Known as the soft coral capital of the world, the reef around the Fijian island of Vanua Levu provides a once in a lifetime experience. Diving in the South Pacific is a wondrous adventure as you swim over some of the world’s most abundant coral reefs teeming with multi-coloured fish and other forms of sea life. There’s easy access to a wide variety of sites: shallow reefs with spectacular plate corals, coral pinnacles topped with clouds of purple anthias and damsel fish, and deeper reefs with steep walls dropping away to 250 meters and more where you may see some of the larger species. There are over 20 moored dive sites around Savusavu, ranging from five minutes to one hour away by boat. These include:
Namena Island: The reef and waters around Namena have been a Marine Reserve since 2004, and as a result, the marine life has blossomed. There’s a huge diversity of hard and soft corals, with a prolific array of fish and other species such as nudibrancs, shrimp, and Christmas worms.
Big Blue: Offers a steep drop off with giant gorgonian fans covered with feather stars. There’s a good chance of seeing turtles, mantas, and other large fish.
Hole in the Wall: A vertical drop off supporting huge gorgonian fans. Fish include tuna, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, and possibly bronze whalers.
Alice in Wonderland: One of the easiest and most accessible sites with beautiful mushroom-shaped coral heads where lobsters hide away. Shark are almost guaranteed at Alice.
Na Sonisoni Passage: A drift dive along a wall covered with stunning displays of hard and soft coral. There are bommies with a mass of purple soft corals fed by the nutrients of the Koro Sea, large barracuda, and regular sightings of gray reef sharks and white tips.
Daku Resort at Savusavu has recently teamed up with L’Aventure Jean-Michel Cousteau to offer unforgettable diving at affordable prices. Currently you can get five days of diving and seven nights accommodation twin share for F$1,680 (approximately US$890, A$1,380, or NZ$1,680). A single supplement of F$400 applies. These rates are valid until August 31, 2011, and airport transfers from Savusavu Airport are included (airfare is extra). The price doesn’t include meals because the organizers figure that the sort of people who enjoy Daku are also a bit adventurous and will like going into town and trying out the local restaurants. However, Daku does have a bar/restaurant and they’re happy to cook for you. To book, call them in Fiji at (+679) 885-0046 or in Australia at (+61) 02-9969-4753, email daku <AT> connect.com.fj.