Diving the brilliant bligh waters
If Fiji is the world’s ‘soft coral capital’ then the Bligh Water – a stretch of ocean separating Fiji’s two largest islands – is it’s vibrant underwater CBD.
You could spend days exploring any of the 50 phenomenal dive sites in the region’s maze of barrier reefs, channels and submerged pinnacles, each of them teeming with fish and Fiji’s signature soft corals.
This stunning seascape was named after Lieutenant William Bligh who passed through here in a tiny 7m longboat when he was tossed overboard in an infamous mutiny off Tonga. Incredibly, despite being pursued by unfriendly locals and battered by stormy weather, the industrious Bligh literally put Fiji on the map when he first plotted these islands and reefs.
The area surrounding Vatu-i-Ra island in the Bligh Water brims with life, hosting rare seabird, turtle, iguana and treefrog populations. Underwater, strong oceanic currents are forced up through the deep channel, generating a nutrient rich feast that attracts even greater diversity including endangered species like humpback whales, humphead wrasse and the bumphead parrotfish.
The reef comes alive when the current flows, as soft corals unfurl in a rhythmic dance at sites like ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Mt. Mutiny’. Blizzards of tiny, neon-coloured fish flit between the coral gardens, schooling barracuda hang near the drop-offs and sharks patrol the passages. Mantas, dolphins and pilot whales are regular patrons and if you happen to dive here mid-year, you may even catch a glimpse of humpback whales passing through on their annual migration.
The remoteness and strong currents at many of the Vatu-i-Ra and Lomaiviti sites make them better suited to experienced divers on a dive liveaboard. But if you’re a total novice, there are just as many sites to keep you happy too!
Nai’a Liveaboard: Run 7 – 10 Day itineraries in the Bligh Water visiting sites at Vatu-i-Ra, Namena, Makogai, Wakaya and Gau.
Resorts on the Suncoast at Rakiraki and offshore Wakaya Island offer shore dives for divers of all levels.