Nov

22

Date: 22nd November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: I hadn’t checked on my Wobbies this year, and as usual the vis was crap at this site, but i did see about 5 in a small search. One younger juvenile was sitting up in a tunnel with its head poking over the edge. He was the subject of choice, and i got some shots i was happy with. A MASSIVE kingfish buzzed me at one stage..biggest ive ever seen..but just one..which was odd.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

21

Date: 21st November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 16m

Details: Dive Two was an exploratory dive, and i sounded up a promising look reef between The Legdes and Dragons Lair out of Point Lonsdale. There was a great bridge/arch formation that had heaps of Blue Devils living in its nooks and cranny’s. Blue Devils Bridge seems like the perfect name for it. There were some ok other sections around the area, but this feature made it worth the dive. Blue Groupers also put in an appearance, and they definitely seems to be setting up a stronghold in the area now.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

21

Date: 21st November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: I always visit “The Rooms” in hope of photographying Port Jackson Sharks, or perhaps a Wobbegong. But today i got surprised by a large pregnant Smooth Ray hanging out in one of the rooms. Very cool.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

19

Date: 19th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 21m

Details: Back in Australia after visiting Fiji and i had a craving to get back into local diving. So i went to one of my favorite little sites called Cod Cave. The yellow zooanthids were out in full bloom, showing off the colour of southern temperate reefs, especially with the electric blues of a adult Horseshoe Leatherjacket in the foreground.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

14

Date: 14th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: Our last night at Beqa Lagoon, and i just had to get one last night dive in. This Night dive was a bit quieter than the others, as i explored the deeper coral reef sections, only to realize that the mucky shallows were the most productive. A cool moray eel came to check me out, and a nudibranch hung out on the seagrass. Overall a great time spent at Beqa Lagoon Resort.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

14

Date: 14th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 30m

Details: Since the second shark dive was cancelled due to bad vis, we powered out to the edge of the lagoon where the water was clearer..to a site called the Blue Wall. This wall was located on the deep drop off where Beqa lagoon meets the Pacific Ocean proper. Although i didnt get many photos, this was a great dive. Unfortunately, i had some ear problems which limits my photo opportunities, but i took this as a chance to just kick back and enjoy the dive (from above). A Batfish came in nice and close from the blue to check us out, but no bigger creatures. We did see a couple of reef sharks, but no oceanic activity. This would be the site to get some more unusual sightings.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

14

Date: 14th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: The resort had quickly filled up with a large group from an American Dive club..all wanting to do the Tiger Shark dive. This coincided with a few days of heavy rain on the mainland that was causing some bad vis in Beqa Lagoon, and postponing some of the shark dives. To the resorts benefit, they had sorted out another boat and managed to get everyone out to today’s shark dive. The reduced vis added mystique to this dive, and we had some good shark activity. On the way back to the surface a couple of metre thermocline later of dirty water rolled in above us, almost obscuring the surface. It was very strange, but we all knew that with the bad vis, there was no chance of the schedule second shark dive. A little disappointing, but we were really glad to get the dives in that we did.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

13

Date: 13th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: This was another really cool night dive. Lionfishm Painted Crayfish, flatworms, hermit crabs, anemone crabs, anemonefish, conefish, with the highlight being some type of stonefish or scrorpionfish right at the end.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

13

Date: 13th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: Dive two of the day was back at Golden Arches. Although we had already dived this site, the current was smashing through the site on last visit, and today looked a lot more settled. The soft corals are prolific at this site, and the top of the coral heads were swarming with fish. It was good to have the time to setup for a shot of the “Golden Arch” without the current hurrying us on our way. Overall a much more relaxed dive at one of the premium sites of Beqa Lagoon.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

13

Date: 13th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: Today’s first dive was at Johns Tunnel…a coral head dive. However, nearby is also a large fishing trawler wreck which sits in about 30m. So we started the dive on the top of the wreck around 23m, before heading over to the coral head. Once at the bottom of the coral head, we went up through a cool little swimthrough. Sophie was very proud of overcoming her fear of overhead environments and swimming through Johns Tunnel, and demanded a photo of herself as proof. A great dive with a bit of everything.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

12

Date: 12th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night Dive

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: Before coming to Beqa Lagoon, i tried to research when the coral spawning occurred in the area. Although i found no conclusive dates, the full moon in November had just been…and parts of the the Great Barrier Reef spawn around this time. So i couldn’t leave Fiji without doing a night dive, and i’m glad i did. The coral wasnt spawning, and in fact it wasnt the coral reef that was the star of the night. It was the muck diving in the boat channel that turned up some very cool nocturnal species. Some very strange hermit crabs carried anemones on their shells, a slipper lobster scurried between the rocks, and a moray eel was curious of the light show. I found a number of different cryptic fish species, which i’m yet to identify..perhaps part of the scorpionfish family?? Overall i was very pleased with the quality of the night diving….right on the doorstep of the resort.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

