Fiji is an archipelago comprised of some 300 picture-perfect islands straddling the international dateline. The archipelago lies to the north of New Zealand, east of Vanuatu and west of French Polynesia. The islands are beautiful and Fiji is the soft coral capital of the world. Fiji offers an incredible scuba diving experience and home of the "Great White Wall", the "Yellow Tunnel" and other famous underwater marvels, scuba diving conditions and visibility are unrivalled all yearround. Because of its clear water and dazzling coral Fiji is a favorite location for professional underwater photographers.
The best time to go on your dive charter in Fiji is during the dry cool winter season from May to October. The underwater visibility is best and the air temperature ranges from 20°C to 26°C
Beqa Lagoon Resort an older resort, it is constantly being renovated. There are many, many moss-covered stone sculptures throughout the grounds, especially around the Lily Pond bungalows, which have individual ornately inlaid doors and talisman stone carvings. Added with the lush vegetation, they give a feeling as if you have discovered a lost archaeological village. There is a new tastefully designed swimming and reflection pool and patio; the perfect ambiance to enjoy a sunset cocktail, and fine dining in the covered restaurant. The dessert, Poire Belle Helene- exquisite! Mark, the new manager has many great stories from his years in the hotel business in Bali, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.
The dive centre on site is run by the resort, and has built a reputation as a centre for serious divers. Many dive clubs and shops from the US book group dive and accommodation packages, here, and many are repeats. They have 3 large and comfortable dive boats that take divers, morning and sometimes afternoons. We dove 2 sites out by the pass next to Yanuca island: Japanese Fishing Wreck and Three Sisters. The wreck had some good life, especially on the mast and railings. Both sites feature coral bommies rising from 18-24m of water to within 5-8m from the surface. We circled round and round them and at each level closer to the surface, it got more and more vibrant and colourful. There are giant sea fans and soft corals of pastel and earthy colours, and on top, it glitters with hundreds of impossibly brilliant petite tropical fish. There are also more than 25 dive sites on the reefs around Beqa lagoon with abundant soft and hard corals, gorgonians, and exotic reef fish.
Beqa is famous for dives where BIG sharks are fed. The dive centres that make these shark feeding dives are located in Pacific Harbour on Viti Levu, which is within the same barrier reef system, thus fairly protected waters, and a reasonable boat ride to the dive sites. We ourselves fed reef sharks in the Maldives, and have seen a number of reef shark feedings, but to date, we have never seen such large sharks fed, especially Bull sharks. Each centre that feeds does so at it's specific reef, as sharks are creatures of habit, and has established a report with the divers they know and trust. (And vice versa!) A $10 Park fee per person per trip goes to the Beqa villages with rights to these sites (charged by the Dive Centre when you pay). We dived with two operations on their shark dive, and found the format to be slightly different at each. Each has roomy, well-equipped, covered, high-speed dive boats, and many safety divers for the feeding. This is one of the best places in the world to see big sharks, do not miss the opportunity!
Beqa Adventure Divers is perhaps the most well known for their Big Fish Encounter. The Fijian divers have been nourishing these sharks for 7 years; Manasa and buddies each have their “pet” Bulls that feed directly from their hands only. This exhilarating dive is very well thought out and organized from both safety, and theatrical, standpoints. The first dive was a multi-level: Bulls at 30m, white-tip lagoon and grey sharks at 10m, and black -tips at the safety stop! And, at all levels, big crazy trevallys, snappers, and dozens of other schooling opportunists. Maximum excitement the dive minute! The 2nd dive is done entirely at 18m, up-close-and-personal with the Bulls! If you are very lucky, Scarface, 6 m tiger shark will show up!! They also work closely with the scientific community doing shark research, providing behavioural studies about these illusive creatures. We also did two reef dives with Andrew, the manager, and David, dive guide on some beautiful bommies rising like seamounts festooned with soft corals and gorgonians. An added bonus at the second site was a wreck at 30m.
Aqua Trek-Beqa is located in the Pearl Resort. The first feeding dive starts at 24m. The sharks are not hand fed, but feed on their own from the copious amounts of fish parts that are doled out. Sometimes sharks are less timid to eat if the food is not held and you can see more competitive ripping and tearing. On the other hand, visibility can diminish from all the fish stirring up the bottom. The second half of the dive, you ascend the reef and can circle around viewing the coral and the deep drop-off. The second dive was 18m and the sharks came much, much closer. We could see the small yellow pilot fish leading the bull, and the pimples on his nose!! There were also some huge nurse sharks, which are less inhibited to chow down. As we ascended to the safety line at the end of the dive, one bag of fish had slipped into the danger zone and was left. We got a bird's eye view of 3 awesomely huge bull sharks shredding it to pieces, uninhibited now that the annoying bubble-makers had gone.
There is a serious dive centre at Kadavu Village, the main activity of the clientele being diving Astrolabe Reef and it's passes. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to dive with them so cannot comment on the operation or the dives.
The Tiliva Resort will pick up divers and/or diners from this bay and take you to their very lovely resort on the NE side. Barbara and Kim, owner-managers have created a fine quality hide-away that offers amenities not found in any other resort on the S or E side of Kadavu. They have gone great lengths to create an atmosphere of quiet nature, balmy breezes and lapping waves, with pleasing touches of Fijian art and history, natural woods and fibres. Each of the 6 large bures has en-suite baths beautifully crafted furniture of local wood, and wide decks and terraces that are placed to catch the sea breezes. There's a British Colonial feeling of bringing civilization to the wild; high tea with china service in a jungle setting. Having worked in the hospitality field ourselves for many years, we could see the eye for detail, and the huge effort they make to provide what most visiting metropolitans would take for granted (salads with variety lettuce, carrots and tomatoes grown organically on site, freely pouring salt from an open salt dish, 24 hr electricity, and hot, unlimited showers). We think it would make a wonderful day for a party of buddy boaters to do some morning dives on the Great Astrolabe Reef, have a fresh, delicious lunch, (We enjoyed Mahi Mahi, home-made fries and salad) and a walk up to the overlook for great views of the reef and islands and lagoon colours.
Papageno Resort on the N coast, just W of Daku Bay. We anchored (18 57.72S, 178 14.24E) in good sand w/ few heads in 25ft. Keep an eye for the reefs shown on the electronic charts. With good visibility, we could easily see isolated bommies, and a long reef extending out from the resort. You could find anchoring on either side of that reef, protected from SE winds. The resort monitors Ch 16 most of the time and can guide you. When we got round-the-clock-winds, we went into the beautifully protected Daku Bay. On the charts, the route looks like a minefield of reefs, but there is a quite straightforward route in deep water. Staff from Papageno guided us in, and came to pick us, and Ted (s/v Anna Louise) up for diving each day. They have a dive operation that dives the wreck of the Pacific Voyager (just off the reefs out from the resort), and also all of the same sites as Dive Kadavu. See below for details. The reefs and bommies around the resort are very healthy and the snorkelling is close and colourful. The resort staff are all very welcoming. Epi, operations manager and Isaac, manager of the Dive Centre were especially nice.