Experience the best scuba diving locations in Fiji by liveaboard
Fiji has to be one of the most idyllic places to visit for a holiday. The name Fiji alone conjures up pictures of white sandy beaches and warm turquoise waters. But why not experience the best dive locations around Fiji by liveaboard.
Scuba dive Fiji from a liveaboard to experience the ‘soft coral capital of the world.’ Fiji has some of the best diving in the world with pristine corals and abundant sea life. Some of the best scuba diving locations in Fiji include the area known as the Bligh Waters. This is better explored by way of a liveaboard dive trip. This allows for the exploration and enjoyment of the more remote dive sites in the region where less scuba divers go.
The best scuba diving locations in Fiji
To whet your appetite for a Fiji Scuba diving liveaboard trip, let's take a look at the best scuba diving locations in Fiji first. There are also three Fiji liveaboards listed towards the end of this article, with customer reviews too.
Bligh Waters or Vatu-I-Ra Seascape
I've chosen Bligh Waters as the first of the best dives sites in Fiji, as it is arguably the best of the best.
The Bligh Water is a body of water about 9,500 square kilometres (3668 miles sq), which is north of Viti Levu and in the middle of the main Fiji islands. They were named after Captain William Bligh, who sailed the Royal Navy's Cutter the Bounty through the region.
In fact for a period of time the Islands of Fiji where known as the Bligh Islands.
The more recent name of the Bligh Waters is the Vatu-I-Ra Seascape. Where Vatu-I-Ra Seascape runs between Fiji's two main islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. Both of which are volcanic islands.
This dive is often done as a drift dive, as there are currents that run in this area.
The Bligh Water area has an abundance of soft corals. Fiji is well known for it's abundance of soft corals and is known as 'Soft Coral Capital of The World.'
What to expect when scuba diving the Bligh Waters of Fiji
When you scuba dive Bligh Waters you will experience healthy reefs, with plenty of soft corals. But be prepared for some drift diving, as there are some currents (some quite strong too) in the area.
These currents are incredibly nutrient rich, which provides food for a large number of fish. Which in turn feeds the larger predatory fish.
This dive site is suitable for both beginner scuba divers and advanced divers alike. But having said that, some of the currents may be strong, which would not make them suitable for beginner scuba divers, as they become drift dives.
There are a few resorts with dive centres scattered around the area, but the Bligh Waters region is really ideally suited to be explored by liveaboard dive boat.
This area is an advanced scuba diver's paradise and a photographers dream. There are pristine corals and uncrowded dive sites to enjoy and to explore from your liveaboard dive boat.
The Bligh Waters are in the Koro Sea and one of the best and most popular dive sites is named E-6.
E-6 dive site Bligh Waters is a photographers heaven
E-6, which is short for the E-6 Process, is one of the dive sites in Bligh Water and is aptly named after the amount of E6 Slide film shot when this dive site was first discovered.
For those that don't remember photographs before digital, the E-6 Process is one of the processes used for developing photos.
There is a dive resort in Wananavu on the north coast of Viti Levu. This five star PADI dive company ventures out to E-6, but the day boat trip to Bligh Waters and E-6 is quite a way.
Therefore to really enjoy this region and to explore some of the more remote locations in the Bligh Waters, a liveaboard trip is your best choice.
An amazing pinnacle which rises up from the sea bed over 900 metres (3,000 feet) below to less than one metre (3.28 feet) below the surface. Therefore making it a shipping hazard, but a scuba divers paradise. The pinnacle is covered in both hard and soft corals, which are fed by nutrient rich seas.
These nutrient rich seas attract large numbers of fish and pelagics.
Around halve way on your dive there's a great swim through which is aptly nicknamed the Cathedrals. The swim-through has huge arches, which has big Gorgonian fans along the the sides and roof of the arches.
When the sun shines through these arches, it creates and almost religious setting.
