When you come to Fiji, expect to make friends. As you travel through this South Pacific divers' haven, you'll hear an enthusiastic and genuine greeting of "Bula!" (Welcome!) everywhere. This even seems to extend below the water. Every time I've dived in Fiji, it's as if the marine life here wants to compete with the locals to see who can greet visitors the most passionately. Sharks want to get close; shy blue-ribbon eels peek out of the reef just as your gaze sweeps over their home; and big aggregations of barracuda, blue and gold fusiliers, and anthias keep the reef swelling with movement. At one time, when one-note monikers were famous in dive journals, Fiji was called the Pacific's soft coral capital. And yes, you will find the reefs choked with red, yellow, purpleand pink soft coral trees.
But Fiji has so much diversity that you could spend the rest of your dive holidays exploring its different regions and never see all that this island nation offers. Off Beqa in the south, you'll find one of the world's greatest shark dives, with bull, blacktip and tiger sharks. In the north, off the island of Vanua Levu, the entire Great Northern Reef awaits exploration. In between, sites such as E-6 (named after the now-antiquated color slide processing system) in the Bligh Channel, Grand Central Station (off Namenalala), and the Great White Wall and Rainbow Reef (off Taveuni) have, for decades, left divers speechless.
Local Brew: Sit around the kava bowl with local villagers and swap stories while drinking this slightly narcotic brew made from the root of the Yaqona plant.
DESTINATION PRIMERAverage Water Temp: 77-81°F
What to Wear: 3-5 mm fullsuit
Average Viz: 80 feet plus
When to Go: Year-round