Savusavu to Viani Bay. Our first dive at \”The White Wall\”…..

Dear F&F, July 12th – 14th

We decided to do a dive with Koro Sun, the local dive operator in Savusavu. The experience of diving with hammer head sharks was new for Anja, but I also never tire of the wonder of looking at these prehistoric animals up close and personal. Peter came along with us and it was his first \”hammer\” encounter as well. Anja said they looked \”cute\”. We saw a few dozen in the blue water right off the Koro Sun resort. They came within 30 feet of us, it was a memorable day.

We continued to \”wait\” for our permit to go to the Lau Group of Eastern Fiji. It just got more comical as the wait went on.

Having decided we could wait for \”Gudot\” forever, we upped anchor and headed the 40 miles East to Viani Bay. Viani Bay is world famous in the diving world, especially for it\’s signature site on the \”Rainbow Reef\” called \”The White Wall\”.

We knew friends Bruce and Alene on s/v \”Migration\” would be arriving soon too, so it all seemed to come together as we left for Viani Bay.

As I changed our itinerary to go to Western Fiji first from New Zealand and then head to Eastern Fiji, the winds of course were against us and yes indeed we motored again, the entire 40 miles.

When we arrived in Viani Bay, Jack Fisher met us and put us on one of his two moorings. Jack is Fijian by way of English descent. He has had six wives and would be happy to have you as his next wife should you be interested. However I am referring to the female population of my readers amongst you!

Jack doesn\’t dive, but makes most of his livelihood by guiding divers to \”his\” sites. There is a local dive shop in the next bay, but at about 25-40.00$ per day US for the whole boat load of divers, it\’s hard to beat this local knowledge with a stick! Jack brought us to our first encounter (there would be six, yes it\’s that good) with the White Wall and wanted us to anchor in a nearby alcove on the outside of the reef. Well, I\’m not sure what Jack expected me to say, but if we had anchored where he wanted us too, I\’m not sure \”Beach House\” would have been beached shortly thereafter. We did \”live boat\” diving with Jack at the helm. He dropped Anja, Peter and me off over the buoy and the fun began!

The White Wall is SPECTACULAR. The surge on top of the reef was pretty exciting (we were just outside the surf line and it was pretty calm!). The dive begins on top of a beautiful reef and from there you go into a \”swim thorough\” from 40 feet down to 70 feet. The swim through is a long wide tunnel with Lion Fish, White Tip reef sharks, black coral, sea fans, purple coral and a plethora of marine life. Once out the lower exit of the swim through, you make a left turn and go down to 95-120 feet and the fun begins. The current starts to push you along a vertical wall that is about 300 feet high. A football size field of densely packed white soft corals is the highlight of this \”drift\” dive. Not lasting too long, it\’s simply spectacular. Everything and anything can be seen on the \”Wall\” and in some cases, large schools of barracuda and other pelagic\’s as well. At the end of the wall, there is a swim through at 65 feet which you can go back up to the top of the reef and do a second lap. Anja and I got familiar enough with the site to be able to do three laps without ever hitting the \”deco\” meter on our dive computers. I did not take any underwater stills as I was being dive guide/instructor as much as \”diver\” at this particular site. I did take some video, but it\’s gee whiz stuff, not gonna make it to the website.

More to follow…. Scott with Anja and Sandrine.