Monday 27 December 2010

Festive Fiji!

We had a great group of guests to share the holiday season with us this week. As a special gift we even had a group of spinner dolphins appear for us on christmas day and swim alongside the boat. For Christmas Eve a local choir from Taveuni came on board with a priest and we had a sermon, singing and then of course, the traditional kava ceremony.

Kava is made from the powder of the Kava root and is then mixed with water. It is drunk for almost all social occasions and is much the same as a 'peace pipe' in other cultures - offering an opportunity for social interaction in a relaxed setting. Both men and women are able to drink kava in Fiji, but if you want to participate you must join the 'circle' and clap once before accepting a bowl, and three times after.

In the week we had fresh fish, caught by one of the crew members (but helped by Erika, one of our guests!)

Our Christmas day activities included a hike on the Lavena coastal walk to a beautiful waterfall (one of two we visited during the week, where everyone simulated the locals diving skills!

We are now looking forward to celebrating the New Year with a new group and lots of fun and festivities.

Monday 20 December 2010

Snorkelling and Sharks!

The weather was definitely on our side this week and we had clear skies and on most days a beautiful cool breeze to make ideal conditions for all our activities. Snorkelling was high on the agenda and the crystal clear water made for some fantastic trips, where everyone got really comfortable with their free-diving skills and up close and personal looking at the marine life - especially two white tip reef sharks who kept us entertained for ages.One of the dives turned out to be extra special as we had a Leopard Shark make an appearance - it even let the onboard paparazzi take lots of footage and then slowly and very gracefully swam away. Leopard sharks are easily distinguishable by their big spot markings and long tail - they are very docile to humans and this makes them easily approachable. They also like to lie on the bottom for long periods of time so we often keep an eye on the sand as well as all the beautiful coral reef, just in case! This also happened to be one of our guests first ever dives - which has set a precedent now for his future scuba experiences - we are keeping in touch to see what he will discover next time!

All in all, with great marine life, great activities and great weather an awesome time was had by all and the crew are all looking forward to some festive fun next week!

Monday 13 December 2010

Starboard SUP Surf Charter in Fiji

The Starboard SUP Team joined us last week to check out Fiji’s amazing waves onboard the Tui Tai.The weather gods were working with us as the bad weather from last weeks passing cyclone disappeared for the first day of the trip.

The waves were really fun, glassy, uncrowded and provided the perfect playground to test different boards, equipment and catch some good waves. We roamed around and surfed numerous spots seeing which were working best with the conditions and to mix things up.

Making the most of the elements a windsurf sail was rigged up to a SUP board transforming it’s versatility when the wind picked up one afternoon, Scott Mckercher demonstrated that wind Sups were not only for flat water fun as he pulled into some decent sized waves at Cloudbreak and Numoto Lefts.

After huge days of surf and too much sun everyone made the most of the boat’s sundeck, lounging with an ice cold Fiji Bitter (or Coopers) watching the sun set into the ocean. We also received a few invitations to some small islands and had some random adventures including meeting locals, bad dance moves in sulu’s and group karaoke performances (which almost had everyone kicked off the island).

In typical irony after the biggest night also came the biggest day, but when everyone saw the conditions we were straight out in the water. Cloudbreak delivered some waves of epic proportions with double overhead barrels coming through. They were a solid 8ft of glassy perfection but the reef was shallow and soon the numbers dwindled until Scott McKenner and Dave Muir where the only ones left in the lineup. They both scored some amazing waves so hopefully the photos do it justice.

The mix of great people, abundance of fun waves, snorkeling, diving, amazing food cold beer, kava, island experiences and relaxed Fijian atmosphere made it a fantastic week overall. Starboard left us with a few paddleboards and pretty soon some of the crew were mastering the art of riding small waves, falling off and having lots of laughs.

