Diving Rainbow Wall and Seven Dwarfs

No doubt about it, today was a day in the water. We started early going out to the reef, a few miles from the anchorage, and scouted out a smaller pass that we hoped to use when we depart in a few days. With the dinghy we could easily make out the route and with a phone a track was created to be used when we leave at o’dark-thirty. From there we followed the outside of the reef to the next tiny pass where we tied off the dinghy to a hole in dead coral and started our adventure.

Up on the reef plateau were tons of beautiful bommies covered in colorful coral. We hadn’t swam 25 meters after reaching the wall before we came across a black tipped reef shark. Here we go again I thought. But actually this was the only shark we saw all day. The outer wall was incredible, large parrot fish and millions of different coral. Much smaller than the huge colorful coral in the Fulaga pass but so, so many. Just everywhere and every type. We followed along the edge, frequently free diving down to check it out from below or to inspect a cave to see what was hiding inside. Nearing the halfway point there was a small canyon that we kicked into for a 180 degree close up view of the splendor. We kept going and reached a natural cut that wasn’t a pass but that lead back onto the plateau. At this point we realized the current was flowing quite fast (we had read that scuba diving in this area was considered advanced due to the currents). At times no progress would be made and then a wave from behind would give just a push to make some forward progress. Good thing we were still amongst the coral and fish to distracted us from the slow progress. Bit by bit we made our way back to the dinghy (we had been keeping an eye out the entire time, it is hard to keep your situational awareness and also to ensure the painter on the dinghy wasn’t cut). We made it after a spectacular 45 minutes of time in the water that straight up flew by.

Back on Sky Pond, it was rinse off, eat some lunch, and take a short nap while we waited for the clouds to clear for our afternoon dive. Around 1:40pm Carl gave the green light and back out we went. We tied up close to the same spot and holy shit was the current really ripping. Funny that I thought the morning was fast. It made finding a spot to tie the dinghy while pulling it along a lot of work. Eventually we found a good stop and headed back to where we saw the shark in the morning.

This time we headed North along the reef out along a spot names “Rainbow Wall” The name is pretty much self-explanatory, but from the former resort (Namena Island Resort) on the island (destroyed and not rebuilt after Cyclone Winston)), “Rainbow wall offers a wide variety of soft coral and swim thru along the coral colours, sea fans, micro creatures, magic coral and many fish species. An excellent site for photography.” Speaking of which, Carl took a ton of photos on both dives but his camera had exposure and color issues (it is a cheapie), sadly only the photos below were worth posting. Oh and they claim it is a 80 foot dive, so I guess I can free dive nearly 80 feet now. Ha! It is at best 50 or 60 feet at the deepest and generally 25-30 feet).

From the Rainbow Wall, we continued and headed over to Seven Dwarfs. Again, from former resort’s website, “Seven dwarfs is a series of sunken bommies projecting from 120 ft to within 15 feet from the surface. This site is know for it’s wonderful soft coral, sea fans, abundance of tropical fish, micro critters and pelagic that petrol the outer edge.” That sums it up nicely, I will add that we came across many new to us fish on this dive. Carl took pictures that sadly did not turn out, I’ll be checking the Fish ID book aboard to see if I can figure out what they were. Another spectacular 45+ minutes of time in the water.

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