Lovo Feast - Taveuni, Fiji

People often ask me where my favorite dive spot is. It is very difficult to answer that question because each location offers something different or unique. So I cannot honestly say I have a single favorite dive spot but I can say I have a single favorite dive resort and that is Paradise Resort on the Garden Island of Taveuni, Fiji. Owned by Allan and Terri Gortan it is an absolute delight for those of us who are travellers and seek the adventure of remote locations. This is our story of the Lovo Feast at Paradise Resort. While each village and resort has a lovo Feast what made this such a memorable experience, for Mary and me, was the personal attention and openness of the the staff at Paradise. Such joy is rarely found but is in abundance at Paradise Resort.

Cleaning Station

The cleaning station is where fish go to get parasites picked off their body by juvenile fish, small wrasses, gobies or shrimp.  You may see a fish with its head up, fins out and mouth open, this is one typical position to signify that it is ready to be cleaned.  Many times you will see a moray eel or a large grouper sitting motionless, with its mouth open, while a shrimp or cleaner fish cleans the inside of its mouth.  A gentle shake of the grouper or eels head signifies to the cleaner that the cleaning is done and they both part ways, each having gained from the bargain.  One got a free bath and the other a free meal.

Christmas Reef Wreath - Merry Christmas!

Littering the ocean floor around the island of Statia in the Caribbean are numerous anchors some of them dating back hundreds of years.  Many were caught on coral and had to be cut away so the ship could sail.  Some were cut away to free the ship from approaching storms or enemy ships.  Over time these anchors have become encrusted with generations of coral and sponge.

Leaf Scorpionfish

On the Fijian island of Viti Levu we stayed at a remote resort called Wananavu which means wonderful in Fijian. This scorpionfish was perched on a coral head at a dive site called Vatu Express in the Bligh Waters. Yes it is named after the famous Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. It is a beautiful dive site with clear water, lots of hard and soft coral and an abundance of fish life.

The scorpionfish is an ambush predator that will normally rest on the bottom until prey comes within range. They have the ability to change color for better camouflage. This fish is of the yellow variation but can also be white, pink, tan, brown and black with mottling. While the scorpionfish looks docile it does have venomous fin spines with poison embedded on both sides of their spines.

Cuttlefish at Lionfish Rock

The first and last giant stride you make, off the Palau Aggressor, is at the first dive site called Lionfish Rock.  All other dives are conveniently made from a skiff that is lowered into the water with you in it.

If you were to ask me what irritates me most about diving, I would say it is the obligatory T.A.D.  TAD is an acronym I made up for "Throw Away Dive".  Each dive shop has you do a TAD to check you out and usually it is a monumental waste of underwater experience.  So most TAD's really are throw away dives, but, not on the Aggressor.  This first dive was one of our favorite and the reason was the Cuttlefish at Lionfish Rock.