After a few days of getting settled in Savusavu on Vanua Levu, the crew of Amandla decided to head to Namena Island and Marine Reserve for a few days of snorkeling.
Namena Island and Marine Reserve is a very close 26 nm mile hop south from Savusavu. We had a lovely sail with blue skies and fair winds on the beam. Waypoints provided by Curly Carswell supported our navigation to the reef and through the pass.
Just before entering the pass, we hailed the Marine Reserve on Ch 14 to announce our arrival. They instructed us to moor and then come to the office to pay a FJ$30 per person annual entry fee (more than worth it). The mooring ball seemed a bit questionable, so we decided to drop anchor after paying our fee at the office.
We had a quiet evening in the anchorage, enjoying homemade pesto courtesy of The Captain and were up early the next morning to explore the reef.
There were so many options to chose from and only a few days to explore so we started at the beginning with a snorkel off the pier in front of the Dive Shop.
The area was rich with healthy coral and several Giant Clams.
While the snorkeling is great, the diving at Namena is supposed to be even better. I am not yet a diver and the Captain is still recovering from surgery, so our friend Steve went off for a dive in the afternoon in the capable hands of the Namena Dive Masters. As Steve headed out to dive and film the Chimneys, The Captain and I started a tour of Namena Island (I’ll add a copy of the Steve’s dive video here after he completes editing…it is gorgeous).
We were treated to breathtaking views, trails and wildlife.
However, The Captain preferred lounging over hiking, so he walked back to the pier while I visited one of the three island beaches.
In the evening, Jim and Jeanette from SY Dancer (the only other boat in the anchorage) joined us for dinner. They have been cruising and diving (typically 2-3 dives a day) for over 17 years, primarily in the Pacific. They often return to their favorite dive spots, Namena Island being one of them .
The next morning, we went out snorkeling again, trying without success to find the Chimneys sans GPS. But we did find some awesome coral anyhow sprinkled with small tropical fish in The Pirates Den (at least that is where we think we were).
Namena Reef offered the most beautiful coral that we’ve seen since the Tuamtous and I’ve been told that many of the snorkel/dive sites are also rich with fish large and small (we only snorkled two of many spots).
Unfortunately, schedules required us to return to Savusavu, but The Captain and I hope to return here again before departing Fiji.
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