The Fiji WOW Factor

It truly is a small world…sitting at breakfast getting ready to start our second day of diving, a nice lady at the table looked at me and said, “you look very familiar and I think I know who you are”!  Uh oh, I thought to myself ;-).  It turns out that she lives in Long Beach and is a volunteer at The Scuba Show every year!  We started talking and have many friends in common!  This does happen often but it still never ceases to amaze me!

The seas were flat calm, blue skies and clear water so we were hoping for an extraordinary day of diving.  I can say without a doubt that the diving Gods were upon us and Fiji did not disappoint!

There were only the 2 of us diving and Paul, the dive guide.  Because of the conditions, we decided Frigates it was and what a right decision.  Little to no current and great vis we wondered around an underwater playground swimming in and around massive cracks and swim through covered in beautiful corals, sea fans and whips.  The tops of the mounts were shallow with straight vertical to around 90+ feet but there was no need to go any deeper than 60 – 70 ft.  Reef fish of all sizes and colors, nudibranchs, crabs, a few white tips, and a black tip shark.  The highlight of the dive came towards the end of the dive.  Unfortunately, my GoPro died before I even got in the water.  Ok, I hear all ofyou saying and thinking….Yeah right, no pics/videos so it didn’t happen but it was witnessed by the other 2 divers in the water with me!

While just hovering above a beautiful coral head poking around I saw a turtle about 30 feet away heading for the surface for a breath of air and then realized that there was another turtle about 3 feet from me!  I was not expecting much more than the brief sighting.  As we continued to swim towards where I saw the turtle going to surface for air, he met us at the bommie.  As we watched him swimming in circles looking for a meal of coral and sponge, he got a little too close to a large Anemone that several, very large Clarke Anemone fish called home.  The were swimming up to his nose, eyes, fins and were attacking him!  The turtle started swatting them with his front flippers!  I guess he had enough and turned towards me and kept swimming to my face.  I thought, no way, he is going to turn and swim away as fast as he can.  I stood my ground and just hovered staring at him and he continued swimming very slowing to me until he was about 2 inches from my mask.  He was locked in on me and just hovered inches from my nose for about 30 seconds.  He finally broke my stare and he swam past me almost hitting me with his flippers!  He continued to swim around the top of the coral head and once again was being attacked by the Anemone Fish!  I could have sat there forever watching and interacting with this extremely friendly Hawksbill but it was time to surface!  Turning and heading back to the boat, another turtle appeared and seemed to want to interact as well!

As soon as our heads hit the surface, I think all 3 of us spit our regs out at the same time and couldn’t wait to talk about what we just saw!

We spent the surface interval a stone’s throw away from Frigate’s break but no surfers to watch today.

The water was still nice and flat and we prepared to go in for our second dive not knowing what to expect!  The dive was beautiful with cracks and crevices to swim through, with lots of sea whips, sea fans, and hard corals.  We weaved in and out of the coral formations to end up doing our surface interval near the top of the reef with brilliant colored corals, sponges and some soft corals.  We had a few sharks not the dive, a massive school of black and white snappers and a turtle at the very end of the dive but he did not want anything to do with us!

About 10 minutes or so into our journey back to Waidroka, a very large pod of Pacific White Sided or Common Dolphins began playing in our wake and jumping around us.  We got up on the bow of the boat where I was able to get video ;-).  I asked if it was possible to stop and get in and see if they wanted to play.  I was not holding out too much hope for this but we gave it a try anyway.

To our amazement there were a handful of dolphins that decided to hang out about 30 feet from the back of the boat.  I threw on my fins, mask and snorkel and jumped in.  I had charged my Go Pro in between dives and had it turned on as I got in the water from the dive ladder.  As soon as I entered the water you could hear the dolphins and within a few seconds I had a “fly by” and a few more seconds watching the 3 or 4 that were left of the pod interact!

What an amazing finish to the day of diving!  Once under way again, the pod rejoined the festivities at the bow.

As soon as I figure out how to post videos, I will – GoPro to me is new so don’t know how to edit or post yet but I promise I will!

Ok, going to make a quick dive and will post some images in a bit.

Hope you are enjoying!

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