Video of a scuba dive from liveaboard Nai'a scuba diving the Bligh Waters
Beqa Lagoon and the famous Fiji shark dive
The Beqa Lagoon dive site lies off from Beqa Island, which is a small island south of the main island Viti Levu.
Beqa Lagoon is one of the most popular Fiji diving destinations. One of the best dive sites around Beqa is the Strait, which is a 5-mile channel between the lagoon and the main island.
There are a range of good dive spots around this lagoon and the islands that fringe it. But possibly one of the most exciting dives is the shark dive site (see video below).
Depending on your opinion as a scuba diver as to whether sharks feeding is good or bad, will decide on your decision to do this dive. But if you love scuba diving with sharks, this maybe a great dive to enjoy.
There's a chance to see up to eight shark species on the shark diving site. These include the beautiful and very large tiger shark, as seen in the video. Other shark species includes all types of reef shark, tawny nurse sharks and bull sharks.
In addition to the shark diving site, at Beqa Lagoon you can expect to see pinnacles, plenty of soft corals (the norm for Fiji) and even wrecks to explore.
Beqa Lagoon shark dive video - The Cathedral
Kadavu dive site
Kadavu is Fiji’s fourth largest island and much of this island is still undeveloped. This island is around 100 kilometres (62.5 miles) south of Viti Levu Island.
With very little infrastructure on the island it has great nature with a rugged hills and secluded bays. You'll also experience long white sandy beaches.
But it's what's under the water that is more interesting for scuba divers around Kadavu. There are fabulous coral reefs that surround Kadavu Island, with the most famous of these being the Great Astrolabe Reef.
The Great Astrolabe Reef is one of the world’s largest barrier reefs and is like an aquarium.
This area is known for big fish and is frequented by Manta rays. The manta rays can be seen either snorkeling or scuba diving. In addition to manta rays, you are likely to see sharks, giant trevally and snapper. There are also tuna, mahi-mahi (dolphinfish) and large billfish in the area.
Rainbow reef dive site
Rainbow Reef is located in the Somosomo Strait. The Somosomo Strait runs between Vanua Levu and Taveuni Island.
There are some pretty strong currents that run through this straight, so scuba diving is limited to slack or near slack tide. It's these strong tidal currents that bright the rich nutrients to feed the soft corals and fish which makes it so vibrant.
As you'd expect now from Fiji, Rainbow Reef is a multi coloured wall of soft coral. It's the flamboyant colours that create the look of an underwater rainbow. There are a coulee of notable dive sites on Rainbow Reef, which include 'Zoo' and 'Purple Wall.'
If you love the film 'Finding Nemo,' and like me love clown fish, then Rainbow Reef is a must-do dive site. There are plenty anemones, which are home to the clown fish and will mean you'll be able to spend plenty of time finding Nemo.
Other sea life in the area includes sharks and manta rays, plus an abundance of coral fish species.
Lomaiviti archipelago of Fiji
Just off the east coast of the main island of Viti Levu is a group of islands called Lomaiviti.
The Lomaiviti Islands are home to the historical port town of Levuka, which was Fiji’s first capital and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.
This archipelago consists of seven main islands, with a number of small ones too. The area they cover is around 411 square kilometres (159 sq miles).
In the video below you see an abundance of sea life around Naigani Island, which is one of the islands of the Lomaiviti archipelago.
What sea life you'll see when scuba diving Fiji
The type of sea life around the Bligh Waters will include the following:
- Sharks, including whitetip reef, blacktip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, slivertip sharks, Tawny nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, leopard sharks and even the occasional tiger shark.
- Manta rays.
- Moral eels.
- Loads of soft corals, an abundance of coral fish and nudibranchs.
- Spanish Mackerel.
- Dog-toothed tuna.
Fiji scuba diving liveaboard
The Nai'a Fiji Liveaboard dive boat
The Nai’a liveaboard is a 36 metres 119 (feet) steel mono-hulled liveaboard boat. The Nai'a is equipped and insured to take a maximum of 16 scuba divers.
