Diving Taveuni

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Taveuni, Fiji

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Country: Fiji  Area: Fiji

Water Temp: 24 - 30°C (75 - 86°F)

Visibility: 15 - 40m (49 - 131 ft)

Turtles Nesting – Oct to Jan, Hatching – Jan to April, Grey Reef Sharks Mating - Apr to May

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White Sand beaches lined with swaying Palm trees and beautiful blue water full of life, Fiji really is a tropical paradise. Known to many divers as “The Soft Coral Capital of the World” you can witness wondrous colourful displays when the coral is in bloom.

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Set in the South Pacific, Fiji consists of over 300 islands, not all inhibited and the majority of which were created by volcanic activity. Taveuni known as “The Garden of Fiji” is the top of a huge volcano which has risen from the sea floor, and still has geothermal activity taking place today. It is the third largest island in Fiji. Life on Taveuni leisurely revolves around rainforest hikes, waterfall swims and phenomenal scuba diving. Days and nights move at a quiet and slow place – making this one of the most idyllic and peaceful island retreats possible!

The underwater world around Taveuni is a full of colours and experiences.  The waters are highly nutrient filled which means they can support rich large marine eco systems full of life, this creates many wonderful dive sites. 

Clown triggerfish,Credit

The Somosomo Strait runs between Taveuni and the island of Vanua Levu and is home to the world famous Rainbow Reef covered with beautiful soft coral reefs, which have earned Fiji the title of “Soft Coral Capital of the World”.  Many Divers will visit this area to witness the wonderful soft coral blooms created by when the nutrient filled currents run past.  When there is any noticeable current the corals open up and spread out, showing their bright and stunning colours to feed on the nutrients flowing past.

These nutrient rich waters are not just attractive to the coral, they also are responsible for the abundant flora and fauna on the reefs and also bring in pelagic fish life. With over 1000 species of fish and hundreds of corals, anemonies and molluscs the reefs have a huge diversity of marine life which attracts the larger pelagic fish life such as barracudas, reef sharks and even the occasional Manta Ray.

Anemone Fish, Credit

Climate & Sea conditions

Taveuni has a tropical climate with a dry and rainy season, but it is warm all year round, even at the coldest part of the year during the dry season the temperature still averages 22C. The Dive season runs all year round with April to October being peak season with the best visibility but it is also the coldest time of the year with water temperatures falling to the low 20s. It can also be windy causing choppy seas. The Rainy season runs from December through to March and although the visibility isn’t as great due to plankton blooms the water temperature warms up and peaks at a toasty warm 30C and without the winds the water is flat calm. So basically divers have a choice, cold but crystal clear waters or warm, calm waters but with less visibility.

Soft coral, Credit

Marine Conservation

Fiji’s oldest marine park, Watabu, is located on the island of Taveuni. Local villages declared that fishing was illegal in 1998, and in the years since there has been significant regrowth and repopulation in these waters. The park itself is co-managed by the surrounding communities, local and international NGOs, tourism operators and the government. In 2004, it was reported that the park had restored normal marine life populations – a huge accomplishment given its initial state! Furthermore, the park has generated significant income for local populations through eco-tourism initiatives. Poaching from neighbouring communities is however a remaining issue.

Wabatu falls within the Bouma National Heritage Park  which conserves both the marine environment and the surrounding terrestrial areas.

A number of NGOs also work independently in the area, in an effort to conserve resident shark and turtle populations.

 
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Shore Diving

A handful of shore dives are accessible from local dive shops – though these are generally house reefs for beginners. The best diving occurs by boat.

Tauveni Starfish,Credit

Boat Diving

The Rainbow Reefs near Taveuni take their name from the multi coloured corals that are the colours of the Rainbow.  The currents are a main factor here as they are responsible for the spectacular soft coral displays so the majority of these sites are only suitable for more experienced divers.  The reef has many coral bommies covered with macro life, including numerous Christmas tree worms, nudibranches and little anemone fish.  All this colour and life makes this a photographers paradise.  Try not to focus all your attention on the coral and small reef life though, if you look into the blue or reef passageways there is a chance of spotting a White tip reef shark or leopard shark swimming gracefully through the current.

