FitDiver® Magazine June 2016 - Page 21

This photograph of the jellyfish floating peacefully along in the sunliight was our last dive in Taveuni, and the only dive over 10 days that we considered "peaceful".

Diving in the Somsomo Strait is not for the faint of heart. In the Somosomo Stait currents and tides are variable. The surface is typically choppy. While sometimes the currents are gentle, during our visit the currents were strong. Dive professionals in Taveuni are masters at knowing the ebb and flow of tides and how they affect diving conditions.

Dive sites we explored during our stay were The Ledge, Storm Warning, The Zoo, Fingers, Sam's Point, Rainbow's End, Jack's Place, Blue Ribbon Eel Reef, Great White Wall, The Corner, Coral Ledge, Fish Factory, Jerry's Jelly, Small White Wall, Cabbage Patch, Barracuda Hole, Yellow Tunnel, and Korolevu Reef. Of the dives listed only Rainbow's End and Korolevu Reef are beginner dive sites. The Zoo, Fingers, Great White Wall, Jack's Place and Barracuda Hole are advanced. The rest are intermediate to advanced. In our videos of the Great White Wall, bubbles from divers in front of us hit our camera lens like horizontal sleet on a wind shield.

At some sites, we entered the water from a live boat and dropped down as quickly as possible drifting with the tide. At about 80 feet close to the reef, we picked up a current drifting in the opposite direction. Sometimes we found ourselves swimming across the current into openings in the reef where once on the other side, we experienced sheltered waters. Back at the top of the eeef, to stay together during safety stops, we often held onto a rocky point or hooked in. We waited until all divers in the group completed their safety stop, released at the same time and drifted while surfacing. Once on the choppy surface it was a live boat pick up on a bouncing ladder. We observed even the most seasoned divers succumb to sea sickness the first day or two of diving. Both on and off the water, the dive staff demonstrated their professionalism. Some of the staff have been diving the strait for more than 20 years and their experience was invaluable.

It was absolutely worth it. We enjoyed every dive because we had excellent dive professionals, and we were and still are, well-trained, experienced, healthy and physically fit divers.

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