ll trust you!
Our first dive was “The White Wall” and indeed it was pretty spectacular – I’ve certainly never seen anything like it. Unfortunately we need much better camera gear to do it justice so you’ll just have to believe me!
The second dive of the day was at “Fish Station”, a shallower dive inside the reef, with, as you guessed, a gazillion fish. The current was flowing pretty fast so it was hard to take photos or video, we were whisked along as if we were on a conveyor belt. It was good fun, although getting back to the boat required a serious consumption of energy (and air) as we swam against the current.
A few days later we dived “Rainbow’s End” on Sau Bay Retreat’s boat (more on this wonderful place coming soon!). What a pretty dive – I haven’t seen that many fish in one place for a long time, and some lovely soft and hard corals. We’re trying different settings on our Intova cameras (the cheap alternative to Go-Pro’s) and I think we’re starting to get some better results but sadly there’s no substitute for good, expensive gear. One day, maybe….in the meantime here are some shots over the last few dives. Enjoy!