12

Click to view Moving GIF

What a crazy dive this was! This was our second dive at The Cathedral and we had a pretty decent showing of sharks with a couple of Tigers coming in to feed. “Another solid shark dive at Beqa Lagoon” i thought, as the group started to ascend to the surface at the end of the allocated bottom time. Of course, i loitered around a little bit longer than everyone else, together with another photographer, Rob Wilson, both hoping to get one last snap of the Tigers. But as the main group left, something interesting happened..it seemed like the “other tigers”, that were waiting on the outer, realized that feeding time was nearly over, and all of a sudden we had 4 big tigers coming in to feed. Instead of approaching the feeding area in front of the amphitheater wall, (where the guest divers usually view from), we had tigers coming in from behind us, and the dive guides started to look a little worried, with frantic tank tapping as Tigers approached from all angles.

The guides were pushing away the tigers as they approached, us but at one stage, a big tiger approached from behind the guide, but as he was pushing it away, another tiger coming from the other direction. Things started to feel a little out of control..really exciting stuff!

In the moving GIF above, you can see one Tiger shark coming in from behind the wall. The guide pushes it off, but it was intent on checking out Rob Wilson a bit closer. It circles back, over the top of me, and then goes straight in to eye-ball Rob. The guides push it away, and off it swims. Attached below is the photo Rob took as it came face to face with his camera housing…I think Rob may have soiled his wetsuit getting this pic. : )

Nov

12

Date: 12th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: After the previous Shark dive was cancelled due to rain and poor visibility, we were very happy to hear that today’s double dive at “The Cathedral” was going ahead.
On the first dive the first thing that really impressed on me, were the sounds of activity once the feed bins were opened. You could feel the energy in the water as thousands of fish clouded the surrounding area. Reef sharks started darting in…Black-tipped Reef Sharks and Grey Reef Sharks were the most prominent, with the occasional white-tipped shark and Lemon Shark. Then the big boys (or girls) came in…2 big Tiger Sharks. The first came straight over my head, and proved to be my closest encounter of the trip. However, the action didn’t stop and dive two was a memorable dive. (See next blog post).

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

11

Date: 11th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: The great thing about the Beqa Lagoon Resort is the house reef that has easy access from the dive shop, via the boating channel. Its only about 5-7m deep, but has lots of coral reef fish species, and a good diversity of coral, and few nudis. I decided to put the macro lens on and try to get a few fish portraits. At one stage i found some really impressive reef out at the point, where large schools of fish were active. The macro wasnt much good, but it made for a really cool little dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

11

Date: 11th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: After experiencing sync cord issues on dive 1 of the day, i spent most of the surface interval trying to hack together a solution. It wasn’t pretty, but i could get the strobes to fire at least with the help of some zip straps. So dive two was back into the blue at a site called the Coral Gardens. More great diving, with colourful coral heads, giant clams and clownfish.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

11

Date: 11th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: Day Three, and we again went over to Yanuca Island, this time diving a site called Fantasy. The water was SO blue, you got lost in its hue. This was another great dive, however, my strobes started playing up, and i quickly realized that i had a broken wire in my sync cord cables. Ifi held the wire in just the right position and stuck my tongue out, i could get them to fire, but it was annoying to say the least. So i just sat back and enjoyed the dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

10

Date: 10th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: I was really excited to hear we were going to be diving Golden Arches, since i’d read that this was one of the premier dive sites of Beqa Lagoon. I wasn’t disappointed, but the amount of current that started to build up on this dive made it a bit less enjoyable. Dont get me wrong, i love current (all the soft corals and critters come out)…but i hate swimming into it! I felt thoroughly exhausted at the end of this dive, and had an extreme Co2 headache afterwards on the boat. It was worth it though for some beautiful, colourful soft corals and fans, great swim-throughs(through the golden arch itself) and a pair of Green Turtles up the top of one of the coral bommies. Great dive, but man was the current pumping at the end…i could barely hang on to the shot line at the end.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

10

Date: 10th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: Day two of diving in Beqa Lagoon took us to some of the better sites around Yanuca Island. Dive one of the day was at the Three Sisters….Three coral heads adorned with life and colour. I had a bit of a fan addition on this dive, and tried to capture the size and vibrancy of the giant fans. Even the nudibranchs were giant here, spotting the infamous “dragon nudibranch”.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

