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View Full Version : FIJI trip report April 6-24th



Travelnsj
04-30-2010, 11:44
I took Air Pacific from LA to Nadi. The flight was great, I flew Business/First which is comparable to Continental. The plane left at 11pm arriving around 5:15am about a 10+ hour flight. I had to catch a Pacific Sun flight to Kandava at 11:30am and could not check in my bag until 10am. Thinking of heading to a hotel but did not want to schlep the bags around. Therefore, I stayed at the Airport and then around 8am, a Pacific Sun representative came over to me and said he would check in my bag and he would have to take one of the carryons. Then the flight to Kandavu ended up being 4+ hours late. Total of 9 hours hanging out at the airport! However, I have experienced worst being delayed in Sorong for 4 hours or Papeete for 6 hours (horrible airports) at least the Nadi airport is decent. Finally getting on the little 6-passenger plane we leave for our 45 minute plane flight to Kandavu. I was sitting right behind the co-pilot, about 10 minutes into our flight I noticed he pulled out a GPS map and began reading it…LOL. We made it safe and sound and with the bags, then the one hour boat trip to Mai Dive. It was cloudy and misting rain in an open air boat thus, I got a tad wet and called it an adventure.

Made it to Mai Dive on Ono Island! Ono Island is located off Kanadavu Island on the Astrolabe reef. The resort is rather small only around five bungalows. The rooms are rather basic with an outdoor shower and plenty of Hot water. They have windows you can close and a fan but no AC which I did miss as I woke up a few nights in a sweat. The staff was wonderful, very friendly. Mai Dive is run by Jason his wife Danielle (who was in Australia) and his father Joe. The meals were excellent. Breakfast was cereals, French toast or Sweet rolls, fresh fruits from their garden (it did get a bit redundant). Lunch was either chicken, fish or beef salads and a Barbeque here and there, Dinner was different dishes with chicken, beef, fresh fish fresh veggies, had lobster one evening overall excellent! The guests were Australians, English and a Turkish couple.

Diving: Water temperatures were 81 to 82, weather was nice, rained mostly at nights and a few days a bit windy at night which made the water choppy. Beyond the reef there were large swells and I jumped in ASAP to prevent my handicap of motion sickness! The dive operation is small, there is a cement slab you set up in the AM, with a rinse barrel and racks for drying wet suits etc after your dives. They have a couple of boats that are used for diving. One is a specific dive boat with tank racks. They have snacks between dives then you would come back in for lunch then out again for your 3rd tank dive if you choose for an extra cost.

The diving had some majestic underwater scenery with swim throughs, valleys etc, mostly hard corals, very few soft corals. I went to this one site in the Naquiro pass that was called the purple wall because of all the purple soft corals and there were a few not what it was talked up to be. The diving reminded me a lot of Hawaii, Cozumel. The Marine life….well saw White tips on almost every dive, saw a couple of large leopard sharks, lots of small tropical fish, occasionally small schools of Spade fish, Barracuda, Trevallies, Snappers, a couple of Sea snakes, Titan triggerfish, a few grey reef sharks, couple of Mantas (from the boat), couple of nudis and some other stuff. Their 3rd tank dive was around $51 USD, after a couple of days I did not fool with it as it was to expensive for a dive that you just did not see much and I’m not a get wet diver. I opted to do some solo shore dives on their house reef which were probably as good as some of the other dive sites I dove. One day I refused to go to the North side because some snorklers wanted to head that way as the diving was just swim throughs and passages. I was going to sit out the dives when the Turkish couple also refused to go so they put the snorklers on a different boat. Overall the diving was maybe a notch above places like Cozumel or Hawaii, not a lot of marine life.

Mai Dive is a friendly family style resort with wonderful people, great meals (that was the highpoint) that caters to people who want somewhat basic accommodations, do a couple of dives a day and relax. Not for serious diving.

Raki Raki/Wananavu resort:

The plane was only 15 minutes late and made it to Nadi where a Wananavu representative was waiting for me. Did the 2˝-hour drive from Nadi to Wananavu. The garden bure room was quite nice with AC! Had a very comfortable nights sleep. Wananavu resort reminds me a lot of Lembeh Resort. For breakfast they had a continental setup and hot choices like eggs, beacon, sausage hash browns, pancakes etc. Lunch was a choice of about eight items ranging from pasta salads, hamburgers, fish and chips etc. Dinner was a choice of the lunch menu or a three-course meal with three choices that was always very good one night they had a Fijian barbeque overall the meals were quite good.

The diving: Weather cloudy, windy and sunny. Water temps 81 to 83. Getting out to the Bligh waters at times I swear were every bit as rough as the Galapagos, not good for someone prone to seasickness.

RA divers: RA divers always had snacks between dives with Hot Chocolate. The dive guides were good and let you dive your own profile and a couple of the guides were good at finding things.

