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Bligh Water Diving

The Koro Sea

Soft coral scenery - photo courtesy of the Aggressor Fleet

Named after the famous sea captain, Bligh Water together with the Koro Sea are situated in the middle of the map of Fiji and more or less separate the north of the country from the south. There is a great deal of water movement through here and, especially where the channel narrows, this means incredibly nutrient-rich waters.

This all means that there is a lot of food for the smaller organisms, whose huge numbers in turn feed the bigger ones and you can be there to witness this extraordinary interplay of ecosystems in this passage of water. Many of these sites such as Namena and Koro Island are not particularly close to land and therefore must be accessed by liveaboard. The Nai'a, Fiji Aggressor and the Fiji Siren are the undisputed kings of liveaboards in this region of the Koro Sea.

Due to the currents, not all the dive sites in Bligh Water and the Koro Sea are particularly suitable for beginners. However the experienced boat crews are expert at knowing when the optimum conditions are for each site and when it is wise not to dive them, so there really is a wealth of opportunities here for various scuba levels.

The Dive Sites

Aptly named for a dive site which is a real photographers' favourite, E-6 is a remote and often diver-free site equally impressive by day or by night. The reason for its photogenic nature is a mix of the colour, abundant life and its awesome topography. Sites like E-6 are the reason many scuba divers favour a Fiji liveaboard trip over a land-based stay for the Bligh Water.

This submerged pinnacle rises from depths over 900m and peaks just below the surface. It features the Cathedral, a swim-through of a lifetime where your photographs can indeed turn out to be divine. Daytime sees big schools of fish including barracuda plus visits from eagle rays and hammerheads. As the sun sets crustaceans like arrowhead crabs and lobsters emerge to feed below the green strobe lights of innumerable flashlight fish.

Koro Island is washed with currents from the Koro Sea flushing its vibrant reefs with nutrients and feeding large numbers of fish, yet it still enjoys clean clear water and excellent visibility. It is difficult to find areas of the substrate here which are not bedecked in colourful soft corals, bright sponges or robust hard corals. On the reef, angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish and fusiliers are among those that catch the eye.

Sites here like Shark Fin Point are great for drift diving when conditions allow. Cruising over the colourful reefs you can spot white tips and grey reef sharks as well as eagle rays and big schools of barracuda, among a long list of exciting encounters.

Chimneys at Namena Island is one of the more exposed dive sites you will visit on your Koro Sea liveaboard cruise and one where currents can bring in an impressive cast of underwater stars! You will drop down to 3 large pinnacles which rise from about 25m to 3m around which the nutrient-rich current sweeps and flows.

Larger creatures include silver-tip sharks and dog-toothed tuna and grey reef sharks but there will be plenty of creatures in the foreground too. Dozens of garden eels will rise up from the sandy patches while black-saddled coral groupers, scribbled filefish and countless anthias swim above the reef. Within the corals look out for brown banded pipefish, nudibranchs and anemones with resident clownfish.

Nigali Passage is one of those sites of the Koro Sea that you have to hit at the right time. Do so and you will experience cruising along with the current along a long trench where there is action all around. This is not a spot for marvelling at colourful sponges and soft corals up close. Instead it is mostly about diving with sharks.

In ideal circumstances you can see dozens of grey reef sharks here and maybe even hammerheads patrolling this way and that as you fly past. You are also likely to encounter red sea bass, snappers and schools of trevally. If luck is with you there may even be a few eagle rays and manta rays swinging by before you come to end your dive over a prisitine field of cabbage coral.

Dive The World Fiji Recommendations: Nigali Passage and anywhere in Namena

More detailed information available on Bligh Water-Koro Sea dive sites (on our www.dive-the-world.com website).


Staying at Bligh Water and the Koro Sea

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Diving Season

Scuba diving in the Koro Sea is great whole year: October to March is warm with water temperatures between 26°C (79F) and 29°C (84F) and visibility ranging from 20 to 40 metres. April to September is a little cooler with the water temperature ranges between around 22°C (72F) to 26°C (79F) but with visibility reaching between 30 to 45 metres (100 to 150 feet).

How to Get There

All of the Fiji liveaboard charters depart from different ports so you need to be sure you are aware of the start and end points of your cruise. Nai'a departs from Lautoka on the north coast of Viti Levu and not far from Nadi, where most people fly in. The Fiji Siren departs from Rakiraki about 2.5 hours' drive along the same coastline, to the most northerly point of the island.

Reef Basics

Great for: Big animals, drift dives and underwater photography
Not so great for: Beginner divers and non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 45m
Currents: Moderate
Surface Conditions: Can be choppy
Water Temperature: 22 - 29°C
Experience Level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: >25
Access: Fiji liveaboards
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 14 days


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