By now it’s no secret that I’m fond of lists — especially Bucket Lists filled with amazing destinations, experiences, and adventures — and after receiving my open water certification back in 2014, I sat down and created a “Scuba Dive Bucket List.”
In addition to Turks & Caicos, Belize, French Polynesia, Australia, and Hawaii (to name a few), the exotic islands of Fiji were right near the top of that list. With good reason, too. In the diving world, Fiji is known for its clear water, abundant reef systems, and diverse wildlife; and with over 300 islands scattered across 1.3 million square miles* in the southern Pacific Ocean, Fiji has a perfect dive site for every aquaholic (regardless of certification level).
After booking our room at the Sheraton Tokoriki, I emailed the resort to inquire about scheduling our scuba dives and was informed that we would be able to book our dives after arriving on the island. Waiting to book our dives only after our arrival miiiight have stressed me out a little. You’re shocked, aren’t you? 🙂 But alas, the dive shop said they’d have availability and they did. Looking back, there was no need to stress; but it’s one of the things I do best. 😉
For all my non-scuba diver friends out there, most dive days go something like this: Early morning wake-up call, groggy drive to the dive shop, load the boat, an hour (or longer) boat-ride to the dive sites, gear up,
finally go diving. Sometimes it feels like an elaborate procession in order to spend a day channeling our inner mermaids (completely worth it, but an ordeal nonetheless), however, in Fiji it was different.
The dive shop on Tokoriki was located right on the beach, and on the morning of our scheduled dive, we met on the beach at 10:00am with dive gear in-hand. We met our dive master, Paul, and fellow diver (yes, singular, in case you didn’t catch that) and climbed into the small dinghy from which we would dive. No early morning wake-up calls, no long drives to the dive shop, no large groups of divers, no long boat rides to the dive sites. A
girl mermaid could get used to this.
The ocean was like glass that morning — a drastic difference from our rollercoaster boat ride over to Monuriki island the day before — and the dive site was less than ten minutes away from Tokoriki Island. As we pulled up to the site, a turtle surfaced near our dinghy and glided gracefully across the water. We quickly geared up, backrolled into the calm ocean, and descended below the surface to explore Yadura Pinnacle.
During my 37-minutes underwater, we saw three sharks, a turtle, schools of butterfly fish, and a rare blue dragon nudibranch that Paul the divemaster was quite excited to come across. It’s always fun to see divemasters get excited about a particular site or sighting; after all, they dive multiple times a day, often at the same sites, so to share in their excitement about a new-to-the-area visitor, was a special treasure.
Sadly, I forgot to use my underwater diving filter, so my pictures didn’t turn out great; I guess there’s always next time. Unremarkable dive photos aside, we still have more underwater exploring to do on our next trip — Beqa’s Shark Dives and the famous Taveuni Wall immediately spring to mind.
A special thanks to DSDS Dive Center at the Sheraton Tokoriki Resort and Spa for such a great day! Fiji, you spoiled us.