04 July 2019
Viani Bay and Diving with Dive Academy Fiji
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We did three dive sites with Dive Academy Fiji in Viani Bay. Eagle Rock, The Zoo and Steve did the Great White Wall. All of the sites were awesome dives on a healthy reef. Marina and Jone are the owner/operators of Dive Academy. They do have several other dive team members, Jona and Jan. They make an awesome team and we really enjoyed meeting and diving with them. Dive Academy only takes a max of 4 divers per boat which makes for really nice dives with a total of only 5 people in the water at one time. Steve and I like to take photos so we usually tend to be behind a group. We had mostly sunny days with light winds and generally mild currents, so good conditions for all of the dives and the opportunity to take some photos. The soft coral colors in Fiji are really spectacular. Lots of bright pinks, purples and yellows. The quantity and quality of the coral and the fish is really stunning. Steve will have to add his thoughts on the Great White Wall dive. He was fortunate to be the only diver on this dive with Jona so he got to spend as long as he wanted looking around and taking photos.
Steve here --[The Great White Wall dive was spectacular as well as very unusual. It is spectacular in it's immenseness, it's amazing species population and breathtaking views. It is also unique for me. I've done numerous wall dives before, but never one like this. You begin with a nice easy descent then you enter the structure though a tunnel or swimthrough that takes you to the inside. On the backside once you make the turn you are immediately taken with the White Wall which goes as far as you can see. Not sure how deep the floor is at the bottom of the wall, but I sure wasn't going there. It is covered by a unique type of white coral that gives it it's name. I have some closeups in the gallery. While I was busy shooting photos, Jona just hovered off the reef and after allowing me to shoot a bunch up close he motioned me back away from the wall. When I backed off the wall about 3-4 meters it seemed to shimmer an almost iridescent blue color. I tried to take several photos of this, but was unable to get anything that looked close to what I saw with my eyes. You then swim along the wall, being careful to monitor your depth because you have no sense of how deep you are and it is very easy to just drift down into the abyss. Then you go through another swimthough which takes you shallower and into a totally different section of the reef teeming with life. Just too many photo opportunities on a single dive. Here we explored for a while and off gassed some nitrogen for the dive in the shallow water. We completed our safety stop, surfaced and were immediately picked up by Siti in longboat. Truly a memorable dive and I have done a bunch of those and don't throw those words around lightly. The Dive Academy Fiji group are very special in the care they give their guests/customers and I would highly recommend them to any diver wanting to experience diving in Fiji.] Back to Kim now--
While in the bay we also had the opportunity to do some snorkeling. There is an island inside the bay with some very shallow reef structures and some bommies coming up from deeper water. There is an orange ball marking a good place to get into the water and a place to tie the dinghy. Dive Academy has been recementing live corals that have broken off and would otherwise die, back to the ocean floor. We had one afternoon where anyone that wanted to take place in this process could cement some broken corals back to the ocean floor. After all of the years Steve and I have been diving it was nice to be able to replant some of the damaged corals. We saw the older corals that had been recemented and the process is working. Many of the other cruisers that were in the bay took part in the process. There are also several giant clams in the area to keep an eye out for while snorkeling in the shallow water.
We had several meals on shore with Marina and other cruisers or other guests staying in the accommodations. All of the meals were really delicious and we had a good time getting to know whoever may be ashore on the nights we were there. We were in the bay on the 4th of July so someone came up with the idea we should have a get together. We had a great turnout with locals, American cruisers and cruisers from other countries joining in for the cookout, dancing, singing, instrument playing and "fireworks" from old expired flares.
Another fun activity in the bay was Yoga By Tessa. We were only there for 3 days but we enjoyed every day that Tessa from S/V Rewa offered yoga classes on the beach. She had a great turn out and everybody really enjoyed and appreciated her instruction.
We decided to pull the anchor and move on, we were starting to grow "hair" on the side of the boat, which means we've stayed too long. Several boats mentioned they had a hard time getting the anchor up with all of the coral in the bay. We were lucky and did not have a problem with retrieving our anchor.
Next stop...... Somosomo for some fresh fruit and vegetables.