Scuba Diving Fiji’s Viti Levu!
Fiji is home to some of the world's best dive sites. When the currents pick up, the soft corals "bloom" into a breathtakingly colorful display, earning the islands the title of "the soft coral capital of the world." A direct flight away from Los Angeles, Viti Levu, the biggest Fijian island, is one of the easiest Pacific islands to get to from the United States.
The best time of year to dive Fiji
Fiji's dive season is year-round, but the rainy season lasts from December to April. June-October are the drier months, when the water will be cooler. The months of May and November might be the best compromise between topside weather, water temperature, and visibility. Water temperatures will vary from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. Like many other locations, visibility and water temperature are inversely related--when the water is warmest, plankton blooms can negatively affect visibility.
Difficulty of Fiji diving
Many of the best Fiji dive sites are relatively shallow and easy to navigate. However, currents can render a dive more difficult. Divers in Fiji should be comfortable diving in a current that can be quite strong. They will be rewarded with the bloom of the soft corals, which feed on nutrients brought in by current.
The best Fiji dive sites
1. E-6, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Named after the famous sea captain William Bligh, the Bligh Waters are a channel off the northwest side of the island where nutrient-rich currents sweep through unspoiled, extremely healthy reefs. Frequently inaccessible from land-based resorts due to potentially rough sea crossings, the Bligh is rarely dived, save by the occasional liveaboard. Ours was often the only boat out there. The coral was unspoiled and the marine life was unafraid, and we quickly came to realize why the Bligh is home to many of the best Fiji dive sites.
E-6 is one such site--a massive pinnacle in some 3,000 feet of water, frequented by pelagic life and carpeted with soft corals. It features the Cathedral, a swim-through covered with gorgonian fans.
2. Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Another of the best Fiji dive sites, Mount Mutiny is named for the mutiny on Bligh's ship, the Bounty. It is topographically similar to E-6, and only a few miles away. Fish life and soft coral are bountiful, and small jellyfish can sometimes be spotted in the water column.
3. Black Magic Mountain, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Named for the black coral that covers its lower levels, this pinnacle is home to schooling fish, lionfish, anemonefish, and much more. Currents can be relentless here, so watch your air and depth. Maximum depth 115'.
4. Breath Taker, Northwest Viti Levu
A sweeping expanse of pinnacles that are covered in life, Breath Taker lives up to its name as truly one of the best Fiji dive sites. Sharks, anemonefish, and pretty much everything in between can be seen here. Max depth is 115'.
5. The Bistro, Beqa Lagoon
A dive trip to Viti Levu is not complete without participating in the Beqa (pronounced "benga") Lagoon shark feeding on the south side of Viti Levu. Very different from its analogues in, e.g., the Bahamas, the Beqa Lagoon shark feed features some BIG sharks in a true feeding frenzy. Bull sharks, lemon sharks, and the occasional tiger shark are the norm here, and shark feeders keep a wide distance from these massive fish. Rather than hand-feeding the sharks with a pole spear, feeders in chain mail chum the water with giant plastic bins of bait. A nearby wreck is home to more than 50 two-to-three-foot remora sharks.
Where to Stay
On the north side of the island, I can't say enough good things about wananavu. The staff were charming, the grounds were beautiful, and our bure was absolutely incredible.
On the south side of the island, I have heard good things about Beqa Lagoon Resort, though I have not stayed there personally.