Feb. 1, 2018:
Near midnight after sailing out of Pago Pago on Jan. 29th, we crossed the International Dateline, which made Jan. 30th disappear. Woe to the poor passenger aboard whose birthday was Jan. 30th! No cake for her!
We sailed into our next port of call; Suva, Fiji; on Feb. 1, 2018. We are on the big island of Viti Levu, which is home to both the major towns of Suva and Lautoka. We had a fairly late arrival in port this morning (about 10:00), but we were able to put together a dive excursion for after our arrival with several other passengers. The dive operator, Aquatrek, took us about a half hour up the coast to an area known as Pacific Harbor, which is where several of the resorts are located. Their dive operation is run out of one of those resorts, which has open water access from a kind of bayou area. There were six of us from the ship, and the pick up at the harbor went fairly smoothly.
Our dives today are going to take place just off the coast near a small island called Beqa. Many of the dive operators in Fiji are located on the outlying islands, or operate from live-aboard dive boats. In fact, this was the only dive operator I could find close to Suva on the mainland. However, what I didn’t know was that the currents come up pretty strong on this side of the island in the afternoon. This made for a couple of very strenuous dives, and resulted in a lot of particles in the water. However, we saw some great things (even if the photos don’t do them justice).
This area of Fiji is known for two things: brilliantly colored soft corals and plentiful shark life. The dive we selected was the coral dive, and I was really looking forward to trying to continue improving my camera skills underwater. We were also excited to learn that there were tons of varieties of reef fishes that we had never seen before. I didn’t even have a “fish finder” to tell us what we had seen! The corals were every bit as spectacular as advertised. We even saw a sea turtle! This is definitely an area to which we must return.