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

Nai'a Cruises Fiji, May, 2005,

by Bob & Doris Schaffer, CA, USA (Contributor Contributor 14 reports). Report 1738.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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!

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

Weather cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 83-87°F / 28-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
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.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments A room for camera gear with adequate shelf space and charging receptacles, covered and sheltered, adjacent to but separate from the dive deck.
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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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