For more info on Starboards different SUP,surf and windsurf gear contact their team or check out their site

If your keen on organizing or joining Tui Tai surf charter let us know…

To see more of my photo and video

Monday 29 November 2010

Night diving on the Tui Tai

Have you ever wondered about what goes on underwater long after the sun goes over the horizon? If you loving diving in the daytime you will love the transformation of discovering the reef at night by torchlight. Aquatic life takes on a whole new appearancein the dark, colours appear more vibrant when illuminated against a dark backdrop.

Some fish that are active in daylight hours go into hiding, find safe places in the coral to sleep, while others come into their element hunting and feeding in the dark. If you cover your light you may also be able to see tiny living partlicles of bioluminescencelight up the water colum.

Come join us at Night and explore Fiji's amazing reefs by night.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Dive the World Capital of Soft Coral with Tui Tai

Situated on the Somosomo straight off Taveuni, the 32 km Rainbow Reef is home to countless varieties of fish and invertebrate but what makes it so unique for divers is the amazing soft coral.

Soft Corals are soft-bodied polyps that lack limestone skeletons of their hard coral relatives. They retract into the reef so they appear invisible but when tides and water movement is running correctly, they inflate with water, extending their polyps into the current to feed. Their swaying bodies move like jelly in the current, and when they are in full bloom rich array of colors are truly spectacular.

When the current increases so does the amount of plantivores such as antheas and other beautiful schools of reef fish. When you dive the Somosomo straight at the right time and the coral and fish life are at their best is easy to understand why Jacques Cousteau coined it the Soft Coral Capital of the World.

On the Tui Tai we dive a variety of site all dependent on the tides, current and conditions. One of our many favorites is the Great White Wall. This is a wall dive with lots of colorful soft corals, marine life and swim throughs but when the conditions work with us we descend down the wall and at about 20m/60 ft a beautiful white iridescent coral comes out and covers the wall. It is difficult to describe this breathtaking display so I have a few photographs to give you a better idea.

The Rainbow reef is only one of our many dive/snorkeling highlights as we sail around remote islands in Fiji’s North. The different islands provide a large amount of diversity both above and below the water. Underwater we have greatly varying topography, marine and coral life every place we visit.

Come join us on the Tui Tai to experience firsthand the amazing natural phenomenon Jack Cousteau coined as "The Soft Coral Capital of the World".

photos & words

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Join Chris McLennan for his intrepid photo expedition, exploring Fijian Islands on the Tui Tai.

Join Chris McLennan, world renowned travel photographer on his unique Photo Tour on the 9-14 May 2011. This photographic tour is based off a 140 foot yacht TUI TAI, that explores the remote Northern islands of Fiji.

Experience and photograph Fiji on this 5 night/ 6 day luxury ,expedition cruise. The Tui Tai explores islands and places not commonly visited by tourists, to discover spectacular scenery including waterfalls, rain forest, beaches, marine life and interact with the wonderful local cultures.
Chris will be on hand to offer practical advise, tutorial and assistance throughout the trip, ensuring you are not only getting the images you are after from your tour but you come away with new knowledge and techniques to make you a better photographer in the future.

Take this opportunity to have an amazing travel and photographic opportunities in a small group( maximum 10 people), and to learn first-hand from one of the world's most experienced and award winning travel photographer. Limited spaces are still available on this Photos Tour so take this opportunity to hone and develop you photography skills with Chris in the amazing islands of Fiji.

Contact us for more information on joining the photographic expedition.


Tuesday 27 July 2010

Shark watch!

Diving in one of the most diverse oceans in the world means that onboard the Tui Tai we see more than our share of amazing under water creatures, mid June was no exception with the sharks stealing the spot light.

We started our week with some awesome encounters of white tip reef sharks, they were incredibly curious and hung around for most of the dive. Then mid week we dived a beautiful site called champions rock on the Tasman straight, half way though the dive, from the blue, came a 3.5 meters hammer head shark an incredible encounter for all the divers. On one of our final dives, at a site called still waters, at the very end of the dive a 2.5-meter bull shark cruised under our boat. Just to have one encounter with these animals is amazing but to have all three in a week is unbelievable.

