Let me start off by saying this was my first trip to the South Seas and
to Fiji so please bear with me if I mention some obvious things.
Our trip was three weeks long with more than one stop. I will break
up the report into two files. For information about Beqa Lagoon,
Taveuni and general travel comments, see my second report.
General Notes: There is a mile of road on this island. To go to any of the
resorts, you travel by boat. You will need to wade into the water so proper
shoes are advisable. Bare feet work as well.
Our first stop was to Nukumbalvu Resort Inn. At the time, we were the
only guests there. This is a backpacking
place which is trying to convert to a resort. It is about an hour by boat
from the airport. We stayed in the only bure
with electricity and running water (hot and cold). They are in the process
of building a couple more of this type. The food is very good. Breakfast
consists of cereal, toast and another bread type. I am sure if we had asked for
more variety we would have gotten it but what they offered is what we considered
a diving breakfast anyway. Lunch was single plate of various things. Dinner
was a buffet of two different meats, lots of veggies and fruits. Dessert was
some type of cake.
The diving was within the Astrolabe Reef area. We could not dive the face
of the reef as the breakers were quite large at the edge due to the
Trade Winds. In calmer times it is possible to do. The average dive
depth was about 40 feet with some of the best dives between 8 - 30 ft deep.
There was a a little bit of top current but nothing very serious. Because
Nukumbalvu has sole rights to diving on the reef, the reef has some
very *** looking areas to it. The hard c***was abundant with the
fish life that is usually found with it (damsels, clown fish, basslets).
There is little to no soft coral. The highlights for us there was a stone fish
and some sting rays. We did three days of diving and one night dive there.
The dive operation has some pluses and minuses to it. The boat is nothing more
than a regular six pack boat. It does not have a ladder so it requires some
effort to get back on board. They didn't have O2 available either. Supposedly
that was due to come in the week after we left. What was nice about it was
that we could go out at whatever time we wanted to. They were very concerned
about what sorts of things we wanted to see and what sort of diving we liked
to do. No cattle car here. The dive shop was complete with anything you'd
need to rent.
Overall, as we liked the quiet of the place and the overall accomodations, we
stayed an extra day. Besides the quiet, the snorkeling was great just in
front of the Inn. You could see as much snorkeling as you did diving.
Dive Kadavu Mantana:
Dive Kadavu is about 10 minutes from the airport and is much more like a
hotel bordering on a Club Med in atmosphere. The food is also ok.
There is no choice on menus unless you require special foods or are a
vegetarian. Breakfast is fruit, cereal and either pancakes or an egg dish.
Lunch and Dinner is posted in advance. The resort has electricity from
7am to 10pm.
The diving depth averages about 50-60 ft and is predominately
boomie (c***head) dives. There is a little soft c***but not a lot.
There are alot of swim throughs. There is a good variety of life including
white tip sharks and lion fish. I have heard that other sharks have
been sighted (not the kind you mess with) in the area as well. The hard
c***is less impressive but still nice. Current was present but rarely
and not a serious one.
The dive operation is very well organized. They have three dives a day at
9, 11 and 3 with an occasional night dive. They usually choose the dives
well in advance, the night before or that morning, and you sign up on the
blackboard for what you are attending. The boat is very nice and well equipped.
The dive shop was very complete for any of your needs. The Astrolabe sites
are out of reach from here, its being over an hour away.
If you are a snorkler, the immediate area in front of the hotel is very
disappointing. There are a couple low bommies but there is very little life
present. Best bet is to go out on the dive boat to a dive site and snorkel
on top of the bommies there.
Of these two resorts, I would go back to Nukumbalvu again for Astrolabe
Reef access. It offered great diving and the accomodations were acceptable.
Just a note, both resorts use mosquito netting for bug protection. There are
no nicely screened accomodations at either site.
In the second report I post, I'll talk about Beqa Lagoon and Taveuni.