Scuba Diving Fiji
Scuba diving in Fiji
Fiji is a scuba diving paradise that consists of over 330 islands and is located around 15 degrees south of the Equator with the 180 Meridian running through the country. It’s easy accessible by air. The flying time is approximately 2 hours from Auckland, 4 hours from Sidney and 10 hours from Los Angeles making it a very suitable scuba diving destination in this part of the world.
Crossing the date line can make you a bit confused. For example, you can depart from Los Angeles Saturday night, be in the air for 9 hours and land in Fiji Monday morning – Fiji time.
Less than one third of the Fiji islands are inhabited and over 90% of the population lives on the two biggest islands - Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Water temperature in Fiji varies between 75 – 85 degrees F, where January to May is the warmest period and August to November the coldest. Very suitable temperature for scuba diving. Popular dive sites include E6, Cats Meow, Ravais Wives and Mt. Mutiny. Central Fiji is considered by many to have the absolutely best diving sites, but the rest of this small country is very popular among the diving community as well. One of the most dynamic and varied coral reefs in Fiji is the popular diving site Lomaiviti reef.
While scuba diving in Fiji you will be able to experience two very different types of marine environments. The first one is the huge lagoon, covering many thousands of acres. The other one is the Barrier Reef and its passages. The coral reef system in Fiji consists of barrier reefs surrounding large lagoons and islands making for very beautiful scuba diving. The outer barrier reefs are less protected, and the coral growth is more robust here. The most crowded places in this ecosystem are the reef passages and the channels linking the lagoons with the deep ocean, and these are usually filled with more marine life than any other parts of the area and makes the best dive sites.
The outstanding biological diversity and colourful and healthy coral reefs of Fiji are due to several factors. Fijis geographical location provides warm tropical water and plenty of sunlight, both of vital importance for the corals. The prevailing southeast trade winds bring clean, salty and nutritious water into and along the deep channel between Viti Levi and Vanua Levu. At the same time, nutrients also come down from the islands and into the same channel. This creates a healthy level of salinity and nutrients. This channel is a very popular dive site due to its amazing marine life. The tidal currents, as well as the wind driven ones, are intensified in the centre of Fiji and play an important role in circulating the water. The currents create an everlasting flow of cleansing water, thus removing sediment and spreading nutrients throughout the reef system.
One other important factor that makes the reef system in Fiji so marvellous is the sheltering outer reefs. Coral reefs are sensitive and require shelter in order to thrive. If you have ever dived at an open ocean atoll, you may have noticed that it was not as flourishing as a sheltered one, since the unprotected atoll is constantly stressed by the pounding storm surf and ocean swells. The maze of barrier reefs in Fiji provides shelter, without endangering the crucial flow of water.
Last, but certainly not least, Fiji is the first major barrier reef for spawn travelling with the southeast trades across the Pacific. The topography, the channels, and the currents all work together to concentrate spawns in the centre of Fiji. Some spawns are successful and manage to mingle and colonize, adding to the biodiversity, while others will serve as an important food source for the marine life. Animals and plants living in Fiji often originates from places thousands and thousands of miles away. It’s a truly amazing experience to dive among these creatures that literary come in all sizes, shapes and colours.
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