My trip to Fiji began in the beautiful Rakiraki, located on the north coast of the main island Viti Levu. Travelling from Nadi airport up to Rakiraki was an enjoyable ride. My views out the window were beautiful, lush mountains, locals selling fresh fruit from wooden huts and huge smiles and waves from every passing pedestrian. The happiness of Fiji blew me away. Warm welcomes and a loud “bula!” (Fijian for hello) from everyone I met really put a smile back on my face. Our first stay was at the beautiful Volivoli Beach Resort. We were welcomed with a refreshing drink and cool towels. Volivoli is located on a downward slope ending on the beach front. There are incredible views from every direction of the resort. I met my luggage in my Premium Oceanview Bure (Fijian word for a wood-and-straw hut, sometimes similar to a cabin). The room was beautiful and spacious and I was more than happy to start my trip here.
Our first stop in Fiji Diving
Before we could even settle in, my wetsuit was on and my dive gear was organised for our first dive. Volivoli has their own dive shop on site named “Ra divers”. It is an SSI dive shop with an incredible compressor set up; 4 compressors and 12 fill-whips. Our first dive was at the magnificent dive site called “Mellow Yellow”. We were on the hunt to beat the previous group with how many Pipefish we could find. We ended up spotting 9 pipefish which was the record. But what really took my breath away were the soft corals. I can argue now that Fiji really is the “soft coral capital of the world”. Gorgeous Gorgonian Fans and incredible Whip Corals filtered throughout the dive site bringing so much colour and beauty to the waters.
Our second day at Volivoli Beach Resort started with a big continental breakfast followed by a great day on the dive boat. We started at a site called “Golden Dream” then moved on to a site called “Chile”. Golden Dream was an incredible coral wall with a big drop off over the side. The wall was inhabited with common reef fish such as Clown Fish and Parrot Fish. But we also saw a Moray Eel and some reef sharks. Chile was my favourite dive within the Bligh Waters of Rakiraki. It had absolutely beautiful soft corals located inside amazing swim throughs. The colours of the eco-system was stunning and the macro life which inhabited it was unlike any I’ve seen before. It is fair to say I was already very impressed with the diving in Fiji. When we finished our 3rd dive with Ra Divers we were hugged goodbye by the incredible staff of the resort and dive shop and made our way to our next stop, Wananavu Beach Resort.
Wananavu Beach Resort
Just a short 10 minute drive from Volivoli Beach Resort and we arrived at Wananavu Beach Resort. Guitar strumming and happy singing voices are what welcomed us off the bus and into the resort. Walking to our rooms, we were surrounded with lush tropical greenery with the beautiful view of the ocean in front of all our rooms. Once again before we could unpack we were back on another dive boat. Wananavu has a dive shop on site as well, Dive Wananavu. The dive shop looks out at a beautiful little lagoon. The water is bright aqua surrounded by palm trees. It’s truly a sight to see! We headed out to the local reefs which was only a short 15-minute boat ride away and begun our dive at a site called “Amazing Maze”. This dive site was made up of a maze of swim throughs and caves in between a group of bommies. Again, the colour and macro life was wonderful! We even saw a beautiful Lion Fish hanging out in one of the swim throughs. Once back on the boat we had some refreshments and headed back for some delicious dinner at the resort’s restaurant.
Onwards to Pacific Harbour
The next morning, I woke up to a beautiful view of the green tropical plants with the ocean in the background. We packed our bags and said our goodbyes to the lovely staff. We started to make our trip down to Pacific Harbour. A 5-hour drive down to Nadi to pick up some more divers. We had some dinner at Smugglers Cove Resort, a backpacking resort specialising in fun adventures. We boarded back on the bus and headed to Pacific Harbour. Uprising Beach Resort was our next destination. We arrived late at night and I was ready for bed.
