After a week in Beqa, we boarded the Naia in Lautoka. We sailed North of Viti Levu along the Vanua Levu Barrier Reef. We began strong at Humann Nature, a site named after Paul Humann. The moderate current at the point of the reef corralled the anthias together for spectacular wide angle photography. I broke out my new 8-15 mm circular fisheye lens for super wide angle photos of soft coral.
Of course I couldn't resist using my macromate for some macro pictures of golden damsel fish eggs, sea spiders, Pontoh pygmy seahorse, and multiple nudibranchs. On one dive I was buzzed by a train of 5 very large marbled stingrays. We saw hammerheads and gray reef sharks during our trip as well. I missed the manta but I was glad to see another Rumagan's pipehorse, which I last saw in Anilao.
The highlight of the week for me was the Nigali Passage. We were lucky to catch the incoming tide for 2 dives. Although the weather was partly cloudy, the water was brilliantly blue. There were 2 species of barracuda, sleeping white tips, and large gray reef sharks passing through the channel. Bigeye trevally and schooling black snappers drifted past us by the dozens. Near the end of the channel, we rested on a ledge at 65 feet to watch the action. The dive finished with beautiful cabbage coral and a large colony of porite hard coral.
We ventured on to land to visit the locals at Somosomo village. Jeff enjoyed the Lali drums before we attended a kava ceremony with the chief. Bula! At the end of our journey, we visited the market to buy kava and visit the tropical Gardens of the Sleeping Giant.
© Mark Etter Underwater Photography