Fiji Below the Water
Includes full day trip to world-famous Namena Marine reserve
June 14 – 21
(if these dates don’t suit you, please contact us; we are often able to arrange small groups at other times)
A fantastic week of snorkeling, learning and exploring in Fiji.
The reefs around Vanua Levu provide some of the most rewarding snorkelling in the world – a chance to see the famous soft corals of Fiji, swim amongst clouds of sergeant majors, anthias, damsel fish and jack fish, and see sharks, rays and turtles.
For the first time we will be offering a day trip to Namena Marine Reserve on the boats of the dive operation at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort. The dive company, L’Aventure Jean-Michel Cousteau, has been exploring these waters for over 20 years. The trip to the Namena Marine Reserve is one of its jewels. Whilst the divers go down deep, the snorkellers stay on the surface and enjoy the profusion of marine life in this protected area.
In the evenings, an experienced marine biologist will give talks on the marine environment and brief you on the next day’s snorkel. He will come with you to guide the snorkel and point out some of the wonders of the ocean on an all-day field trip.
Below the water is definitely the centre of the week, but we’ll also show you a lot of Fiji above the water. Visits to schools, farms and villages are included.
This is a week of learning and a fabulous holiday as well.
And you are welcome to arrive earlier in the week or stay on later – we’ll just charge you at regular room rates less 15% if you’re on the course.
Cost:AUD$1300 per person.
Single supplement $350.
Includes twin shared accommodation, all meals, excursions, equipment.
Not included: Travel – but we are happy to help book your domestic flights if you’d like, and we’ll pick you up from Savusavu airport.
BOOKING: click here (bookings are made via our Paradise Courses website)
Please arrange to arrive in Savusavu either on the previous day or on the 7.00am flight on Saturday morning.
We choose which sites to visit each day based on tide and weather conditions – but we’ve described some of them in more detail below.
Introductory lecture and field trip with Johnnie Singh.
Morning: Field trip.
Afternoon: Town Visit.
Evening: Lecture on Conceptual Coral Reefs
Morning: Field trip.
Afternoon:Pearl farm visit.
Evening : Lecture on ‘Cities under the sea’
Morning: Field trip.
Afternoon: Excursion to local village.
Evening dinner in town.
Morning: Field trip.
Evening: Lecture on Coral Critters
Leaving Ceremony and departure to Nadi.
And you can snorkel off our beach whenever you want – we have a small but pretty reef right outside the front of the resort.
Sites in more detail
Split Rock is 200 metres off shore; a large coral head, it is named for the distinctive split down one side. At the bottom of the split you can see purple gorgonian fans and pale yellow soft corals. At the entrance to the split a fierce clown fish defends her anemone and the male takes refuge in its fronds. When a female clown fish dies, the male changes sex and becomes female, and he next male moves up the hierarchy. There’s a large school of inquisitive black and white sergeant fish nearby; they will come right up to you and often give your fingers a gentle nip. There is a glorious abundance of orange and purple anthias and golden damsels near the surface; a little deeper, parrotfish can be seen nibbling away at the coral, and a large brown spotted grouper glides shyly away. There are two large clams on the rock, and several small green fern corals. Split Rock is one of the most colourful and enchanting sites of the bay, and endlessly fascinating in visit after visit. The top of the coral head is 3 foot deep, and the base is about 30 foot deep.
Some 700 metres past the point of the peninsula, the twin pinnacles of Golden Nuggets offer anther magnificent display of smaller fish. The first pinnacle has purple and orange anthias, the beautiful iridescent blue sapphire damsels, Moorish idols with their lazy grace, and the blue damsel fish guarding his garden against intruders – human or fish. On the second pinnacle you will see schools of surgeon fish and snapper fish. Quite often a white tipped shark is around, utterly arresting in its fearsome power – but not aggressive to humans and very well fed on the fish life. You will also see magic coral which turns from bluey-brown to white when threatened and is hardly known outside Fiji.
At the edge of the reef which runs out from Savusavu Bay is a lighthouse, which gives its name to the site. There are numerous plate corals, soft spaghetti corals with tentacles swaying in the currents, and many fish – trumpet fish, pale green damsel fish, humpbacked wrasse and maori wrasse. We sometimes see a turtle at this sight,
always a treat – and occasionally a shark cruising deep below.
The name says it all! This site is outside the bay on the outer reef, and you will often see white tipped reef sharks cruising here. The site is a fabulous terrain of pinnacles and canyons, with many coral types and a rich diversity of fish life: freckled face hawk fish, snapper, parrot fish, wrasse and many others.
About half a kilometer past the end of the peninsula, Charlie’s Point offers reefs in two directions. One way is a relatively shallow reef with coral heads on a sandy sea bottom; the other way goes out towards the deeper sea and there is a wall dropping down to about 50 metres. There are mainly hard corals here, with many of the blue-tipped corals. You will see clouds of blue damsel fish; trumpet fish, wrasse, damsel fish – and possibly cuttlefish who are likely to disappear, leaving only a squirt of black ink as evidence of their presence.
The Coral Gardens are best dived at mid to high tide as they are in relatively shallow Water. They are a reef running along the shore line near Split Rock – you’ll see many types of coral including staghorn coral, brain coral, finger coral, table coral and cabbage (lettuce) coral. Fish life is abundant. One of the pleasures of this area is the sense of swimming through the maze of interlocking coral heads – and if the tide is low, be cautious as you can easily cut yourself. And because its shallow, you’ll also see mushroom corals and sea cucumbers on the ocean floor.