From Yadua Island, we visited Namena Marine Reserve and Makogai Island on the eastern edge of Bligh Waters. We stopped first at Namena for three nights and dove several times. Namena has some of the best diving in Fiji. The hard and soft coral life was amazing, in particular Dendronephthya in all colors of the rainbow. And the visibility was on par with the Tuamotus.
But the real standout for us at Namena was a dive site along the outer reef called Grand Central, pictured with a dive group at the top of this post. The reef wall there goes straight down for several hundred feet. Even with the excellent visibility, we still couldn’t see the bottom. It was clear how the site got its name: thousands of fish swarmed the wall, ranging from large pelagics to tiny reef-dwellers.
This video shows a huge school of Jacks swimming past us off the wall at Grand Central:
A little south of Namena, Makogai Island is home of a mariculture facility that breeds giant clams and sea turtles. We presented sevusevu (a gift of Kava root) to the head of the Mariculture Centre, who did a brief acceptance ceremony and gave us a tour of the grounds. The facility grows clams and turtles in shoreside tanks until they are large enough to be placed in the wild to repopulate Fiji’s reefs.
Makogai Island was a leper colony from the early 1900s until 1969. Over 5,000 people lived there in a substantial settlement now mostly in ruins. The first picture below is the remains of the projection room for the colony’s cinema. The graveyard in the second picture below is one of several on the island–the graves reach way up the hill. In the foreground is the grave of one of the French missinaries who worked at the colony.
Partway along the trail from the mariculture center to the island’s native village, we found a bluff with excellent views into our anchorage and the main anchorage off the mariculture center.
And we had an excellent dive just outside the entry channel through the island’s barrier reef. The visibility was quite good, with plenty of fish and healthy hard and soft coral life:
|Click on the image at left for a live map-based version of our complete trip log through Fiji.
On the live-map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://www.mvdirona.com/maps/LocationCurrent.html.