10

Date: 10th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 12m

Details: The second dive for the day was at Beetle Reef. This was a shallow site, only about 1km from the Beqa Lagoon resort. Again, this wasn’t the type of diving i was expecting to be doing in Fiji. A very easy dive on shallow coral reef…no soft corals, big fans, currents, or deep bommies or walls. It was a ‘nice’ dive, but hardly spectacular diving. I can only assume the choppy conditions had kept us for the better sites on the day. I didnt feel particularly stimulated to take many photos on this dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

9

Date: 9th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Details: Our first boat dive from Beqa Island was at “The Cathedral”….the home of the Tiger Shark dive. However, this was on a “Non-Shark dive” day, and they did not bring the food, nor the guides to run the shark dive in all its glory. The conditions were fairly choppy, so i can only guess that this site was selected because it was going to be a long and rough journey over to Yanuca Island where most of the dive sites are located. So we did a “recreational” dive in The Cathedral Amphitheater site. In hindisght, it was probably good to see this site without the Shark feed taking place to understand just how attracted, and habituated the sharks are to coming in when it feeding time, however it was fairly uninteresting at the time. We did see Gray Reef, White-tipped and Black-tipped sharks…at a distance, but apart from that there wasn’t a whole lot going on. The Remoras where keen to hang around us for most of the dive, so i just tried to get a few shots of the Remoras.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

8

Date: 8th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 28c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: Shark Diving is always high on my list, and Beqa Lagoon in Fiji is known as the Shark diving capital of the World. I’d heard lots about Beqa Lagoon, but not until i started researching it, did i find that there are actually two different shark dives; “The Bistro” – which is the ‘well known’ shark dive, that is usually accessed from the mainland of Vitu Levu. And the lesser known dive site “The Cathedral”. “The Cathedral” was established by the Beqa Lagoon Resort on Beqa Island in about 2015, and now is one of the premier “Tiger Shark” dives in the world. At “The Bistro” the Bull Sharks are the star of the show with infrequent Tiger visitors, and since i’d planned our trip in Novemeber – when the Bull Sharks disperse to breed – i thought it might be a better option to dive with the Tigers. So we booked in with Beqa Lagoon Resort, and after a 1.5hour drive from Suva, and a 30 minute boat ride, we arrived at Beqa Island. It was late in the evening, and we settled into our beautiful bure. After unpacking, we ran the scuba gear down to the dive shop, and somehow i got talked into (it didnt take a lot of convincing) to doing a shore dive on the house reef, just to check my weighting with this tropical-water setup. This was a rare dive were i didnt take my camera, but i enjoyed exploring the coral reefs of the pretty house reef. It was exciting to see my first shark – a white-tipped reef shark – not something i was expecting on a shore dive. Bring on the Tigers!

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

6

Date: 6th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 15c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Details: A bit quieter on the nudibranch front today at Pt Lonsdale. Still a few species to keep me busy.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm stacked, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

4

Date: 4th November 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 15c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Details: A really good nudibranch snorkel at Point Lonsdale with the supermacro on. Caldukia Affinis, Doto Ostena, Polycera Janjukia, a couple of Hermaea sp. and a very cooperative Pycnogonid (sea spider).

Camera Details: Canon 60mm stacked, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

28

Date: 28th October 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 14c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Details: On this snorkel, i tried my stacked supermacro setup again, this time in the 100mm macro port with autofocus off and it set to maximum magnification. Despite a very tight working distance, it worked well with the smaller nudis. However, one of the first nudi’s i saw (possibly a Favorinus) was almost too big for this set up – probably a whopping 18mm! Other species around were Doto Pita, a Trinchesia Sp, and a Hermaea Sp in the smaller pool.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm stacked, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

23

Date: 23rd October 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: 14c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 3m

Details: As part of the new Portarlington Marina, a large break wall has been constructed on the eastern side of the marina, bordering a large section of shallow natural reef. A small road was constructed down the cliff face to aid construction of the breakwall, and this now allows easy access to this part of the coastline. After an easy beach entry, i sawm along the break wall and found this Elysia Nudibranch on the weed on the wall. Sea Lettuce has covered the rocks forming the the shallow parts of the break wall. There were also a number of Lions Mane jellyfish in the area. Unfortunately the milky conditions of the water made them difficult to photograph. I swam out to near the channel marker, which was only about 3m deep. Some interesting reef out there, but not many critters.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos: