The ocean waters between Fiji’s 2 main islands, just off the Suncoast’s shores, are called the Bligh Waters and are famous among scuba divers as they are home to some of the most spectacular coral reef diving in the world.
The Vatu-i-Ra Passage area of the Bligh Waters is just wonderful, and certainly the most colourful and diverse diving anywhere in the world.
Scuba diving the Bligh Waters
The Blight Waters, or more recently the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, is known after the small volcanic island Vatu-i-Ra, a national park and bird sanctuary with beautiful white sand beaches, a long way offshore.
The coral reefs surrounding this island, and specifically the tight, narrow passages between the fringing and barrier reefs, and through the opening into atolls, vibrate with life and energy, when the tide changes, the currents build and the ocean begins flowing through quickly.
It is then, at that specific moment, that the famous soft corals for which Fiji is known, are fully extended, reaching out for their planktonic food, surrounded by the clouds of anthias and reef fishes, and at their most gorgeous.
Bligh Waters and the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape
This magnifiecent area of forests, mangroves, seagrass meadows, reefs, deep channels, and seamounts is one of the Pacific’s last great wild places.
It is the home to the largest population of nesting hawksbill turtles in Fiji as well as, leatherback loggerhead and green turtles.
The Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is one of the few remaining sanctuaries for the globally endangered maori wrasse, bumphead parrotfish and many species of reef sharks.
The traditional iTaukei people thrill to common sightings of resident long fin pilot whales and Pacific Common dolphins as well as the annual migration of humpback whales passing through the channel in July and August.
The strong oceanic currents run South to North through the deep Vatu-i-Ra channel, bringing the nourishing waters from offshore and supporting a great diversity of more than 300 coral and 1000 fish species.
These, in turn, sustain the breeding colonies of seabirds and shore birds on the island of Vatu-i-Ra and the mainland.
Protecting the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is critical for maintaining our culture and way of life.