Discover Fiji underwater – a kaleidoscope of colourful sea creatures and vibrant coral gardens. Float above giant manta rays in the Great Astrolabe Reef or swim with majestic bull sharks in the Beqa Lagoon. A true haven for underwater adventurers and nature lovers alike, there are so many ways to explore its crystal-clear shallows. From surfing to snorkelling, life on land is only half the story in Fiji.
Ask the Expert: Interview with a Marine Biologist
Get the inside scoop on Fiji’s fascinating marine life! Senior Marine Biologist of Kokomo Private Island Resort, Viviana Taubera, shares her experience of life under the surface of the South Pacific Ocean.
What kind of marine life can visitors expect to see around the island?
With the abundance of marine life around the island, visitors can expect to find sea turtles, reef sharks, dolphins, octopus, reef mantas, lobsters, giant clams, robust of vibrant corals and colourful tropical fish.
Are there certain times of year when the marine life is especially active or visible?
As the weather changes throughout the year, we also see a pattern of migration with marine animals. In the summer months (November - March), the water temperature rises to 28°C and corals start to showcase a pastel, more fluorescent glow. The cooler months (April-October), spells the arrival of manta season, when currents from the outer reef push plankton-rich waters into the channel that manta rays feed on.
What makes the marine life in Fiji unique compared to other parts of the world?
Fiji is one of the best diving and snorkelling destinations in the world thanks to its sprawling coral reefs. The incredible soft and hard corals are home to so much wildlife and biodiversity. There’s never a dull underwater experience in these parts.
Can you share some of your most exciting underwater discoveries with us?
Kokomo is the first place I encountered a manta ray and a whale shark. I was overwhelmed with happiness and felt a deep sense of satisfaction just swimming next to these graceful giants.
Nothing beats the thrill of free diving and embracing the underwater world here – watching green turtles feed on seagrass beds, seeing the porcupine ray burrowing into the sand and discovering the colourful array of reef fish finding shelter in the corals.
Tell us about any conservation projects you’re involved in – what impact are they having on the local marine ecosystem?
There are two projects that spring to mind. Our coral conservation project started in 2018 with the goal of restoring reef that is either bare or has been impacted by natural disasters or climate change. We also run a mangrove reforestation project, growing more than 5,000 seedlings at our nursery and planting them at a nearby community. These trees are important to marine life, acting as a barrier to strong storm surges and wave action.
Are there any sustainable aquatic experiences that you would recommend to travellers?
Briefing our guests on practicing sustainable interactions is of paramount importance to us. Manta ray encounters can be enjoyed sustainably by keeping a three-metre distance from them and limiting the number of guests in the water to eight.
We also recommend using only reef-friendly sunscreen and not touching or removing anything from the ocean unless its rubbish. The best advice I give is: “we leave bubbles and take memories”.
What are some of the best places for snorkelling or scuba diving around Yaukuve Levu Island?
Kokomo is surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef, which offers some of the most amazing diving and snorkelling sites on the planet. What’s also great is that we happen to be the only two resorts in the north of the Kadavu region, and the only six-star resort, so there’s plenty of areas to explore!
When we have a westerly or northerly wind blowing, we still have options, and it doesn’t limit us having a great diving or snorkelling experience.
What should visitors know about exploring Fiji underwater before they arrive?
Don’t forget to bring your reef-friendly sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Also, don’t be fooled by the look of some marine life – some of the most colourful creatures can be the most predacious, such as lionfish. Guests should also know that they can expect to see four out of the seven species of sea turtle in the world. Plus, some marine species can only be sighted in Fiji, including blue ribbon eels, frogfish and Fiji anemonefish.
What are some of the most fun and memorable ways for families to experience the marine life in Fiji?
Guests can enjoy memorable trips together simply by snorkelling or diving around the Great Astrolabe Reef. When in season, families can book a manta snorkel trip and can even adopt their own manta ray, bestowing it with a special name. We see the same pods of rays during manta season, and some guests purposefully book their stay around this time of the year to see their adopted manta ray again.
Have you had any particularly memorable experiences while studying the marine life in Fiji?
I grew up next to the sea and my community heavily relied on it for sustenance and income generation. But, since studying marine life, I’m aware that the ocean has its limits and we’re pushing them. Advocating marine protection to Fijian communities is always a happy experience for me. It opens their minds to becoming ocean stewards, so that it will take care of them in the long run. It inspires us to continue what we are doing.
Whether you want to immerse yourself in the ocean or glide on its surface, there are spectacular aquatic adventures for every kind of traveller, from thrill-seekers to leisure lovers. Make the most of the islands’ crystal-clear waters, celebrated for their awe-inspiring snorkelling and world-class reef breaks.
Bull Shark Dive
A once-in-a-lifetime experience is to get up close and personal with these powerful marine animals in their natural habitat. Six Senses Fiji invites you to take to the ocean on their ‘Bull Shark Dive’ experience and observe these impressive creatures in the wild. Bull Sharks are apex predators most commonly found in warm ocean shallows, making Fiji the perfect place to spot them!
Fiji Surf Academy by Tropicsurf
Dream of catching a wave in turquoise waters? Six Senses Fiji is also home to the Fiji Surf Academy, hosted by Tropicsurf. You’ll take a short boat ride to the nearby reef breaks, where you can practice your wave-riding skills. Available all year round, the surf academy is open to surfers of all abilities from beginners to seasoned pros.
“The snorkelling is exceptional in Fiji with its crystal-clear lagoons and neon corals, which have really blossomed during the pandemic. Enjoy unforgettable aquatic experiences, including swimming with manta rays in their natural habitat.”
- David, Senior Product Manager