The small island of Namena is the largest no-take reserve in Fiji. Established in 1997, Namena is both a marine and bird preseve. It is slowly coming back to its former glory after the 2016 cyclone devasted the island. Prior to the cyclone, this area boasted over 1,000 fish species, over 600 pairs of red-footed boobies and a major nesting ground for the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.
To access Namena you have to enter through one of few passes. These passes were much easier to navigate than the passes of the Tuamotus in French Polynesia. Near the island of Namena is one mooring. We originally tried to anchor near the island but discovered too many bommies. So, we checked out the mooring and determined it was safe to hold our home.
The mooring is right in front of a small beach. Perfect location to watch all of the nesting birds return home from a day of hunting.
Nesting birds are all over the island. We saw lots of boobies!
We went ashore and found a trail that led us to the other side of the island. Super pretty beaches.
Best Diving / Snorkeling in Fiji
Namena is the home of some of the best diving in Fiji. They have many dive sites inside and outside the reef. The most famous are the chimneys, teutons, mushroom, and grand central station pass.
We don’t have a compressor so we have to be selective about where we dive until we can find a place to refill our tanks. We decided to snorkel the sites prior to getting all of our gear out.
The Chimneys consist of two sheer towers about 10 meters in diamer and 25 meters tall. The stretch majestically from the sea bed to the sun barely below the water’s surface. My awesome GoPro doesn’t do well far away so I tried to take photos of one of the chimneys in sections.
The water was a bit silty or murky but it very well could have been the tide. Both chimneys were teaming with little fish. They stayed together in their schools and created these amazing blocks of color.
Blooming coral created small bursts of color on the top and on the sides of the chimneys.
Teutons and Mushroom Sites
My favorite sites were the Teutons and the Mushooms as there seemed to be even more schools of fish.
Even the fish were getting into the Barbie craze…a pink comet trail of fish zoomed past me.
It was a strange feeling of being the new kid at school. I stood out like a sore thumb in a sea of beauty.
Some fish were curious and came up to see me, but most fled at first site of my bubbles.
And then I found a large, beautiful soft coral with 4 nemos!
I simply love this coral and wish I had nemo protecting me!
Look at all of that stunning color! The best aquarium ever.
Unfortunately, the Nemena Resort was destroyed in 2016 cyclone. They have a great website that states they are rebuilding, but it sure does not look like it from where we stand. It looks like there are people living in the houses up on the hill, but not much is going on.
We cetainly enjoyed our time in Namena. It is amazing to see the underwater world and the land bounce back from the 2016 cyclone. Nature is spell bounding and endures.
This blog post occured in mid-August. Our blogs run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events. Did you see the new Nawi Marina in Savusavu in our last blog?