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One Last Day In Paradise!

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

It has been a wonderful two weeks here in the Fiji Islands, but it’s time to go back to reality. Our stay at Castaway Island ended just after one o’clock today as we boarded the ‘Tiger IV’ shuttle to take us back to Nadi. Once there we would make our way back to the airport, grab some dinner and then wait for our 10pm flight back to the States. The airlines wouldn’t allow us to check our luggage in early so we had to watch over it ourselves until the 7pm check-in time! Kind of makes sight seeing a little difficult if you know what I mean!

Anyway, here are a couple of parting photos from our last two evenings on Castaway Island… Enjoy! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

More Photos from Castaway…

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

Here are a few more photos from our dives in the Mamanuca Island Group… Enjoy!! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

Diving the Mamanuca Island Group…

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

Our time in Fiji is almost up and we can truly say that it has been a great two weeks! The diving here in the Mamanuca Island Group is different than what we encountered during our first week aboard the Fiji Aggressor II, but all in all it was still excellent. The dive sites were more spread out which meant more travel time in between dives and the visibility was quite a bit lower than it was up North. However, we still had some great dives and took some fantastic pictures to prove it!

This week the Castaway Dive Team took us to a host of sites including the famous ‘Supermarket’, ‘Joe’s Farm’, ‘Wilke’s Find’, ‘Coral Garden’, ‘Plantation Pinnacle’ and ‘Magic Island’ just to name a few! We would like to send a special thanks to Jerry and the entire Castaway Dive Team for making our diving this week so enjoyable! And a huge thank you to the entire Castaway Island Staff… We will be back!!! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

Topside Photos from Castaway Island…

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

I’m not going to spend a lot of time writing about our time on Castaway Island. It’s not because we don’t like it here… Hell, we may never leave! But as Julie said to me the other day, this is our honeymoon and some things need to be kept close to the heart. I will say that we have had a fantastic time here so far and the weather has been very forgiving for this time of year. It has been a bit windy and there is a lot of crap in the water from the storm two weeks ago, but for the most part you couldn’t ask for a better Fiji honeymoon! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

Next stop… Castaway Island!

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

After breakfast all the guests were instructed to bring their luggage to the dive deck so that the crew could off-load it to the shuttle bus when it finally arrived. Well, the shuttle bus was almost an hour late which was going to put Julie and myself in a bind because we had pre-paid tickets for the ‘Tiger IV Shuttle’ to take us from Nadi to Castaway Island. The ‘Tiger IV’ is a high-speed catamaran that serves as a shuttle service to all the out-lying islands in the Mamanuca Group. Our boarding tickets were for the 12:15 pm shuttle to Castaway Island and if we missed it we would have to wait until 3:30 pm for the next one. Remember now, the bus ride from Suva to Nadi takes three and a half hours with no traffic… are you doing the math yet!! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

Wakaya to Suva…

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

This morning we awoke to a fantastic sunrise anchored just off of Wakaya Island. We would only get one dive today before pulling anchor and starting on our journey back to port in Suva. As a result of the perfect conditions at ‘Wakaya Pass’ we found ourselves back on the dive site that we started the week on, ‘Blue Ribbon Eel Wall’. Without going into a whole lot of detail I can tell you that we were all no less impressed this time around! We didn’t run into any big critters, but the awesome visibility and tons of macro stuff more that made up for the lack of Sharks and other large animals one might normally see here. (View Photos, Videos & More»)

More from Makogai Island…

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

Here are a couple more photos from our visit to the village on Makogai Island… Enjoy! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

The Village on Makogai Island…

:: Tags: General, Photo, Travel

The village on Makogai Island, Fiji…

After getting cleaned up from our last dive, we relaxed with a glass of wine as we waited for Marnie to brief us on what we could expect during the Village visit this evening. I had already removed my camera from my underwater housing, changed lenses and prepped it for the land excursion, so I was pretty much all set when Marnie called us all to the skiff for the ride over. (View Photos, Videos & More»)

Makogai Island…

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

This morning we awoke to the sound of the Fiji Aggressor’s twin diesel engines warming up to move us out of the lagoon and take us just off-shore of Makogai Island. It was a truly beautiful sunrise and the waters were as clam and flat as a sheet of glass. The crossing last night had gone smoothly and with any luck we would finish out our week of diving with the same excellent weather we’ve experienced so far. We would have to make our bottom times shorter today, on our third and fourth dives, so as to have enough time to prepare for our shore visit to the village on Makogai Island this evening. More on the village visit later!

Rick's Place off Makogai Island...
Diving at Rick’s Place just off Makogai Island…

Our first dive was on ‘Rick’s Place’ and it was an Awesome Dive! The word “WOW” comes to mind, but just doesn’t seem to do it the justice it deserves! It must have been the early morning lighting that made it so special for me. The way it shimmered on the surface and made the soft corals just come alive with color was truly amazing. The beautiful sea fans were also a treat as they swayed in the slight surge of the oceans current. This is what a healthy coral reef should look like… a true underwater photographer’s dream site! The top 30 feet of these two pinnacles are covered by the most incredible coral gardens which are home to Lion Fish, Leaf Scorpion Fish, White Tips, Painted Cray Fish, Hump Head Cleaner Shrimp and a vast amount of bubble coral. Nice Dive!! (View Photos, Videos & More»)

Our last two dives in Namena!

:: Tags: Photo, Travel

Our first dive of the afternoon was on ‘Chimneys’. This is a big dive site with way too much to see on just one dive! The bommies on this site are kind of spread out, but with the good visibility one could just make out all the other pinnacles and ridges on the site. This allowed for easy navigation from pinnacle to pinnacle during the course of the dive. On this dive we saw Dancing Durban’s, Humpback Cleaner Shrimp, Spotted Sweetlips, Oreo Groupers, schools of Hump Head Snappers, Pipe Fish, Anemones and millions of other small reef fish.

A large Oreo Grouper at 'Chimneys'...

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