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Dive Review of Nai'a in
Tonga/Ha'apai group

Nai'a, Aug, 2005,

by Richard Nelson, CA, USA . Report 1990.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Truk, Palau, PNG, Australia, Cozumel, Florida, Bahamas, California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 73 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales >2
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Nai'a is a terrific boat, with a really friendly, capable, professional crew. The Tonga trips are all about whales, really, so the reef diving was somewhat incidental. We were on a special charter to develop a whale website for the Imaging Foundation, so we placed even more emphasis than usual on whales. Some of the divers were a bit disappointed that we didn't do more diving, but the crew tried to accommodate, within the parameters of our expedition.
Swimming (snorkeling) with the humpback whales is wonderful. One encounter lasted over an hour, and the photographers got some great pictures. Other encounters were briefer and less satisfying to those taking pictures, but still quite breathtaking for those of us in the water. Just the one long encounter was worth the whole trip.
As for the diving, we didn't get to their best sites, but some of the reefs we visited were really very good, healthy, and with abundant, diverse fish life. Other sites were merely OK. Nothing difficult or challenging, but it was rather colder than most people expected. Some of the crew wear drysuits, and I might be inclined to do likewise if I were going to dive extensively. Light suits were fine for the snorkeling and a couple of dives per day.
The Nai'a crew is wonderful and friendly. The food would be great for the five-dive-a-day Fiji schedule, but seemed a bit excessive for the amount of diving we were doing. We felt overfed.
I will definitely favor the Nai'a for future Fiji diving, and would recommend the boat as a way to visit the whales in Tonga.
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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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