Hi: I got a request from a friend to describe my recent trip to the Fiji.
Since I got most of the information from the net (in particular from
rec.scuba), I thought that I could in return post there my report, to help
other divers to decide on a good place for scuba diving.
I went from Europe on a business trip to Melbourne, and I decided to take a
week of vacation to go from there to the Fiji. The organization of my trip
was quite simple, in fact: I investigated diving in the Fiji with the help
of the (very good) Lonely Planet guide to the Fiji and over internet. I
on diving in the Fiji posted to the rec.scuba newsgroup.
The price for a return ticket from Melbourne to Nandi (Fiji's international
airport) is quite high: Au$ 740,00 R/T. Then, with the help of the Lonely
Planet and the material from the internet, I started a survey to check for
the best places to dive. It seems that the two best islands for that are
Kadavu (also written Kandavu) and Taveni. The place often adviced for
diving in rec.scuba in Taveni (Garden Island Resort) was reported full when
I called them. I called "Albert's place" (+679 302 896) in Kandavu, that
got very good reports as well. After checking their rate and availability,
I decided to go there for 6 days (from Sunday, 28th/04/96 to Saturday
4th/05). I had to book for a plane from Nandi to Kandavu "airport". The
price was ~ Fiji$100 return (~US$70). I had to ask Albert for a lift from
the airport to Albert's place in a small boat (1 and half hour) as there
are almost no roads in the island (F$50 pp if less than 2 people, F$25
I stayed there in a cute little Bure (ie, a Fijian hut) with no electricity
but a bed with a musquito net and shared bathroom. The price was
F$15/night for a single bure (or F$6/night for staying in the dorm). To
this, add F$6 for breakfast and F$10 for dinner (not need for lunch: there
are plenty of coconuts!). The total for 6 days was F$186 (~US$120), plus
few $$ for the beers. We were about 10 people, with some turnover, all
"backpacker style", from UK, US, Canada, Germany, Australia, Zimbabwe, etc.
Most of them were experienced divers. For diving, I took the package of 10
boat dives, 2 dives a day (there is no dive on Sunday), for F$320,
including all gear and boat transportation to the reef there -- one of the
best in the World -- called "Astrolabe Reef".
If you go there, remember to ask for diving on "the pinacles", which is a
little bit off the usual places for diving from Albert's place (called
"1st, 2nd, and 3rd passages") and requires a quiet sea. Corals are
especialy wonderfull there, and if you are lucky like me, you can see
white-tipped sharks, nurse sharks, and eagle rays in the same dive...
I spent in total F$186 + 320 + 2*25 (boat transportation from and to the
airport) = ~F$560 (~US$ 350) for the 6 days, plus return flight
transportation to Kandavu island, plus return flight to Melbourne. Not too
expensive in my opinion, especially if you can find a cheap flight from
Europe to the Fiji (you can save also on the transportation within the
Islands by taking a boat to go to Kandavu instead of plane).
Note that Albert's place is also very good for mixing with Fijians and
sharing kava. On the negative side, don't expect anything luxurious, and
the Albert's beach is not the best of Fiji (but full of coconuts anyway!).
The bottom line: I you can go there, don't hesitate!!