I have been fortunate enough to visit Fiji twice. The first time was on the way back from Papua New Guinea and we dove Bligh Waters on the north end of Viti Levu. I was really impressed by the visibility of Bligh Waters! I was afraid it would be a let down after PNG but it wasn’t at all. Fiji is known for its colorful soft coral. What they don’t tell you about soft coral before you get there is that soft coral requires current to open up & look so beautiful.
It really is stunning to see the many colorful corals and sponges of Fiji. They also have a great variety of fish and critters in Bligh Waters. We mostly dove pinnacles in the open ocean. These dives are best reserved for an experienced diver because of the possibility of strong currents. That said, there is diving that is for all experience levels in Fiji.
The vista from our resort, Wananavu, was unbelievable as you can see below. We were treated to a nightly Kava Kava ceremony and the friendliness that Fiji is famous for. Literally everyone was friendly and gave a “Bula” when they saw you. That is the Fijian greeting. You really felt welcome and appreciated.
The topography underwater was pretty spectacular too. There was a lot of structure and swim-thrus on some dives. The one above was one of my favorites. The water was so clear and blue it made for a really spectacular background for shots like the fan below.
The colors are so fun underwater. When you put a light or flash on it, it comes to life. There were a lot of critters too. The nudibranch above is such a pretty one. They are fun to photograph because there are hundreds of varieties.
The second time I visited Fiji for a dive trip was to the southern end of Viti Levu to dive Beqa Lagoon. This is an easy diving area. There are lots of pinnacles and rock outcroppings to swim around and between. You just never know what you were going to see. Nudibranch’s, octopus, eels, anemone fish, scorpionfish, and many others.
I really enjoyed the anemone fish here (nemo fish). There had been some rain before we arrived so the visibility was not nearly as good as my last trip but there were so many things to see, it was great diving. I also experienced El Nino for the first time. I never knew what a difference in water temperature it really made. The water was at least 4-5 degrees cooler and when diving, that is a huge difference. They offer a shark dive there that is pretty entertaining. You can see up to 7 different shark species on a single dive. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any spectacular pictures because of the visibility but the memories are priceless.
We stayed at Waidroka Resort on the south end of Viti Levu. They offer both diving and surfing. The staff was wonderful and had that same friendly Fijian style. One day we went diving at Frigates Reef, one of the favorite surf sites too. It was great! I would say that for experience level, Beqa Lagoon is more suited to all levels, including a new diver than Bligh Waters. I would also say that you would see so many things here, if you were a new diver, it would boggle the mind!
It is hard to compare the two ends because the weather made the diving so different. I really enjoyed both but the visibility and water temperature make me naturally prefer the diving in Bligh Waters on the first trip. However, if those two things had been equal, there was a lot to see on the southern end that made it really fun. The shark dive and the variety of fish and critters made it special. Getting to Fiji is really pretty easy. From LAX, it is an easy 10 hour flight on Air Pacific with great food, great service and free wine. How can you beat that!