Diving Rainbow Reef and the Great White Wall has been a dream of mine for a few years. We had tried to dive here last season, but Matt injured his ear and then we tore our main sail and couldn’t get to the site. So, this trip back to Fiji was focused on diving this spectacular area. We arrive in Viani Bay which is our launch point for the dive sites on Rainbow Reef.
Rainbow Reef is legendary and has well over 20 pristine dive sites. It has been called the “soft coral capital of the world” but I might beg to differ when comparing it to Bonaire. Some of the most popular dive sites include The Great White Wall, The Fish Factory, The Zoo, and Cabbage Patch to name a few.
Where is the Rainbow Reef Located? It lies in the Somosomo Strait which is the passage that runs between Vanua Levu (Fiji’s second largest island) and Taveuni Island (Fiji’s third largest island). In Fijian Somosomo Strait means “good water” and it is called this because the strait has strong tidal currents, providing a good supply of nutrients, just the right ingredients for healthy and diverse soft coral and abundant fish.
Photo courtesy of Taveunit Dive Resort
The Great White Wall Dive
Our friends on Pogeyan who have been diving this area for years take us out on our first Rainbow Reef dive. They take us to the Great White Wall which happened to be in full bloom (a rare occurence evidently).
Matt and I had not been diving in awhile so we take it slow. First we wanted to make sure his ear (which he perforated last season) was ok and second we wanted to make sure all of our gear worked properly. Our friends took the adventurous way down to the wall which was through a tunnel. But I was not having any of that! So, Matt and I took a leisurely descent down to about 12-15 meters and swam over the edge. And let me just say “WOW”
It was as if snow had fallen on the soft coral under water! The top left photo shows the white coral with the naked eye (25 meters/85′ below the surface) and in the upper right corner is the same white coral with a light on it (from our friend).
I am not sure how it happens but the white wall actually glows and shimmers! It doesn’t come out so great with my little GoPro and no light, but it was glorious.
Once you swim past the Great White Wall you get into tons of color. It is obvious why they call this the rainbow reef. So many purples, yellows, and greens!
The dive takes my breath away with its pure beauty!
So many bright colors, tons of schools of fish in all sorts of varieties, and hard and soft coral intermixed on the wall.
We found a rather large clam with a personal guardian and a beautiful black soft coral growing in the center of a larger white hard coral.
Our total depth for the Great White Wall was about 26 meters (85′) and the water was moderate but we did have wet suits on (3mil). There was a slight current pushing us along the wall. A truly amazing dive. I wish we had more time to do this multiple times!
Our next dive with with Dive Academy at the Zoo! We hired a guide to dive with us on the Rainbow Reef “Zoo” because there can be dangerous currents. It is super nice to be picked up from the boat, borrow tanks, and be picked up and dropped off at the dive site. Our guide, Ian was full of excitement at diving the zoo. This particular dive site is known for its large pelagic fish and it is also known as a mating grounds for gray sharks!
We saw schools of barracuda, two gray sharks (not mating) several white tip sharks, a few trevallis and groupers. Of course, I did not get any photos of these big guys as they were a bit too far away for them to come out good. But I did get a couple of sharks playing with Matt (top two photos).
We saw lots of soft coral with little nemos protecting each of them. I don’t know why, but I always want to stick my finger in the center of the soft coral….but I never dare to!
And we saw lots of these hard corals with little protectors.
So much beauty in one spot on the reef.
It is always a special treat to find an octopus and this one wanted to check us out too. He was huge! Can you spot him in the top photo?? He blends in so well with the coral.
He was so curious! It reminded me of the documentary “The Octopus Teacher.”
It was the perfect way to end a perfect dive! Truly wish we could spend a month here exploring the other dive sites at Rainbow Reef! An absolute must see when you are in Fiji!
Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events. This blog post occured toward the end of August. In our last blog we have a posse part at Nawi Marina.