Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Fiji
Fiji’s attraction is primarily its white sandy beaches and postcard perfect islands with all-year-round tropical weather. But Fiji is also one of the best destination for those looking to explore the underwater world.
Often called the “soft coral capital of the world” the archipelago offers crystal blue warm waters, hundreds of colourful coral and fish species, wall dives, caves, and a few shipwrecks.
Lying between Vanua Levu and Taveuni, the Somosomo Strait is home to the world famous Rainbow Reef and The Great White Wall, two of Fiji’s best dive sites. The Somosomo Strait (Fijian for “good water”) has strong tidal currents which provide a constant flow of nutrients, idyllic for soft coral growth, healthy and diverse eco systems and plentiful fish life; imagine, Fiji can count over 1198 fish species and more than 230 hard and soft corals.
The Great White Wall is a sunken escarpment blanketed in luminescent white corals. Consistently rated as one of the world’s best dive sites, the wall is reached via a tubular swim-through and starts at a depth of 65 ft (20 m). Between a tangle of flexible, treelike soft coral are explosions of the harder stuff, home to millions of beautifully colored anthias and other pelagic fish. Larger species of marine life lurk there too, including manta rays, barracuda and harmless reef sharks.
The dive resorts of Taveuni don’t close since the diving is good all year round. April to October sees the main diving season, with July and September offering the best visibility. The water is at its warmest outside the main season when rain is more likely.
The Great Astrolabe Reef is one of the largest barrier reefs in the world and encompasses Kadavu Island, Ono Island and other small islands within a natural protective lagoon. The reef is predominantly located along the southern coast of Kadavu Island and arks north around Ono Island and further north to Buliya. It is rated as one of the world’s premier diving locations offering a great diversity and spectacle in coral structures and marine life.
There are three major passes into the Great Astrolabe, classified as an oceanic ribbon reef. The outer reef falls steeply 100 ft (30 m), followed by gentle sediment and rubble covered slopes to a depth of over 200 ft (60 m). In some areas parts of the reef have separated from the broad crest and formed pinnacles with valleys in between them. Depths in these valleys are as shallow as 15-30 ft (5-10 m). There are numerous caverns and caves at all depths. Beyond this the reef wall drops more than 1 mile (1.6 km) to the ocean floor.
The reef is a breeding ground for many large billfish (marlin) species, sharks, tuna, giant trevally, mahi-mahi (dolphinfish) and snapper, due to it having many channels leading from extremely deep water into shallow lagoons. Parts of the reef, such as Naiqoro Passage, one of the main passages, are protected from fishing and require entry fees. This is because Naiqoro Passage is one of the main thoroughfares for large fish.
The reef is a great location for experiencing marine life and coral diversity, being relatively unspoilt due to its distance from dense population. Buliya is famous for its manta ray snorkelling and is a highlight of travelling to Kadavu Island and Ono Island.
The water temperature varies from 77 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 32 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. The average visibility underwater is 82 ft (25 m), with visibility increasing to up to 130 ft (40 m) on clear, windless days.
Resorts on Kadavu Island and Ono Island offer accommodation with direct access to snorkelling and diving.
In general Fiji is a mid-range priced holiday/vacation destination with most of the accommodations in this range. It also has a variety of world class 5-star resorts and hotels. More budget resorts are being opened in remote areas, which will provide more tourism opportunities.