I woke up in my Classic Standard Bure which was very spacious and had a real Fijian Vibe to it. The room came with an outdoor shower which was perfect after diving. Today we dived with BAD (Beqa Adventure Divers) for our first shark dive! I loved diving in Rakiraki with the beautiful coral and macro life, but sharks have always been my favourite. To say I was excited was an understatement. We hopped on the boat and cruised down the river which ran into the ocean. The crew were very efficient and friendly. They gave us a brief of our dives and talked to us about their conservation programs. After a giant stride into the water we descended to around 30m where we knelt in front of a “shark arena”. There were already about 6 Bull Sharks gliding through the water right in front of me. The Bull Sharks were absolutely beautiful and graceful. The dive masters were feeding the sharks, but we were reassured that the way they feed them is sustainable. The sharks don’t depend on the food that they’re being fed. It’s more of a snack that they get and when we’ve left they go and hunt their own main course. After we watched the Bull Sharks in awe we ascended to our safety stop at 5m. This was no ordinary safety stop. We got another marvellous show. Dozens of reef sharks came to grab a bite to eat too. We were pretty much face to face with the sharks. I even got a tail fin to the head by one. As if the sharks weren’t enough, right at my feet was a friendly Moray Eel. Poking his head out of his home to say hello and steal some food for himself. After our 2 dives at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve we headed back to the dive shop. Everyone on the boat had huge smiles from ear to ear.
Once back at Uprising Beach Resort, we had a tour of the premises. Uprising is located directly on the beach with beautiful Fijian accommodation. They are very environmentally friendly with a mangrove program called “Mangroves for Fiji”. They are also doing renovations to make their accommodation more environmentally friendly. It was really great to see a popular resort helping out as much as they can. After our tour we had some lunch and moved on again to another resort, The Pearl South Pacific Resort.
The Pearl is a little different to the other resorts we had been staying at. It is a very large, luxurious beach front resort. Once I settled into my lovely Premium Marina View room I had some free time, which was nice after a constant schedule. I got to relax and walk around the resort. The resort was broken up into beach view area, marina view area and garden view area. Each area was beautiful and unique. We had a delicious dinner at the marina restaurant and then headed to bed for another early night.
Today was another shark dive day! We headed across the road to Aqua Trek Dive Centre. We were welcomed with big smiles and a lot of excitement. Once all geared up we headed out again through to Beqa Lagoon. This dive we reached a depth of 18m which is where we were greeted with Bull Sharks, Silvertip Sharks, Tawny Nurse Sharks, Sicklefin Lemon Sharks, Black Tip Sharks, White Tip Sharks and one beautiful Tiger Shark. I honestly couldn’t count how many sharks there were all together. It was like a storm of sharks right in front us. It was marvellous!! 2 dives with Aqua Trek honestly wasn’t enough. I even had a problem that my mask would fill with water constantly because I was smiling too much. In our surface interval we had the dive master explain to us how the company started and how the area where they feed sharks is now protected from fishing. This helps preserve the shark tourism of Fiji and helps the sharks live a longer happier life. I felt sombre when we headed back to the dive shop. But knowing I still had one more day of diving kept that smile on my face. When we got back to The Pearl we had a short trip to our next resort.
Waidroka Surf & Dive
Waidroka Bay Resort was our next home for the night. We had a bumpy ride up and down some very steep roads to make our way to the resort, but the views from the top of hills were breathtaking: Vibrant green mountains towering over a bright blue ocean. Waidroka Bay Resort specialise in surfing and diving. They have a dive shop within the resort which makes things very easy. Once we emerged from the bus we were welcomed again with delicious drinks and eager dive masters to take us out. We did 2 dives at Waidroka Bay Resort, Fantasy 1 and Seven Sisters within Beqa Lagoon. Even though Beqa Lagoon is known for its sharks, these dive sites were remarkable! Fantasy 1 had beautiful colourful corals and incredible swim throughs. It had little caves to poke your head into and check out the marvellous coral formations. We even had a friendly Reef Shark follow us for part of the dive. During our surface interval we made our way over to one of the surrounding islands. It had white soft sand and the water was crystal clear. It was a stunning area to have a surface interval. Once we refuelled on some snacks we dived the Seven Sisters site. This site is a wreck located about 30m deep. It was full of marine life and had a resident black Frog Fish. It was perfect to play around and swim in and out of. The little critters that called the wreck their home were full of life and awesome to play around with. This was a great last dive for the trip.
All together Fiji was incredible! The happiness that ran through the community was so infectious. Fiji has something for all divers, from macro diving up in Rakiraki to big sharks down in Pacific Harbour. Each resort was unique and had some of the loveliest staff I’ve ever come across. Fiji is an incredible country with beautiful people, nature and waters. I can’t wait to return and explore more of the country and to keep diving the warm, crystal clear ocean.