The final diving location on our tour of Fiji was at Volivoli Beach Resort, near Rakiraki on the main Fijian island of Viti Levu. After a 4 hour drive from Waidroka, it was lovely to be so warmly greeted by all the staff here.
The resort is owned by the Darling family, and we met up with Steve Snr, and his sons, Nick and Steve, along with Fiji Siren Operations Manager, Simon Doughty, for a welcome beer in their newly re-opened restaurant and bar. Volivoli was severely damaged by a particularly destructive cyclone that hit Fiji earlier in the year, and only opened its doors to the public again at the beginning of November. Despite this, they have just won the prestigious award of “Most Outstanding Dive Resort, Fiji 2016” and you can see why, with the new rooms beautifully appointed, a superb pool and great food coming out of the kitchen.
We were worried that we might not get to sample the diving here, as a storm was brewing and the rain had been falling heavily and steadily all day. Taking our gear down to the dive shop, we were given a small ray of hope, with the staff saying they would do everything they could do get us out on the local reefs (but alas some of the more spectacular sites here were going to have to wait).
The dive centre is immaculate; you could eat your dinner off the floor of their impressive compressor room – we kid you not! Now, we just had to keep everything crossed that the morning would bring better weather. The team assured us that either way, they would come and let us know at breakfast. We decided to be positive, and somewhat optimistically, went to setup our camera equipment before dinner.
The next morning we received the good news we had hoped for – the diving was on. With other divers choosing to have a lie-in, we had the boat to ourselves in the morning and the crew took us to see two beautiful reefs. Many people thought the reefs would be badly damaged here after such a massive storm earlier in the year, but even close to shore, there is no sign of this. It was overcast, and the sea was a little rough, but once underwater, the scenery was exceptional. Once again, Fiji was proving to us that its colourful reefs are some of the best in the world. We dived at Neptune’s Rhapsody and Hakuna Matata, and as we slowly circled the reef walls, barracuda schooled in the distance. Our afternoon dive saw us being joined by Nick Darling, and a further 5 divers. We descended onto Golden Dream dive site, so named because of the orange soft corals that thrive here, and soon our guide was pointing out nudibranchs, morays, and even ghost pipefish. But the highlight of the dive was a pair of octopuses displaying on the reef, changing colour and shape as the ascended with us and continued to perform on the safety stop.
Here is a video of one of the octopus by Nick Darling:
Volivoli and Ra Divers have 3 boats, which means that they can handle over 30 divers at any one time. In addition to this, Fiji Siren also runs from here, so ideally you could do a week or 10 days aboard this sumptuous live-aboard, and then spend some time on land, exploring the local reefs and wonderful countryside.
On our final day of diving, we ran out of luck and the weather finally caught up with us. Diving was cancelled for the day, due to high winds and lots more rain, so instead Simon Doughty offered to give us a tour of the majestic Fiji Siren. She had all her sails and soft furnishing packed away, in “cyclone mode” to lessen any potential damage. Still, though, she is an impressive sight. Built only 3 years ago, she carries 16 divers on trips that take in some of the best diving Fiji has to offer.
Alas, it was once again time to move on, and this time, to start our long journey home.
Find out more about Nick and Caroline at www.frogfishphotography.com.
The post Golden Dreams and Majestic Sirens: Our Last Hurrah in Beautiful Fiji appeared first on Scubaverse.
This article was originally published by Scubaverse