The following information is meant as a general guide to diving in Taveuni and can vary for each dive operator.
Where will we be diving?
Most dives are done on the world famous Rainbow Reef. This area includes patch reefs in Somosomo Strait and the fringing reef on the southeast corner of Vanua Levu. The distance to the majority of sites from the resort ranges from 10 to 30 minutes by dive boat. On the patch reefs diving is fairly shallow (30 to 70 feet), but there can be challenging tidal currents. At the fringing reef section diving is wall diving with deeper profiles (50 to 100 feet). A typical dive involves mooring, briefing, descent down a line, and a guided tour. Drift dives are done when site and tide conditions are favorable.
What can we expect to see down there?
Rainbow Reef is famous for its multi-hued soft coral. The daily tidal currents in Somosomo Strait produce a constant flow of nutrients that provides ideal conditions for soft coral growth, as well as sustains an incredible diversity and density of tropical fish life. The fringing reef area provides opportunities to experience larger fish and drop-offs.
What determines the day's dive locations?
Three factors determine the dive locations; tides, weather and dive schedule. The dive guides have learned over the years that certain sites are at their best on certain tides, incoming or outgoing. The wall dives, for example, are only done on outgoing tides as this is the only time current is generated and soft coral and fish are feeding. In the strait some sites are done only on an outgoing or an incoming tide, while others are good on both tides. Weather in Somosomo Strait is generally sheltered from rough seas but can be affected by surge. The fringing reef area is more exposed and sometimes we are unable to dive there due to choppy seas and strong surge. Over a week's period you will have experienced a range of dive sites including the better known ones such as the Great White Wall and Blue Ribbon Eel Reef. If you're in for just a short stay, we cannot guarantee particular sites due to the three reasons above. Dive sites are always confirmed in the morning. Please keep in mind that there is no such thing as the "best" dive on the Rainbow Reef, however, there is the best dive that day depending on the conditions.
What is the water temperature and what exposure protection will I need?
There are two distinct seasons for diving: summer (November - April) and winter (May - October). During the summer months water temperature lies in the 80˚F - 85˚F range (27˚C - 30˚C) and a lycra divesuit or a shortie is recommended. During winter the water temperatures are in the 75˚F - 80˚F range (24˚C - 27˚C), and a 3 mm or 5 mm wetsuit is recommended.
How much experience do I need to dive the Rainbow Reef?
The currents can be challenging in the Somosomo Strait. Depending on the state of the tide there can either be strong incoming or outgoing flows. Also, due to the unique topography of the strait, the current actually flows over as well as around the reef. The upshot is that the stronger currents are in the shallower sections of the reef. Once down on the reef there is considerably less current. The best advice is to listen to the dive crew as they are the experts and know the sites intimately.