Have a look at the video of the white tips and the hammer head.

Tui Tai Charitable Fund

The Tui Tai regularly visits remote locations in Fiji where the necessities that are often taken for granted in western countries are not easily found. The Tui Tai Charitable fund has provided medical support, education, housing, building repairs and emergency transport for many small and self-reliant villages.

The Tui Tai charitable fund raises money through three main channels. A portion of the initial cruise fare, donations and the profit from any Photo/Video product purchased on board, all three contribute to the Tui Tai charitable. These three methods of fund raising make a significant difference to the lives of so many people, take a look at some of the photos to see the recent work we have been doing within the remote communities of Fiji.

Whale Season is upon us!


The water temperature has slowly been dropping over the past few months! and with that temperature change brings with it some new marine life… Whales.

Whilst docked at rainbow reef we have been lucky enough to encounter humpback whales, 3 times! This week one of the guest’s spotted the whales from the top deck and in a matter of minuets every one was on the rib and out to see the whales. We had an amazing encounter and got within meters of the whales, one guest Jeff, was quick enough to jump into the water and snap a shot. Have a look.

It is quite breath taking to see these animals in the wild and we hope that they will be sticking around for the next couple of months.


Teva expedition

During mid May Teva came aboard to do a photo shoot for their new catalogue. Teva produce innovative and exciting outdoor footwear for both the adventurer and beach bum and needed a location that captured both… Where better than on an adventure live-aboard in Fiji!

Teva had a large number of shots they wanted to achieve and working with the Tui Tai proved a to be the perfect match. We went from location to location visiting stunning waterfalls, pristine surf breaks, untouched beaches, and deep canyons all for the perfect shot. Keep an eye out for Teva’s up and coming catalogue to see the hard work pay off.

In between the photo shoots Teva spent time with the Tui Tai staff visiting remote villages. Teva provided some lucky children with new shoes and a lot fun. All the villages were extremely grateful for Teva’s donations and would like to send there thank.

Vinaka to the crew from Teva for a fantastic week and their kind donations, we hope to see you again soon.

Tui Tai

Saturday 3 July 2010

The illusive Manta ray

Manta rays are one of the most stunning and inspiring creatures in the ocean. Even today very little is known or understood about manta rays, their breeding habits, migrations and even behavior are still somewhat of a mystery to us. On board the Tui Tai we have been lucky enough to of had some incredible encounters with these creatures, at some points there have been over 10 mantas circling and diving with the guests on board and made a truly unforgettable memory. Have a look at some of our pictures.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Tui Tai Feature in The Australian

great article recently in The Australian, the only nationwide newspaper in Australia.

Here's a few excerpts:

"We hear the crew singing before we reach the Tui Tai, welcoming us with a traditional Fijian song. It is strange to think that in only seven days the children will shed tears at leaving their new-found kingdom on the sea. This is where our adventure really begins."

"With 18 crew dedicated to 21 passengers, we are well looked after. When we hike, food and chilled drinks appear on schedule, mountain bikes and kayaks materialise in the remotest locations and disappear where we leave. It is the ultimate indulgence not to have to worry about anything."

"Cultural exchange is one of our favourite parts of this adventure. Tui Tai calls its unique blend of philanthropic travel "contributionism". Its charitable fund assists the far-flung communities we visit to deliver medicine to the hospital and present much-needed stationery and books to schools. Instead of parading through a village like curious tourists we feel involved. The residents appreciate the support and welcome us like new friends."

"We all ... end up loving this holiday and the camaraderie of our adventures. By the time it comes to leave, the crew have become our good friends. So have our children."

Read the whole article

Thursday 13 May 2010

Photos by Norm Vexler

Check out these great photos taken by Norm Vexler, during his trip on Tui Tai. You can also see Norm's photo gallery of photos from all over the world on this site.