Sitting down for dinner with the team and guests at Waidroka Bay Resort
, we knew right away that this was our sort of place. Diving, conservation and marine life talk buzzed around the table and our excitement grew for the diving ahead. The resort has a mixture of surfers and divers, and the divers are here for shark diving and for the wonderful reefs. Our first day diving was to visit the reefs, and with tales of colourful corals and plenty of marine life, we were looking forward to it.
Our first dive turned out to be our guide's, Chelle & Warren, favourite dive, Fantasea 1. As you drop into the water, the colour of the reef grabs your attention. All around, there are soft corals, sea fans and hard corals covering every available surface. It is hard to know what to photograph first. it is to coral, what Lembeh is to critters! Every corner you turn, there is more, covering pinnacles and overhangs alike. As you head to the surface, the dive site offers you the "If Carlsberg did Safety Stops..."
Anthias, clownfish, damselfish, all dart in and out of the corals, photobombing us, as our strobes fired. You could easily spend a further hour photographing the top of the pinnacle alone.
The second site we visited was a wreck called Tasu 2. The boat was deliberately sunk around 10 years ago, having been confiscated as an illegal fishing boat - which is always a bonus. Marine life has moved in, with a host of small pipefish, nudibranchs and, of course, corals making this their home. The wheelhouse is very special with sea fans covering the windows and entrances. Once we had our fill of wreck photography, we moved back to the reef pinnacles, where we encountered camera friendly butterflyfish that came to the click of our fingers. This whole place feels slightly magical.
Our final dive of the day took us to another amazing reef, Rainbow Valley, where Nick switched into macro to capture all the small critters we had been discovering. This site, once again, showed off the fabulous coral Fiji has to offer. The "valley" is a gap between two pinnacles, that has huge sea fans stretching out to catch food in the current. You have to weave carefully through them as you make your way around the "circuit".
With Nick trying out the Saga
Magic Ball Lens too, we found that it gives more of a magic polo mint effect on his full frame camera. But we still love it. He managed to single out a purple and orange nudibranch sitting on a hydroid right in front of the sea fan.
It was a magical first day diving with the Waidroka team. Tomorrow, we are hoping to do some shark diving, but the weather is looking a bit dodgy, so keep your fingers crossed! http://www.waidroka.com/