Giant Moray,Credit

The Great White Wall is a major attraction in this area and a site cannot be missed by experienced divers when visiting Taveuni and the Rainbow Reefs. It is named for the unusual luminescent white coral which lines the vertical wall from 15m down to over 65m. This spectacular scene appears like the entire wall is covered in a white blanket of snow, and as the depth increases the white takes on a more iridescent lavender hue. The dive is one of the few deep dives in Fiji and you have to be very careful not to go too deep as it can be hard to get a visual reference on the immense wall of white.  conditions permit this dive can also offer a couple of swimthroughs.

Blue ribbbon eel,Credit

Although a lot of the dive sites are for the more experienced diver due to the strong currents and need for good buoyancy skills, there are also many dive sites for beginner divers. One such is Bonnies Boulder, it is a large shallow pinnacle with moderate currents. There are plenty of large hard and soft coral formations and the chance to see White Tip Reef Sharks cruising past, so is a great dive for any beginners.

Other than the plentiful marine life you can spot whilst diving, in season you may also have the opportunity to spot whales at the surface whilst on the boat in between dives. Humpback whales migrate past Fiji to give birth in the warmer waters from July to September, also numerous pods of Dolphins pass through and can frequently be seen playing in the  surf of the boat.

Anthias on staghorn Annies Bommie, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

A handful of liveaboards incorporate dive sites around Taveuni into their tour of Fiji. The S/Y Fiji Siren travels here, as well as to the Somosomo Strait, Lomaiviti Island and through the Namena Reserve.

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How to Get there

Fiji has an International airport at Nadi and is easily reached from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The country has an excellent local travel network consisting of frequent domestic flights, local buses and ferries between the islands.

Diving Tauveni, Credit

The best way to get from main arrival island of Viti Levu to the island of Taveuni is by a domestic flight from Nadi or Suva, or by a ferry from Suva Port.

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Where to Eat & Drink

While meals and drinking on Taveuni tend to revolve around the resorts, there are a few independent restaurants and bars worth exploring. Generally, they serve a mix of international and Pacific dishes. Audrey’s Island Coffee and Pastries is certainly worth visiting if craving a cake or pastries. Everything there is homemade and served with a great view of the coast. Coconut Grove is also a pleasant spot for homemade pasta, fresh fish and a number of vegetarian fish – though it is worth giving them a heads up if you plan to go for dinner. Tramonto has some of the best pizza!

Tauveni, Fiji, Credit

Taveumi has a fairly subdued nightlife. It is possible to grab a few cocktails from local restaurants and resort bars – but you’ll find little in the way of clubs and pulsing nightlife. Part of the appeal for many!

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Other Activities

Taveuni’s terrestrial environment is just as impressive as the underwater landscapes. It has earned a reputation as the ‘Garden Island’ with its lush rainforests, stunning flowers and numerous waterfalls. There are numerous hikes through the forests, which last anywhere from an hour to a full day. A favourite begins in the village of Vidawa and is led by local shamans. It leads hikers through the forest, in time to spend a few hours at a beautiful tropical waterfall. Other outfitters will help organize treks to Fiji’s second highest peak (Des Voeux Peak) or to Lake Tagimaucia. The Bouma National Heritage Park covers 80% of the island’s surface area and is also a great place for hiking, and a visit to the three Tavoro Waterfalls.

Wainibau Falls, Tauveni, Credit

Bird watchers will be especially thrilled with hikes in the area. The island is home ot a number of endemic and endangered spcies. The red-breasted musk parrot, the silktails and the orange-breasted doves are among some of the best spottings.

Otherwise, its worth visiting the Peckham Pearl Farm, where you can explore the black-pearl farm with a snorkel in the Naselesele lagoon.

There are also plenty of spas, and a single golf course, for those looking for a bit of indulgence.

It is well worth taking the time to experience the Fijian culture and a great way to do this is to join in a traditional kava session along with singing, dancing and a cultural feast.  All of these points along with the brilliant diving makes Fiji a top destination for any diver.

