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Grand Central Station and Chimneys

Listed under Coral Reefs in Fiji.

  • Photo of Grand Central Station and Chimneys
  • Photo of Grand Central Station and Chimneys
  • Photo of Grand Central Station and Chimneys
Photo of Grand Central Station and Chimneys
Photo by flickr user gshowman
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Well, most people know Fiji as the “soft coral capital of the world” and I totally agree with them, simply not for the fact that I was born and bred in Fiji but as a marine biologist I have seen it all.By far the best in Fiji and my most preferred diving is the Namena Marine Reserve which offers world class diving. According to Jean Michel Cousteau of Ocean Futures Society, Dr Gerald Steene of Conservation International and personally from my side, Namena offers the most diverse and beautiful dive experience. This partially has to do with islands strategic location (miles away from the nearest developed town or city) and largely has to do with the reef habitat diversity which is set in a wide ranges of depth and current regimes. Nearby coastlines have very extensive mangrove forests and seagrass beds (nursery areas) which feed the main reef with new recruitments. There are also vertical walls exposed to currents and dominated by sea fans, sponges and crinoids. When combined, this array of habitats creates a range of environments seldom seen in other regions of comparable size thus supporting a wide range of marine species. Namena is home to over 1000 species of invertebrates, 400 known corals and 445 documented marine plants (World Conservation Society, 2005). Namena is a migratory pathway for cetaceans including bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, minke whales, pilot whales, sperm whales and humpback whales which are often during the months of June through August. During these months the whales migrate to the warm Fijian waters to breed and nurse their young. For turtle lovers, Namena provides one of the few nesting beaches for the green turtles as well as hawksbill turtle. In fact, Fiji has 4 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species, all of which are endangered. Sea turtles in Fiji breed in months of November through March. Occasionally when diving you may encounter very curious black banded sea snakes. I simply adore them. If you are into birds then you would be glad to know that the island itself is a bird sanctuary protecting over 12 species of shore birds including the endangered red-footed boobies. Grand Central Station (wall) and Chineys (pinnacles) are the two best sites at Namena. Grand Central Station is well know for pelagic fish encounters including tunas, Barracudas, sharks, jacks, snappers, manta rays, marble rays. This was the spot where I had a close encounters with a 15ft long hammerhead. Its was an AMAZING and by far the most SPECTACULAR encounters I had!!! I have seen hammerheads at this spot before but never at a distance where I could literally touch it. Chimneys are more of a coral, macro- and invertebrate dive. The best part of the Chimneys is right on the top where you get to see a serenade by the colourful anthias and the garden of anemonfish. You can literally spend the whole dive by just staying at one spot! A must dive for divers visiting Savusavu. During the wet season (November to April) visibility can be 50-60ft and during the dry, cool season (Mid May through mid August) visibility can be 80 -100ft. I prefer to dive these spots during incoming tide as it brings in clean and clear salt water. Colours of soft corals stand out more when there is a bit of current.

Written by  Johnny Singh.

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