A highlight of our Captain Cook Yasawa Island Cruise was the snorkelling and scuba diving. As you would imagine of such a pristine out of the way place, the waters are crystal clear and the corals rich and colourful.
Clown Fish amongst Stag Horn Hard Corals
Many of the islands in the Yasawa group we visited had good snorkelling off the beaches, but the corals were better further from the shore. The cruise ship ran daily dedicated snorkelling trips using a small glass bottomed tender.
The best corals were further north in the chain of islands, with the minimum visibility rarely under 20 metres. There were many different varieties of soft and hard coral, including tree coral, stag horn coral and amazing cabbage corals.
Fish life was not as prolific as I might have hoped, though there were many types of smaller species including clown fish, butterfly and many types of wrasse. It was rare to see larger pelagic fish on the inshore reefs.
Entering Babylon's Cave
There were two dives offered on each of the full days on the cruise. Most were suited for both new divers and experienced. On the last day the dive was more advanced, the suitably named ‘Caves of Babylon’.
The dive is on a coral shelf of Drawaqa Island, about 15 minutes boat trip from the Mantaray Island Resort. When we arrived at the site we descended to 18 metres and swam towards the first cave.
In all there were four main sections. Most of the cave passages were comfortably large, but there were a few tight spots to get through and I banged the top of my tank a few times. I never felt in any jeopardy though, and the exits were always within site.
As you can see from the picture above and the video at the bottom of this article, the experience was pretty awesome with some great dark sections lit eerily by the light coming in from the exits ahead.
I struggled a bit to find the right settings for still shots. Similar to my recent Fiji Shark Dive I wanted to capture the background, specifically the light from the cave openings. Taking movies was much easier, as slower shutter speeds were not an issue.
Once outside the cave system we explored the nearby corals, which included some amazing examples of large soft and hard. I was impressed by the above example which looks a lot like a flower. I couldn’t find any info easily about what it is, if you know please leave a comment below.
Yasawa Island Sea Fans
We were promised Sea Fans on this dive, and were not disappointed. Another photographical challenge for me, as I only had one strobe, which could not light up a whole fan close up. I will have to look at getting a second strobe when I get back to Sydney.
As well as the sea fans there were also a type of underwater flora that looked exactly like a rope.
Before I knew it my air was approaching the 50 bar mark and it was time to ascend. We stopped at the 5 metre mark for a bit as a safety stop which happily enough was where the shallow water coral started.
After the dive we visited the nearby manta ray channel, famous for its frequent manta ray visitors, but they were not present, so we did not get to snorkel with them this time.
Scuba Diving Safety Stop
Babylon Caves Dive Video
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