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Tips

Fijian people are very friendly and are always happy to help travellers with any questions or problems they may have.

Taveuni has its own hospital and police station. There are also bigger hospitals in Nadi and Suva and the recompression chamber can also be found in Suva.

Coral reef, Tauveni, Credit

Travellers should exercise common-sense caution while travelling but Fiji is a friendly and open place, ideal for getting around and making friends with the local people.

There are two grocery stores in Taveuni for those wishing to self-cater. Otherwise, meals will largely be organized by your particular resort.

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Rating 10/10

The Great White Wall

Taveuni26 Nov 2017 - 30 Nov 2017 with Paradise Taveuni

The soft coral capital of the world’s signature dive offers an astounding wall of pure white soft coral. This site is definitely the world famous Rainbow Reef’s top draw. A coral encrusted swim – through leads onto the wall from the reef top. A dazzling myriad of color and life inhabits the reef top. Manta rays glide past with ethereal grace. On exiting the water from this site an awed silence lasts awhile before an excited chatter that lasts for days starts among divers. Not to be missed!

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Edward Callahan

This sounds amazing!

Rating 10/10

Dream-house

Taveuni5 Jun 2012 - 4 Sep 2012

Diving out of Savusavu the main town on Venua Levu.

Dreamhouse is a poligic sight. You descend down onto the sea mount lying at 15 meters/50ft the sea mount itself is a cleaning station for batfish/sail fish.

Off the sea mount lives a resident school of 1-200 scalloped hammerheads. The current needs to be coming the right direction (onto the mount from the seaward side). You'll swim out off the seamount into the blue, the bottom is 400 meters/1200ft beneath you (you can't see it!) so I don't recommend this dive if you have a fear of open spaces!

There's a strong head current, if your not prepared for that it can be quite a stressful dive, so prepare for a leg work out! You swim out through the curtain of rainbow runner, jacks, surgeon fish and grey reef sharks into the blue. Upwelling brings up nutrients from the deep so the rest of the food chain is there to party, 100's of barracuda's, tuna and smaller fish, and then shimmering in the distance a ghostly, slivery white they emerge in all their glory, encircling you, pealing off to come and investigate you!

One word, awesome!

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Catherine Jones

Im so jealous! The hammerheads look amazing! Ive only ever seen one or two at one time.

Rating 8/10

Nasonisoni Passage

Taveuni15 Jan 2012 - 27 Mar 2012

Listed in the Lonely Planet guidebook as one of the top 5 dive sites in Fiji the passage has more current than a Christmas cake if you catch my drift. Boom boom.

At some points during the dive here I thought I was in a washing machine, the currents can be that strong! It's a supper fun packed dive with loads to see providing your not shooting by at 100 mph. While down there you'll see some amazing coral formations, big groupers and trevallies, sharks, barracudas and perhaps if your insanely lucky manta rays!

The dive site itself is situated just of Nasonisoni Island [or as its known locally Navatu island] and can be dived from Savusavu dive resorts [Koro Sun Dive].

I recommended having done some drifting before heading there, again definitely worth a visit.

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Nathan Murphy

Sounds tricky diving!

scubadiver

Mickael Jeunes

Guessing not a beginner dive site! Maybe in the future...

Rating 8/10

Nemena Marine Reserve

Taveuni15 Jan 2012 - 27 Mar 2012

During the three month period I spent in Fiji I dived in Nemena Marine Reserve 6 times and each dive yielded far better results. The marine reserve was set up in 1997 by the chiefs of Kubulau in response to an increase in commercial fishing.

Surrounding the tiny island of Namenalala the reserve stretches approximately 70 square kilometers. The park it's self is home to a remarkable variety of fish, invertebrates and coral species. It's also the only known Humback whale calving site in Fiji.

Most of these took place around the horshoe-shapped barrier reef in unspoiled crystal-clear waters, swimming with schools of barracuda and sharks. Exploring 1000ft vertical drop-offs and riding the currents up chimney while watching the underwater world go by.

definitely worth a visit.

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George Taylor

Sounds incredible - did you dive with Humpbacks or see them from the boat?

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