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Dive Review of Nai'a Cruises Fiji in
Kiribati (Christmas Island)/Phoenix Islands

May, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Bob & Doris Schaffer, CA, USA
Contributor   (14 reports)
Report Number 1738
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Micronesia, Mexico, California, Red Sea, Cocos, Fiji, Tonga,
Caribbean, Galapagos, Tahiti, Maldives, Solomons, PNG
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, currents  
Water Temp
83   to 87    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No alcohol before diving and common sense.  Not the kind of trip where
rules needed to be enforced because all 13 divers were very experienced.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
A room for camera gear with adequate shelf space and charging receptacles,
covered and sheltered, adjacent to but separate from the dive deck.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
4 stars    
The Phoenix Islands region (in the country of Kiribati) was hit by an
episode of increased water temperature caused by global warming.  Reports
we received before we left indicated widespread coral bleaching.  We were
hoping that not all reefs were affected, but we confirmed that formerly
pristine reefs were all dead. Once we stopped focusing on the dead coral
and started focusing on the abundant fish life and vigorous current diving,
things picked up.  Plenty of Napoleon wrasse and varieties of angel-type
fish that we had not seen before, numerous reef fish cascading over the
rocks, schools of jacks, barracuda, parrots and bump head parrots, and lots
of sharks (although in the northern part of the island chain, which has
been overfished to provide shark fins for the Asian markets) they were
quite small.  In the southern part, (which, presumably, hasn’t been hit as
hard by shark fishers/finners) white tip, black tip and grey reef sharks
were much larger—five feet and more.  Because of the reports of coral
bleaching, this was a scientific expedition and two marine biologist coral
experts were on board studying the affected reefs and the many patches of
new coral that are beginning to regenerate. They were excellent teachers
and we learned a lot. Few anemones and small critters (because of the dead
reefs). We left from Samoa and the crossing to our first dive site was
2-1/2 days.  This is such a remote region that in three weeks on the water,
we never saw another vessel. This was our 30th liveaboard trip and our
fourth on Nai’a which we deem one of the best liveaboards operating.  It is
a wonderfully comfortable boat with an amazing crew—friendly and attentive
and very safety-conscious.  Owner Rob Barrel was our host and he is so
knowledgeable that conversation at every meal was a learning experience.
Food is outstanding, too, with several entrée choices at breakfast
and dinner and all beautifully presented and served (no buffets). All in
all, a great trip despite the destroyed coral reefs and with lots of good
adventure including a trip to an uninhabited island to harvest coconut
crabs for dinner!
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Other dive reports on Nai'a

All Kiribati (Christmas Island) Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Kiribati (Christmas Island)
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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