Words: Rita Ganz. Photography: Stuart Ganz.
As we climbed into the small plane, my first thought was I sure hope this will be a smooth ride. We had landed in Nadi a few hours earlier and we were now boarding a DHC-4 Caribou Twin Otter plane to continue our trip to Taveuni, Fiji’s third largest island, where we would be staying for the next eight days. Soon after takeoff, it became apparent why the Fiji Islands were such a popular destination for divers and land lovers alike. The views below were stunning and amazing all at the same time and calmed any anxiety by lulling us into a tranquil state of anticipation and excitement for the week ahead.
Upon reaching Taveuni, fondly known as the Garden Isle of Fiji, we were meet by our hosts and transported to our final destination. Paradise Taveuni resort was everything we had expected and more. Nestled in the midst of a tropical forest, the resort featured beautiful ocean-front rooms with panoramic views, decorated in traditional Fiji fashion with outdoor rain showers included. The spacious swimming pool seemed to melt into the ocean and provided beautiful views of the sea. But what stood out the most in these lush accommodations was the friendliness and genuineness of the entire staff. From the moment we arrived, we were cared for as family, and pampered as if we were royalty. The entire staff knew our names from day one.
The next day we headed out to Somosomo Strait to fulfill the dream that had brought us to this beautiful place. Divers know the legendary Rainbow Reef and Fiji’s well-earned reputation as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World.” There is also plenty of opportunity for snorkelers.
The reef hosts an extraordinary variety of marine organisms, including more than 1,400 species of fish and countless invertebrates. Needless to say, the reef did not disappoint. In fact, from the moment we descended, we were meet with remarkable and vibrant scenes of soft corals and colourful fish that seemed to rise up and greet us as we drifted along in the gentle current. From curious gobies to strange and wonderful pipefish, Rainbow Reef seemed to have it all. We encountered white tip reef sharks and schools of barracuda and jacks that seemed to welcome our visit. All in all the day’s diving was a lovely way to start the week.
The following days brought many wondrous new discoveries and an opportunity to dive the luminescent Great White Wall, rated one of the top dive sites in the world.
The dive starts with entering a cave 50 feet below surface, filled with hard and soft corals, and then exiting at approximately 82 feet to a sheet of beautiful white coral. The colour stretches to the edge of your vision in every direction, hosting a diverse and numerous amount of life. From morays to lionfish, and on to beautiful and colourful nudibranchs, the Great White Wall is home to all. Needless to say, we rated this day as the highlight of our visit.
At the end of the week, it was hard to say which was the most saddening to say goodbye to – the reef and its beauty, or the beautiful people topside that made our visit so special. Both will always hold a special place in our hearts. Which leaves us with only one conclusion, which is we will just have to come again!
Stuart and Rita Ganz, who live in Hawaii, have had the good fortune to explore and sometimes capture some of the most fascinating and captivating moments from the highest peaks to some of the deepest oceans. Their motto in life is to “Take only Pictures – Leave only Bubbles.” – keeping in mind, we must take care of our Mother Earth.
Check out their website: www.bluemoonscuba.com