Ocean First Travel: Fiji 2022

By Ingrid on 11/8/22

Life on a liveaboard is fairly simple, dive, eat, sleep, and repeat until your computer wonders if you’ve grown gills. The trip aboard the Nai’a to the Lau Islands of Fiji was no exception. Well, maybe with one little humpback whale-sized difference. This was an exploratory diving and snorkeling trip in the hopes of snorkeling with migrating humpback whales. Fiji-2-(1).jpg

The first day on the trip was spent in Vatu-i-ra with some wild current, but we hopped in and enjoyed the ride around Howard’s Diner. The reefs of Fiji are loaded with soft corals the likes of which do not exist in the Caribbean and the current brings out the best of them. As the cruise continued east, we explored Namena Marine Reserve where the white tip reef sharks, humphead wrasse, and schools of barracudas kept everyone looking up from the reef. The night dives did not disappoint either, mating white tip reef harks, frisky green sea hares (think cute, giant sea slugs) getting to know each other, and an array of colorful sleeping fish tucked in for the night.

Not quite halfway through the cruise we made it to Wailagilala, the northern most island of the Lau Group and Fiji’s only true atoll. Here there be whales. We spotted our first humpbacks that morning and set off in the smaller boats to catch a glimpse of the passing leviathans. We had a few close encounters at the surface, but nothing underwater, yet. That night we were treated to an amazing Fijian feast on the beach with a spectacular sunset and bonfire.


The next morning, we were ready for whales. Setting out on the smaller boats we motored around the shallows waiting for the telltale breath of a whale. We weren’t disappointed. Sliding in head first, as silently as possible, we formed a chain to ensure we remained on one side of the resting cetacean and no one got in anyone’s camera frame! As the resting whale floated over a sandy patch, it became real. It really was a whale. As ‘she’ took off from the ocean floor, she looked over each of us, foreign with our strange appendages and squealing noises – or maybe that was just me.

The cruise must go on. Over the course of three days we were treated to a breaching humpback male, a singing male, and a mother and calf pair with moments of “there she blows” as the animals transited the ocean. And, there was always the diving, a spectacular underwater display of color and sights only found throughout the Indo-Pacific.Fiji-4.png 
While underway, we were treated to the Fijian Kava ceremony. Kava, or grog, is a mildly sedative drink made from the crushed root of the yaqona (or Kava kava) that is served in coconut shells from a communal bowl. While a bit bitter, it’s not really noticed after a while, when your mouth goes a bit numb and you begin relaxing enough to get up and dance as the crew performs a variety of native songs and a few familiar tunes that will have you humming along.  Our last day of diving was spent on the Sea Mounts and the iconic sites of Mellow Yellow, Mutiny, and E6. Imagine the most robust, jam-packed aquarium you’ve ever seen and then add the ability to dive in it. Stunning is the only word that comes to mind. Nat Geo and Discovery documentary quality dive sites, even with a GoPro! Sea turtles, nudibranchs, schools of anthias, sea anemones with their resident clownfish, and hunting trevally spread out over the most diverse hard and soft coral collections on the planet. The species diversity is truly mind blowing. Who’s ready to go back?



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