Category

Vatu i Ra Passage

The Spectacular Coral Reef Walls of Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography, Vatu i Ra Passage

One of most spectacular underwater sights I saw while in Fiji was the incredible wall at Mount Mutiny, a huge coral bommie in the Bligh Waters near the middle of the Fiji Islands. Mount Mutiny is surrounded by deep water and typically bathed in strong ocean currents rich with plankton, so the vast walls are covered with colorful invertebrate life, most notably large expanses of Chironephthya and Dendronephthya soft corals. Here are some of my favorite images from Mount Mutiny which I visited while on the liveaboard dive boat Nai’a, photographed at depths ranging from about 80′ to as shallow as 15′. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Red whip coral, Ellisella ceratophyta, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Gorgonacea, Ellisella ceratophyta, Vatu I Ra Passage

Red whip coral, Ellisella ceratophyta, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31332
Species: Gorgonian, Whip Coral, Gorgonacea, Ellisella ceratophyta
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Crinoid clinging to gorgonian sea fan, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea, Vatu I Ra Passage

Crinoid clinging to gorgonian sea fan, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31368
Species: Crinoid Feather Star, Gorgonian, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Branching whip coral (Ellisella sp.) captures passing planktonic food in ocean currents, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Ellisella, Vatu I Ra Passage

Branching whip coral (Ellisella sp.) captures passing planktonic food in ocean currents, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31369
Species: Branching Whip Coral, Ellisella
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Tubastrea micrantha, Vatu I Ra Passage

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31370
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Black Sun Coral, Dendronephthya, Tubastrea micrantha
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Brain corals on tropical coral reef, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji. Left brain coral is Symphllia, right bain coral is Platygyra lamellina, Symphyllia, Platygyra lamellina, Vatu I Ra Passage

Brain corals on tropical coral reef, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji. Left brain coral is Symphllia, right bain coral is Platygyra lamellina.
Image ID: 31371
Species: Brain Coral, Symphyllia, Platygyra lamellina
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31496
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31499
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians. Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Gorgonacea, Chironephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians. Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji.
Image ID: 31694
Species: Gorgonian, Chironephthya Soft Coral, Gorgonacea, Chironephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Diving the Vatu-I-Ra Passage in Fiji’s Bligh Waters

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography, Vatu i Ra Passage

See also: Photos of Fiji’s Beautiful Coral Reefs

The ocean waters between Fiji’s Viti Levu and Vanua Levu islands are called the Bligh Waters after Captain William Bligh and his flight from mutineers. The Bligh Waters are famous among divers as they are home to some of the most spectacular coral reef diving in the world. In particular, the Vatu-i-Ra Passage area of the Bligh Waters is wonderful, perhaps my favorite in Fiji and certainly the most colorful diving I have seen anywhere in the tropics. Some friends and I spent 6 days exploring the bommies, reefs, canyons, and walls of the Vatu-i-Ra region (as well as 8 more days elsewhere in the Bligh Waters), both from a land resort (Wananavu, highly recommended) and from the excellent liveaboard dive vessel Nai’a (one of the finest diving experiences I’ve ever had). The Vatu-i-Ra Passage, or Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, is named after the small island Vatu-i-Ra, a bird sanctuary with two beautiful white sand beaches. The coral reefs near this island, and in particular the narrow passages between the reefs and opening into atolls, pulse with life and energy when currents build and water begins flowing quickly. It is then that the soft corals for which Fiji is famous are fully extended, reaching for planktonic food, surrounded by the clouds of anthias and reef fishes, and at their most beautiful. Here are some underwater photos of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape to give you a sense of what its like. All of my Fiji coral reef images are available for publication and as high quality metal, canvas or photographic prints. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Colorful Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Tubastrea micrantha, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Colorful Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31316
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Black Sun Coral, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Tubastrea micrantha
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Colorful Dendronephthya soft coral and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Colorful Dendronephthya soft coral and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31349
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Bright red Plexauridae sea fan gorgonian and yellow sarcophyton leather coral on pristine coral reef, Fiji, Sarcophyton, Gorgonacea, Plexauridae, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Bright red Plexauridae sea fan gorgonian and yellow sarcophyton leather coral on pristine coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31325
Species: Sarcophyton Soft Coral, Gorgonian, Sea Fan, Sarcophyton, Gorgonacea, Plexauridae
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Symphyllia brain coral on tropical coral reef, Fiji, Symphyllia, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Symphyllia brain coral on tropical coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31327
Species: Brain Coral, Symphyllia
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31358
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Sarcophyton leather coral on diverse coral reef, Fiji, Sarcophyton, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Sarcophyton leather coral on diverse coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31456
Species: Sarcophyton Soft Coral, Sarcophyton
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Acropora coral (foreground) on South Pacific Coral Reef, Fiji, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Acropora coral (foreground) on South Pacific Coral Reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31483
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight.
Image ID: 31490
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Staghorn coral Acropora palifera on pristine Fijian coral reef, Acropora palifera, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Staghorn coral Acropora palifera on pristine Fijian coral reef
Image ID: 31514
Species: Staghorn Coral, Acropora palifera
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Green fan coral, extending into ocean currents where tiny polyps gather passing plankton, Fiji, Tubastrea micrantha, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Green fan coral, extending into ocean currents where tiny polyps gather passing plankton, Fiji
Image ID: 31687
Species: Black Sun Coral, Tubastrea micrantha
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji