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Me diving

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fiji Day 5: Somosomo Strait

Today we went to Somosomo Strait, which I thought would be the best dives of the trip, since this area is so famous.  But actually I think that Namena was better (though Somosomo was certainly the second best).  The sea conditions were super good for the trip, so it actually took less than 90 minutes, even though it usually takes a bit longer.  First we did White Wall, which is so named because the wall is thickly covered with tons of white (or blue white, really) soft corals that are so thick that when you look down the wall, it looks white.  It was  neat but would have been neater a bit deeper :)  We dropped into a sand bowl on top and inside of the wall, and then swam though a swimthrough that leads you to the outside of the wall.  You pop out on the wall and swim against the current halfway, and then the wall curves around at some point and you drift back with the current.  We went a bit deeper than most of the people, I guess because this was discouraged by the DMs during the dive briefing :)  But once you were at 90', the soft corals were thicker, and looking down, it just got better.  Sadly we did not break 100'.

There was a good bit of current when we got in, but it was certainly manageable.  We went around the wall twice, and the current was noticeably stronger the second time around.  By the end of the dive, the current was absolutely ripping, and all of the divers were stacked on the downline hanging on like flags.  I had to hand-walk over all of the people on the line, then when I got to the top, I let go, drifted swiftly to the back of the boat and popped up just behind the ladder and grabbed the current line.  If I had missed the current line, or let go of it, there was no way I would have made it back to the boat under my own power :)  It was quite amazing considering how little current there was when we got in.

We slowly meandered down the strait, killing time during the surface interval, and eventually ended up at Rainbow Reef for the second dive.  It was a fun dive, but I didn't think it was epic (which is weird, since it is such a famous site).  We started on top of a wall (maybe more of a slope), holding on against the current, watching a reef shark, some Napoleon wrasses and lots of other fish swim by.  I wasn't really sure what we were waiting for, so eventually Rob and I headed down the slope.  There were a bunch of outcroppings with all different colored soft corals on them.  There was a bit of current, making it sort of a pain to line up for pictures. Anyway, after Rob got a bunch of pictures, we found that the rest of the herd was gone, but there was one DM who hung back with us.  I couldn't figure out if this was intentional or a coincidence, but he shadowed us for the rest of the dive, so I guess it was intentional.

There were lots of nudibranchs, tons of all different colored fish (mostly on the reef top), many different colors of soft coral, and more wrasse and shark action.  I liked the shallows a lot because there were tons of anthias.  We eventually thumbed it, shot a bag, and headed up.  We were pretty far from the boat.  I guess we didn't cover nearly as much ground as the rest of the divers.  They got to see blue ribbon eels.  I guess that's what we get for straying.  Eventually the boat came and picked us up, and we made it back to the hotel surprisingly fast.

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