Upon waking up to another awe-inspiring Yasawan sunrise, a perfect way to great the morning, I realised we had been blessed with near perfect diving conditions; the sea was flat calm, more like a millpond than open sea and with no wind at all! The unanimous decision was that we simply had to go for a fun dive (something we usually save for Friday mornings) to one of our favourite dive sites called Bonzai. A spectacular dive site that has captured all our hearts, 8km boat ride straight out to sea, spotting two manta rays breaching on the way, Bonzai is a sheer reef wall populated with all manner of exciting marine creatures. After descending 29/30metres (our maximum depth we can go as recreational divers) below the seas’ surface with breathtakingly crisp visibility (approx 22m), we spent a very happy (if slightly narked) 30 mins swimming and exploring along the reef wall, sighting 4 humphead parrotfish, a white tip reef shark and a green turtle! Without a doubt the best dive in Fiji yet, as I was able to face my fear of sharks and it’s been an all time dream of mine to see a turtle in its natural habitat!
In the afternoon we were taken to visit a trial Seaweed farm a couple of islands away, off Namatayalevu, the seaweed farm was developed for the communities of Vuaki & Namatayalevu as an alternative source of income for them, as they can sell the seaweed to Asia where they use it in the manufacture of beauty products among other things. After a spectacular boat ride viewing another side of the islands we hadn’t seen before, we arrived at the seaweed farm, donned our snorkel masks and jumped in (once the marine research coordinator had taken the photos she needs for her records, used to estimate size and growth), our job was to help cleans the lines/ropes that the seaweed grows on of all the algal growth that builds up, a job that needs to be done regularly otherwise the seaweed crop will become smothered and ultimately die. Of course we were able to have a nice swim around and explore the idyllic turquoise waters of the bay once we were finished.
On our way back to base we even spotted a whole bunch of rubbish floating in the water so a couple of us jumped in to fish it out, leaving us all with a nice warm satisfied glow and a good feeling that today we had definitely done our bit for Yasawan marine conservation.
Rowena Johnson (Marine Volunteer 8 weeks)