Fiji's newest Diving Paradise Natewa Bay
Natewa Bay is the largest bay in the South Pacific, bordered by the lush rainforests of the Natewa Peninsula on Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. Although it is only a 35 minute scenic drive from the seaside town of Savusavu, it takes just that little more effort to get there, so rewards those slightly more adventurous travellers with an off the beaten track experience well away from the tourist crowds. Some people say that the shallow reefs of Natewa Bay remind them of the Great Barrier Reef the way it used to be, and combined with the remote villages and ecotourism activities available in the forests of the adjacent Natewa Peninsula, this area offers a ridge-to-reef biodiversity that is found in only a few special places in the world. Come and visit this little-known gem for a truly unique experience in a stunningly beautiful natural environment.
Natewa Bay is not only the largest bay in the South Pacific in terms of area, but also one of the deepest, with maximum depths of over 1,000 metres in places. The regular supply of cool water upwellings from the deeper water likely moderates the temperature closer to the surface, which could be the reason why there are still many reefs in the bay with exceptional coral cover. The protection offered by the surrounding hills, and the fact that the bay has avoided any significant damage from recent cyclones, contribute to the fact that the reefs here are often regarded as amongst the healthiest anywhere in the world.
Choosing a diving or snorkelling adventure in Natewa Bay offers a rare opportunity to experience a little known underwater paradise. The shallow reefs are home to vibrant coral gardens, where an incredible diversity of hard corals can be found just below the surface, along with large, brightly-coloured sea fans and thousands of Christmas tree worms of every colour imaginable. Naturally, healthy populations of reef fish like butterflyfish, angelfish and huge schools of anthias make their home in and around the corals. Sunbeams shine through the clear, shallow water, illuminating a whole new level of beauty as the reef comes alive.
Divers are rewarded with deeper sites, often slightly off-shore or on submerged sea mounts, where deep water brings an abundance of nutrients and food. Large schools of fusiliers are found at virtually every site, and groups of snapper and sweetlips are frequently seen. It is not unusual to see a barracuda or two, with large schools being reserved for those special occasions. Those fortunate diving guests might also catch a glimpse of an impressive adult male humphead wrasse, or a critically endangered hawksbill turtle. With all that going on, it should perhaps be of little surprise that reef sharks are seen on most dives, with blacktip, whitetip and grey reef sharks all frequent visitors.
The most eagle-eyed diving enthusiasts might even be treated to an occasional sighting of some of the more unusual inhabitants of the bay, such as ghost pipefish or frogfish.
The sheer size of the bay is something that takes many a visitor by surprise, so it's little wonder that many of the reefs are still waiting to be explored, with the possibility of new dive sites to be discovered.
Currently, the only scuba diving operator in Natewa Bay is Ocean Ventures Fiji. The team at Ocean Ventures are experienced PADI diving instructors and conservationists, who pride themselves on their dedication to conservation, safety and education. Group sizes are kept small for the most personalised service, and a maximum of 8 divers on their custom-built dive boat ensures that guests truly have the reefs to themselves.
The owners of Ocean Ventures, Matthew and Sara, first fell in love with the bay when they were setting up a new marine site for Operation Wallacea, an international volunteer conservation programme which brings high school students from around the world to remote areas of high biodiversity in order to fund conservation and scientific research.
Captivated by the untouched beauty of the bay, they established their dive business there, and they are still awestruck every time they go out into this underwater playground. Natewa Bay awaits you!