Fiji is the self-proclaimed Soft Coral Capital. Deservedly so. It’s hard to know just how many dive sites there are, suffice to say there are thousands. There’s also an impressive choice when it comes to choosing your dive experience, from live aboard dive vessel, specialty dive resort or via independent dive shops dotted across the archipelago. Pleasant sea temperatures that hover around a comfortable 25 degrees (celsius) in winter and a positively warm 30 degrees in summer mean that divers can spend more time in the water, requiring only a lightweight wetsuit.
Fiji is almost entirely encircled by reef, creating a sheltered divers paradise within. Steep vertical walls and shallow lagoons offer the best dive opportunities, particularly in the morning before the south east trade winds build up intensity. Corals are living breathing creatures inhabiting the underwater world that require food, water, sunlight and shelter to survive, just like any other animal. Abundant food sources are washed through the Somosomo Strait creating extraordinary coral gardens. Somosomo Strait makes regular red carpet appearances on Best Dive Destination lists globally thanks to this rich source of nutrients. Rainbow Reef is another northern dive site well worth a visit, so too the reefs surrounding a cluster of outer northern islands of Qamea, Laucala and Matagi Islands.
In the Mamanuca Islands west of Viti Levu, Malolo Barrier Reef is easily accessible from many island resorts. Shallow lagoons, coral bommies, hollows and excellent marine life distinguish dive sites in this area.
South of Viti Levu across Beqa Passage, the Beqa Barrier Reef has created a protected lagoon dotted with islands. Many of the islands have resort accommodation which takes full advantage of their location within a spectacular dive site. This expansive lagoon offers divers both shallow lagoon dives as well as deep dives on outer reef walls. Further south, Great Astrolabe Reef on the south coast of Kadavu Island is known for soft corals that thrive in natural passages through the outer reef between the lagoon and the deep blue. The Great Sea Reef on the north coast of Vanua Levu is another worthy contender for Fiji’s ‘Best Dive Site’.
Most Fijian resorts are affiliated with dive schools that are familiar with the best dive sites in the immediate vicinity. If you’ve never dived before but are keen to experience the wonder of the underwater world, Fiji is one of the best places to learn. Resort dives for first timers are an introductory dive that anyone with a moderate level of fitness can participate in. No previous experience is required and you’ll have a dive master on hand to ensure your complete safety. Once you’ve dived Fiji, you’ll be hooked. Many resorts also offer full dive courses enabling visitors to gain further scuba qualifications whilst enjoying their Fijian holiday.
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