There are two options of either a seven night or a 10 night liveaboard trip aboard the Nai'a. On the seven day trip you'll have the opportunity to dive up to 26 times, whereas on the 10 night liveaboard trip you have the opportunity to dive up to 38 times.
Both lengths of trip visit Bligh Water, Namena and the Koro Sea.
All the cabins have en-suite facilities and have individually controlled air conditioning.
You'll be served international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner with wine. On board during your trip coffee, tea, soft drinks, water, fruit, biscuits and snacks are provided free of charge.
Nitrox is available on board at an extra charge, plus the following:
List of features of the Nai’a Fiji liveaboard
- DIN Adapters.
- Nitrox available.
- Rebreather and tech diver support.
- Shaded diving area.
- Air conditioned cabins with en-suite bathroom facilities.
- 8 cabins and 8 bathrooms.
- Sun deck, warm showers, library and paid internet.
- Non-diver/snorkeler friendly.
- Available for charter.
Reef Endeavour Fiji Liveaboard boat - rated 9.2 out of 10 and Superb, plus 4.5 stars out of 5
The MV Reef Endeavour is more like a cruise ship than a dive liveaboard. But if you have a family or a partner who doesn't dive, it provides the perfect combination of comfort and facilities, whilst at the same time offering tender diving trips too.
The MV Reef Endeavour offers year-round dive and cruise trips to some of Fiji's most scenic destinations. With its 64 cabins and first class facilities, it has gained a good reputation and rating from guests who've enjoyed their Fiji holiday on board.
Facilities on the MV Reef Endeavour Fiji liveaboard boat
The following are the top facilities on this large 73 metre (240 feet) Fiji liveaboard:
- Social areas include a swimming pool and sun deck, a spa, fully equipped gym, 2 bars, 2 lounges, indoor and outdoor dining areas and souvenir shop.
- Accommodation includes a choice of 64 cabins which include standard, stateroom, connecting family staterooms and suites.
- All cabins feature air conditioning, private en-suite bathrooms, hair-dryer and shaver point, toiletries, towels and is serviced daily.
- Offer guests the chance to explore remote dive sites via the smaller dive tender. this includes cave diving and up to 2 dives per day where possible.
- Night dives are also available on occasion.
Diving from the M/V Reef Endeavour is ideal for those travellers who wish to incorporate a dive holiday with all the comforts of a well equipped modern cruise ship. Alternatively, this large liveaboard offers those that are travelling with non-divers to make the most of the on-board facilities described above.
Reviews of the MV Reef Endeavour Fiji Liveaboard dive boat
Here are a sample of verified reviews of the MV Reef Endeavour Fiji Liveaboard boat.
Customer Review #1 from the USA - rated 10 out of 10 and Exceptional, plus 5 stars out of 5
Best way to see Fiji
"Beautiful islands, best soft coral we’ve ever seen, memorable authentic culture experiences (not sham sales shows), and the best crew we’ve had on any class of ship. They sang all the time, always smiled, and knew our names because they wanted to, not because they had too. Sit down and drink the kava with them!!"
Recommended for: Unbelievable staff; 2 islands every day; multiple options at most stops all includedJohn S, United States of America
Customer Review #2 from the USA - rated 9.6 out of 10 and Exceptional, plus 5 stars out of 5
Little cruise ship that took me diving
"The Caves of Babylon was a stunning dive in mammoth caves with a wall that fell into the abyss. Endless swim-thrus and cracks and crevices that beg to be explored. I could have spent my entire trip exploring this one site."
Recommended for: Food, islands, staffMichael S, United States
How to book your liveaboard trip on the MV Reef Endeavour Fiji liveaboard
Booking is easy, follow the link below to book your dive trip of a lifetime to Fiji:
The Fiji Princess liveaboard dive boat - rated 9.2 out of 10 and superb, with 4.5 stars out of 5
More like thew MV Reef Endeavour liveaboard boat, the Fiji Princess Fiji liveaboard is very much more like a cruise ship have a capacity of 68 guests across 34 cabins.