In my communications with Wananavu prior to booking this trip, I asked if I could get three tank dives and I would like go to the Bligh waters weather permitting. Their response was it was not problem and that I would book my third tank with RA divers when I got there for an additional Fijian $70 and going to the Bligh waters was weather permitting. What they did not disclose was that was for a minimum of six divers for the three tank dive and to the Bligh waters (there were not many single divers there)! When I arrived I requested three tank dive days and I was told tomorrow and then next day tomorrow and so on. Finally, I lost my patience with tomorrow. There was a dive group doing three tank dives but their boat was packed so they could not get me on their boat. One day when the water was calm and flat there were only four of us so they would not take us to the Bligh waters, as you had to have six or more divers. I pulled my gear off the boat and refused to go, after a few phone calls, finally they relented and we went to the Bligh. I had another incident that I did not dive one day as they were taking us to the same inside the reef dives I had done a couple of days before and would not take us to any different dive sites. I finally talked to one of the owners of Ra divers Steve and he handled it with class. What ever it took to get me a couple of dive days with three tank dives he would and did. Unless you come with a group of six or more people with the same goals of doing 3 tank dives, the Bligh waters (weather permitting) is tough for them to do (and I understand) due to the cost of getting a couple of divers out to the Bligh or doing three tank dives. But my emails to Wananavu never did they explain the limitations. Steve really went out of his way to accommodate me and he did not have to. Thus I have to really give them the thumbs up for customer service. Ra is also building a resort not far from Wananavu that is just as nice. Unfortunately, on my last day there was a mechanical failure with either my regulator or the tank valve and I lost air pressure at 50’, being separated from the dive group I had to do an emergency accent. I celebrated a new Birthday that day!

There were a couple of days no one could not get out to the Bligh waters due to the wind. I did make it out there four of my six dive days. One dive I did at Black Magic Mountain was one of the finest dives I have ever done. The colors of the corals, fans, sharks, dog tooth tuna, jacks, some nudies, small tropical fish etc etc, I have not seen a dive come together like that. There were a couple of other dives that were outstanding like Mellow Yellow and the Wheatfields.

If you want to do the Bligh waters or inside the reef and are happy with doing a couple of dives a day go to the new Ra divers resort Voli Voli or Wananavu. Perhaps with the new Ra resort opening up it may attract more singles and make it easier to do three tank dives and getting out to the Bligh waters. Otherwise if you want to do the good diving in Fiji do a LOB.

Desert_Diver
04-30-2010, 18:02
Good report.

Your impression of Kadavu diving is similar to my own. I have not yet tried the northern Fiji sites, so I will do that the next Fiji trip I plan.

Thanks,

Art

gee
05-01-2010, 12:58
Thanks for that detailed report. I agree with your Liveaboard assessment. I was curious if diving from Ono island was any different from Matava resort on Kadavu. It seems very similar. Happy 2nd Birthday! Have you discovered your mechanical problem? I know the feeling. I had a similar event during a shallow night dive in Belize. It turned out to be the "one in a million" 1st stage failures. No emergency accent drama though as I switched to my pony tank & even had an attentive buddy standing by.

Travelnsj
05-01-2010, 13:13
Well the mechanical problem is not with my Atomic B2...so my dive shop says....must of been something in the Tank valve...one of those one in a million things on a fail safe device...LOL...glad I'm here to talk about it! But it will be awhile before I do a solo dive again or go below 40' by myself!

scubarobin
05-03-2010, 07:30
Well the mechanical problem is not with my Atomic B2...so my dive shop says....must of been something in the Tank valve...one of those one in a million things on a fail safe device...LOL...glad I'm here to talk about it! But it will be awhile before I do a solo dive again or go below 40' by myself!

do you think possibly the tank wasn't turned all the way ON?
This happened to Ron on a shore dive last week in Cozumel. When he got down to less than 1000psi, he said it got really hard to breathe. We ended the dive and when he got out he discovered he only had turned the valve on slightly! Luckily we were only in 20' deep water the whole dive, and he says he was still getting air but it was work...


robin

Travelnsj
05-03-2010, 09:14
do you think possibly the tank wasn't turned all the way ON?
robin

Nope it was 100% turned on....we think the seat in the valve got stuck. Ra did change out all the tank valves made by that manufacture...but we still cannot make sure if it was my reg (dive shop says no) or the tank valve....most important....I'm here:smiley20:

Travelnsj
05-04-2010, 21:10
finally got around to go thru some photos.

ParrotheadDiver
05-06-2010, 09:22
Thank you for your detailed report....:smiley20: and your pictures look awesome...I loved all the Anthias that fill the water there....very colorful. did you see any leaf fish? we saw a couple but they were elusive

Travelnsj
05-06-2010, 19:23
Thank you for your detailed report....:smiley20: and your pictures look awesome...I loved all the Anthias that fill the water there....very colorful. did you see any leaf fish? we saw a couple but they were elusive

nope no leaf fish...sure they were there...but the dive guides were good....but not great...here are a few more pics.

ParrotheadDiver
05-07-2010, 06:52
awesome little red nudi....

my photog buddy tried to get several pics of a chinese dragon nudi but none of them turned out very good and they are colorful...he is more of a wide angle photog

greylion
10-18-2010, 08:18
My wife and i want to go to Fiji in 2011, thanks for the report and pictures. We're thinking of ParadiseTaveuni and one other resort but haven't decided on which one yet?

Travelnsj
10-18-2010, 09:56
I have not dove Taveuni but heard it is good diving. Perhaps parrothead diver may have some info for you. If I were to go back to Fiji I would only do a LOB to the Bligh waters and try Taveuni....otherwise I thought the diving was pretty average.

greylion
10-18-2010, 14:42
I have not dove Taveuni but heard it is good diving. Perhaps parrothead diver may have some info for you. If I were to go back to Fiji I would only do a LOB to the Bligh waters and try Taveuni....otherwise I thought the diving was pretty average.

Actually thinking of the Nai'a for 7 days and then Taveuni, just have to get the wife to spend some of her communion money. :) What the heck, you only live once!

Travelnsj
10-18-2010, 15:49
I've heard the Naia is the way to go....either AZdiver or Parriothead diver has been to Taveuni and there is a reef system there that they say is great.

greylion
10-19-2010, 08:07
I've heard the Naia is the way to go....either AZdiver or Parriothead diver has been to Taveuni and there is a reef system there that they say is great.

Thanks for the info.