It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Taveuni, Fiji: Day 1

We got to the resort just a little after 11. After getting checked in and to our room, Rob was of course very eager to go diving, but the dive crew was all out on the boat at the moment. When the boat got back, Rob talked to someone there and they said we could go out diving at 3. Rob had to sweet-talk our way into diving that day, because they generally want to see a checkout dive. But they asked when our last dive was and we said Thursday, so they allowed us to skip the checkout dive :P

So we headed to lunch (Rob had fried chicken and I had chicken and pineapple pizza) and figured we'd kill some time afterward and then go diving. I guess there was some kind of misunderstanding, though, because just as we were finishing lunch, Flo came by and told us that the boat was leaving in 15 minutes. I think the 3pm dive suggestion had been for a shore dive. I'm not really sure, but we basically rushed back to the room, got all of our gear over to the shop, got into our wetsuits, and were on the boat in like 15 minutes. Phew.

We were diving a spot that was around the point on the southern end of Taveuni, about 20 minutes away, in an area called Vuna Reef. It was a little sporty for some of the ride, but nice and calm near the actual site. I wasn't necessarily expecting a lot out of this dive, since it was a "local" site, but I was pleasantly surprised. The site consisted mostly of hard coral, but it was very dense, healthy-looking hard coral. I'm not a huge fan of hard coral, but it was a nice looking site. It sloped down to a wall starting around 50 or 60 feet, and at some points, the wall was very vertical.

There was barely any current, but there were some spots where there were soft corals that were pretty open. There was this one spot on the wall right around 100 feet that had some big soft corals that were open. So of course we went down there to hang out, and Rob went a little deeper than I thought was prudent ;). (We were diving air because they couldn't get us nitrox in the last minute scramble to get us on the boat.). Before the dive, the DM had said that the max depth was 70 feet, but for us, we could go to 100 feet since this was our first dive of the day :)

Eventually we came up a bit shallower and I was searching and searching for nudibranchs, without finding much (other than those boring white with blue stripe dorids). Eventually I was rewarded though, because I found a yellow and black slug with a frilly border (I think it was Doriprismatica sibogae). This was probably the highlight of the dive for me, but Rob really liked the soft coral.

After we got back to the resort, Rob enquired about the house reef and got some details on where to find some critters. We were given directions for a spot with two blue ribbon eels and possibly as many as three Pygmy seahorses. I was not super optimistic about our ability to find any of these things :). The directions were something along the lines of... swim to that mooring ball, descend there, look in that direction and you will see a bommie with lots of tiny fish on it. The eels are just below that bommie. So we swam to the mooring ball and started our descent. I somehow had it in my mind based on how far we swam out, that the bottom would be like 30 feet deep, but in fact it was like 60 feet deep, and my ears were *not* cooperating. Rob got down to the mooring block and for like the next 5 minutes, I was slowly working my way down. Okay maybe it didn't take me quite that long.

When we got to the bottom, we were looking all around the mooring block for a bit, then I decided to look in "that" direction and see if there was some obvious other bommie to look at. And I noticed all these tiny fish on one, and swam over and right at the bottom, there were two blue ribbon eels. Woot! So we got some photo and video (attempts) of them, and then we scoured that bommie looking for Pygmy seahorses. We never did find any. After the dive, we were told that the seahorses are on the bommie below the eels, not above it, but that they also may no longer be there. So we will have to try again later.

We didn't find a ton of other macro critters. A few of those yellow and black nudibranchs that look like flat worms, an actual small white flatworm, and a brown with blue tips Dorid. But those last two things we found on the way up after we'd decided to head in, so overall it didn't feel like a super productive dive. But it's definitely a legitimate "house reef" that they have here, which is good.

It was a little after 5 when we got back from the dive, so after a bit of loafing around, we headed to the bar to get pina coladas before dinner. We sat overlooking the water by the pool and drank them, then eventually headed to dinner. We both had the Osso bucca which seemed like way too much food when they brought it, but I ended up being glad, because I was hungry! For dessert we got some sort of chocolate cake and ice cream. I was exhausted at this point, and insisted that we head back to our room so we could go to bed early. I think I fell asleep before 9 :)

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