Tips on Scuba & Snorkel Diving Safety in Fiji

Scuba diving royalty anointed Fiji as a premier diving destination.

Jean-Michel Cousteau – the son of the man who invented scuba – says it's “the soft coral capital of the world“. But there are hard corals too, and caves, grottoes, sharks, rays, and fish of such brilliant colours you'll get tired of saying “ogggh!“ – that's “wow“ with a regulator in your mouth. Among the most famous Fiji dive sites are the Great White Wall, the Yellow Tunnel, and my personal favourite Orgasm Reef.

With just a little variation the water is warm and clear all year round. It can be murky in April and May because of the plankton blooms, but that attracts some interesting marine life. The only setback – cyclone season which is November to April (see Wet ‘n' Wild in Fiji).

To do justice to the better sites which are located offshore, sign up for a live-aboard tour.

Just about every resort does a scuba diving course, or can put you in contact with a dive shop who'll train you. Great idea, get your certificate and start a lifelong love affair with the underwater.

Snorkel, Snorkel, Snorkel!

But if you're not qualified, don't have the time or don't want using your brain cells to interrupt your holiday, try snorkeling.

Many resorts have the gear on hand for guests at no cost or for a low fee. There are snorkeling tours with guides who can help you find the best fish, or you can throw on a mask and slip into the water where it is clean and safe to do so.

Scuba and Snorkel Safety

Scuba diving can be dangerous, what's natural about breathing underwater! Which is why, apart from a few decompression tables, most of the course is about safety.

World Nomad, scuba expert and editor of Divehappy.com Chris Mitchell shares his essential scuba diving safety tips here.

Many scuba operators in Fiji also recommend you to carry a SMB (surface marker buoy) especially during boat dives.

But snorkeling can turn ugly, too, if you're not careful.

  • As with scuba diving, snorkel with a buddy, someone who'll be able to help if you get into trouble.
  • If you're not a confident swimmer take a floatation device and stay on the surface.
  • Take a flotation device anyway, most people are enjoying themselves so much they stay out too long, or overdo it, and get tired. Having something to hang on to and rest is a good idea.
  • Go back to shore before you're too tired. Yep, it's great fun but leave a little in reserve to get back.
  • Watch the wind; a strong offshore wind can blow you out to sea before you realize what's happened.
  • Watch the waves; stay away from breaking waves, they can catch you from behind, or pick you up and drop you onto a reef (soft coral isn't that soft when you're being rolled across it).
  • Watch the tide; similar to the wind, know what the tide is doing. Not even the fastest olympic swimmer can out-swim a fast running tide.

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