Facilities on the Fiji Princess liveaboard boat
The following are the top facilities on this large 55 metre (179 feet) Fiji liveaboard:
- Air conditioned and en-suite bathroom cabins with TV's/DVD's and good storage facilities plus hair dryers..
- Non-diver/snorkeler friendly.
- Family friendly cruise.
- Stand up paddle boards, kayaks and snorkelling equipment.
- Free internet.
- Warm water showers.
- Massage, spa and beauty treatments.
- Open air dining.
Reviews of the Fiji Princess Fiji Liveaboard dive boat
Here are a sample of verified reviews of the Fiji Princess Liveaboard boat.
Customer Review #1 from the USA - rated 9.6 out of 10 and Exceptional, plus 5 stars out of 5
An amazing 5 days in beautiful Fiji islands.
"We loved every minute of the trip. Being on a small boat like this almost felt like sailing and we got to know a lot of the guests. When visiting the islands it felt real and not at all a tourist trap."
Recommended forSnorkeling, Blue Lagoon and meeting people from all over the world.Claes O, United States
Customer Review #2 from the New Zealand - rated 9.6 out of 10 and Exceptional, plus 5 stars out of 5
An outstanding crew with multiple talents.
"Shark dive and the school kids. Joey and Nau , two wonderful human beings that the BLC need to retain. The sunsets. The wide array of fish. The talk by the scientist on the coral health. The nice warm clear water. Best trip ever ( and I’ve been on a few!"
Recommended for: The scenery. The crew, The snorkelingIan D, New Zealand
Customer Review #3 from the Australia - rated 9.6 out of 10 and Exceptional, plus 5 stars out of 5
We had a great experience cruising the islands. Top notch.
"The whole experience was a highlight."
Recommended for: 1. The staff couldn't do enough for us. 2. Meeting people from all over the world. 3. Relaxation.John S, Australia
How to book your liveaboard trip on the Fiji Princess Fiji liveaboard
Booking is easy, follow the link below to book your dive trip of a lifetime to Fiji:
Scuba diving season and water temperatures in Fiji
Fiji is a tropical country with a maritime climate, where the weather is fairly even all year round. This means that scuba diving in Fiji is a year round activity.
Water temperatures are roughly the same throughout the region. Where the coolest waters are usually found between July to October. The average water temperature is around 26°C (78°F).
Fiji's dry season - May to November
The dry season for Fiji runs from May through to November. During this season the temperature is slightly cooler with air temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F) during the day.
Fiji's wet season - December to April
The wet season in Fiji runs between December and April each year. The air temperature during this time rises and averages around 31°C (88°F).
Best season for liveaboards in Fiji
The best time to book your liveaboard dive trip to Fiji would be between October and March. This is the time when the surface conditions are at their most calm, which means the liveaboard boat will be able to reach the more remote sites.
That's not to say you can't dive at the other times of the year, as the temperatures are still warm, however, it may not be possible to reach these more remote sites at other times of the year.
During the period between October to March the visibility can drop to as little as 15 to 25 m (50-82 feet). This is due to the warmer waters, which encourages plankton blooms. However, with every cloud there's always a silver lining.
This silver lining in terms of scuba diving in Fiji comes in the form of plankton feeders like manta rays and whales. I would rather have lower visibility and see manta rays and whales than have better visibility, but that's a personal preference.
However, if your preference is visibility over experiencing plankton blooms you should visit between April and September. Expect stunning visibility at this time of year in the range of 30-40 metres (100-131 feet). The waters will be cooler though and can range between 22°C (72°F) and 26°C (79°F).
I hope you enjoyed this article about Fiji scuba diving liveaboard
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Fiji scuba diving liveaboard), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!