Diving Fiji: The World’s Most Colourful Coral Reefs

by    DiveSSI    16th August 2019
Aerial view of a deserted, jungle covered tropical island with crystal clear ocean below
Coral reef lagoon with palm trees on the beach, south side of Upolu, Samoa Islands
Scuba diver swims by a beautiful tropical reef full of vibrant purple and orange soft corals.
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Visit and go diving Fiji and you’ll soon discover this special destination lives up to its title as the soft coral capital of the world. It’s an understatement to say Fiji’s soft coral reefs are vibrant; they’re almost every eye-popping colour you can imagine. Fiji has more than just corals though. Home to numerous mantas, reef sharks, pelagic fish and macro life, there is something for every diver to enjoy.

Diving Fiji is possible all year, however some months offer seasonal highlights:

  • Summer (November to April) has warmer waters, making it ideal for divers who get cold easily.
  • Summer is also a great season for macro diving as marine life flourishes during the warmer months.
  • Winter (May to October) is the best time for crystal-clear water and visibility exceeding 50m.
  • Winter is also great for big fish encounters, especially during September.
  • September is also peak manta season and a good month for low winds and calmer seas.
  • Try November for coral spawning or December/January for fish spawning.
  • February is the wettest month but it is turtle hatching season.

Given the sheer diversity of Fiji’s islands, the diving is suitable for all experience levels.

A liveaboard cruise is the best way to go island hopping to Fiji’s best dive sites and just a small handful of liveaboard boats cruise Fiji, including the Reef Endeavourand Nai’i.

Top 6 Fiji Dive Destinations to visit

1. Yasawa Islands

If you’re looking for dry days and warm sunshine in-between diving, the Yasawa Islands are a great choice. As the driest and warmest part of Fiji, the sun shines all year long at these special islands.

Naviti Island has a unique cave dive called Babylon Caves, where you can explore a cave complex and reef-capped wall with plenty of manta rays.

Barefoot Manta Island, just south of the Yasawas, is the place to go for manta encounters from May to October. It is also home to some of Fiji’s most beautiful coral gardens.

Just remember to leave time to visit Nanuya Lailai Island; the setting for the famous Blue Lagoon movies of 1949 and 1980.

2. Gau Island

This ‘Amazon of the Seas’ is known for its exceptional biodiversity and is Fiji’s fifth largest island.
You can dive a fringing reef on the north and east sides, or explore a barrier reef off the west and south coasts.

Either way you can find plenty of reef marine life and colourful corals, as well as eagle rays and reef sharks.

Make sure you dive Koro Gardenswhilst you’re there. This spectacular dive site has coral bommies, hard corals almost everywhere and numerous reef fish.

Shark Fin Pointis an exciting drift dive when the current runs and you can see schools of around 500 barracuda, plus rays, reef sharks, lobsters and plenty of fish life there.

If you love mantas, head to Jim’s Alleycoral bommies. There’s also plenty of macro life for keen photographers to enjoy.

3. Ngali Passage

This well-known passage near Gau Island has plenty of pelagic action and fast currents, making for thrilling drift dives.

You can only dive the passage during a 3-hour window, outside of which the current rips through at over 4 knots.

Dropping into the swift current at Ngali Passage, you’ll ride through a passage that resembles a sandy road.

The walls of the passage are covered in hard and soft corals and the water is busy with barracudas and reef sharks.

Keep your eyes open for passing coral ledges with more sharks on them, before ending your dive in the lagoon; where you can enjoy a large cabbage coral garden.

4. Somosomo Strait

The Somosomo Strait really lives up to Fiji’s reputation as the soft coral capital of the world.
The strait is home to Rainbow Reef, where you can dive amongst brightly-coloured corals and experience some unique soft coral wall dives.

Purple Wall is covered in light purple soft corals, whilst the Great White Wall has the appearance of a wall of snow, thanks to the sheer number of white soft corals found there.

5. Namena Marine Reserve

Sitting between the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, this 70 square kilometre horseshoe-shaped reef has numerous dive sites on offer.

It’s thanks to the chiefs of the region Kubulau, who banned fishing at Namena in 1997, that the reefs are flourishing and have some of Fiji’s best biodiversity.

There are plenty of macro species to find plus reef fish, pelagic fish, reef sharks and even the occasional hammerhead shark.

Chimneys bommies rise from around 22m depth to within just 3m of the surface. Look closely between the corals and you can spot pipefish, nudibranchs, sea anemones and their anemone fish.

Glance over to the sands and you’ll also find garden eels and shrimps.

Grand Central Station is true to its name with marine life coming and going almost non-stop. It’s a perfect dive site for pelagic fans looking for active tuna and barracuda schools.

6. Bligh Waters

There is a lot of water movement at Bligh Waters, which attracts an array of marine. Given the strong currents though, not all dives here are suitable for newer divers.

Make sure you visit Mellow Yellow for a pinnacle covered in yellow soft coral trees. There are big schools of fish around the pinnacle and you can find plenty of macro life hiding from the current.

Mount Mutiny is known as the best soft coral dive in the world, so make sure you leave time for this one.

As well as schooling pelagic fish, the area nearby has soft corals of every colour of the rainbow.

This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com

Written by
DiveSSI
Date
16th August 2019
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