The dive sites in Ha'apai are very diverse and range from simply beautiful coral mountains to overhangs, drop-offs, tunnels and even a few caves. Here we have listed only a few of the approximately 30 known dive sites and some of our absolute favourites. If you would like to read about these and our other dive sites in depth, just visit our blog.
The Arch of Ofolanga
The South Pacific's only known coral arch, located 15 miles offshore, begins at a depth of 20 meters and leads to "The Shark's mouth" - an opening that takes divers into a dark tunnel inhabited by hundreds of lobsters and shrimps, followed by a 3-cavern cave system. A very atmospheric dive that is very weather dependent and only suitable for advanced divers.
Ranging from 2 down to 45 meters this huge reef system is as colorful and lively as the famous sunken city. Its beautiful hardcoral garden is frequented by Clownfish, Anthiases, Moorish Idols, Fusiliers, Midnight Snappers, Trumpetfish and the odd Tuna and Reef Shark. Swimthroughs, overhangs and channels add very interesting topography to this all-time favourite.
This seamount has a sandy area with a field of Garden Eels on one side and a beautifully overgrown coral bank on the other. A rubbly channel is often used for sleeping by the resident Leopard Shark. Different kinds of Butterflyfish, Blue-lined Snappers, Parrotfish, Goatfish, Needlefish and Wrasses live here, too. Depth ranges from 6 to 28 meters. A great dive for all experience levels.
Blake's is another one of our reefs that is way out there away from everyone. It has offered us some rare and unforgettable moments with iconic species like Hammerhead and Manta Ray. The uniquely pristine hard coral cascades from 5 meters to about 25 with the edges dropping off to 60 meters. Whitetip Sharks, Midnight Snappers, Tuna, Barracuda, different types of Butterflyfish and Groupers, Sweetlips, Blue Trevally, lots of Fusiliers and a big school of Batfish can be spotted regularly. Blake's is simply an amazing place with an amazing compliment of marine life and reminds us why we love to dive!
Like crafted by Sylvester Stallone himself, a huge 45° overhang makes you want to hang under it and explore its dark corners. A resident school of Goatfish lives right beside it as well as lots of Siboga Trinchesa Nudibranchs, while Wrasses, Emperors, Groupers, Butterfly- and Parrotfish, Damselfish, Chromis and Lizardfish dart all over the place. A cup coral hosts a number of White-Capped Anemoneshrimps and Squat Anemone Shrimps and Pipefish are at home here as well. The topography and variety of marine life make this another favourite.
This extensive coral garden gently slopes down from 6 to 24 meters and hosts schools of Goatfish and Bigeye Soldierfish, lots of Clownfish, Groupers, Red-breasted Wrasses, Butterflyfish. In the sandy patches between several reef fingers it is possible to encounter the resident Leopard Shark or Whitetip Reef Sharks and Napoleon Wrasses have been spotted also.
Fale Anga ("House of the Shark")
A wide sandy channel with massive overhangs on both sides marks the start of this dive. You can swim under the overhangs, where you will find lots of whip corals (check for shrimps and gobies!), Cardinalfish, Squirrelfish, Soldierfish or Lionfish. There is a Whitetip Shark living in a small cave that divers can squeeze into and Spotted Sweetlips, Black Snappers, Emperor Angelfish and a resident Napoleon Wrasse live here, too. Depth ranges from 3 to 24 meters.
The main reef (4 to 26 meters) features a huge overhang that has a forest of exquisite seafans growing underneath and beside it. Orange and purple Anthiases swimming upside down, nudibranchs, a resident Emperor Angelfish and the odd Lobster can be seen here. Just around the corner is a wall entirely covered in yellow and orange soft coral and in the sandy channel beside it, it is possible to see Tuna, Barrakuda, schooling Unicornfish, Trevallies or even Batfish. A deeper bommie off the main reef drops down to 30+ meters and regularly hosts Spotted and Harlequin Sweetlips, Groupers, Angelfish, a stationary Longnose Hawkfish (great for photographers!) and sometimes Batfish and Whitetip Shark.
The Garden Wall
This one is a shallow sea mount with a little swim through leading to a nice wall full of crevices that gives way to an expansive coral garden with stepped plateaus from a depth of 24 meters up to 1 meter. This site features Parrot-, Butterfly, Trumpet-, Anemone-, Puffer- and Longnose Filefish, Wrasses, lots of Pipefish, Nudibranchs, Hawkfish and Moorish Idols. There are few larger species but Nurse and Leopard Sharks have been spotted here as have turtles. A large anemone has several brightly coloured Cleaner Shrimps to keep the macro photographer contented.
Despite its misleading name, the top of this sea mount lies at 7 meters and actually drops down to 30+ meters in some places. With mainly acropora coral on top and a variety from cabbage to purple soft coral and yellow seafans in the deeper areas, this site has excellent coral cover. Whitetip reef sharks laze around the mount, and schooling Unicornfish, Snappers, hundreds of Fusiliers, Dogtooth Tuna, Barracudas and Jobfish live here as well. This is an exciting dive with very healthy coral and plenty going on. Currents can be a little tricky here and the dive is suited to more experienced divers.
Port au Prince
We opened this historical dive site in 2009 with the discovery of the anchor of the famous pirate ship Port au Prince, almost 200 years after it's last anchorage in Tonga. The anchor lies at 18 meters and is still intact with one fluke buried into the reef and all faces beautifully overgrown with encrusting life. The rest of the dive site is made up of individual bommies that host Groupers, Wrasses, Nudibranchs, Anthiases, Emperors and sometimes Whitetip Reef Sharks or a Napoleon Wrasse. If you would like to read more about the story of the Port au Prince, please visit our blog.
Another reef off the beaten track, The Raptures stun with amazing hard coral, like they have never seen a human being or a boat anchor and the fish life here is prolific. From the smaller reef fish to the schooling species it is a just a profusion of activity. Our guests have even seen Hammerhead Sharks here twice and everytime we dive here we bust with excitement about what we may see this time. Depth ranges from 6 meters down to where the bottom can't be seen.
Two sea pinnacles starting at 5 and 10 meters, dropping off steeply to 50 meters, are crowned with beautiful branching and table acropora corals, while their sides are literally covered in hundreds of feather stars which play host to elegant squat lobsters, crinoid clingfish and crinoid shrimps. Giant clams are embedded in the coral and a family of Citron Gobies lives on top of a massive plate coral. Seasnakes and Lionfish can be seen here as well as Parrotfish, Fairy Baslets, Anthiases, Black and White Snappers, Neon Fusiliers and Dogtooth Tuna. The Sisters is a lively and dynamic dive with plenty of variation in both topography and life and has the depth that many divers crave.