Fiji Diving - Wananavu, Raki Raki / Garden Island Resort, Taveuni / Matava, Kadavu

Mid June '06 - completed 17 dives within two weeks - and all 3 areas were great. Each location differed.

Wananavu resort was an extremely friendly resort. It had all the features of the 100+ room resorts but without the crowds and a very homely atmosphere. All the staff (Sam, Tito, Serena, Vulo, Mila, Ovini, Soni, etc) made you feel most welcome. They all took note of you and remembered your name. Kai Viti divers were the best team of diving staff we have ever worked with. The dive masters who guided us around the various locations were exceptional. They helped locate local marine life that we may have missed if not totally aware. So much life and colour within those soft corals. Fantastic guys (Seci, Mosese, Bola, Esa, etc), fantastic service, fantastic boat, fantastic dive locations. We will dive with these fella‚s again. Let's keep Wananavu and Kai Viti exclusive and our own little secret.

Garden Island Resort in Taveuni was run down from what was advertised. This resort has all the signs of been tired. Very American in style as well, with mainly American tourists / divers. The staff were in complete contrast to the what we found in Wananavu. The Fiji smile was there (kinda) but struggled to be genuine. It gave us the impression that this place was "touristed" out. This is a purpose-built resort located near some very close and great dive locations. We dove with Aqua-Trek at this resort. Excluding a couple dive masters, the rest of the dive staff seemed to have a hard time to crack a smile. All seemed too tired. People like Georgie, Tukai, Louie and Leon (dive masters) and dive locations such as The Zoo and The Great White Wall would be the only reason we'd go back. One of the things that really bugged us was the amount of coral destruction done by divers in the group. Some divers had no respect about the amount of destruction they were causing by bad buoyancy control and fins. Aqua-Trek at no time advised to protect the local beauty or to correct the bad behaviour. Yes, we did point this out to them. What made things finally worse - we had some equipment lost. Aqua-Trek insisted at all times to handle and clean all of the equipment. When packing we realised that some small stuff went missing, only after the last dive. It might have been some of the tourists, as they were able to freely walk around the gear in the store - can't say for sure.

Finally we went to Matava in Kadavu Island. It rained. Ok, it rained a lot. This is a very small, quaint and very friendly resort. It does not have any features that you would see advertised in the fancy island resorts such as Beachcomber, Castaway, etc. It has very little tourist population and very little modern day conveniences but a most comfortable place to stay. You really felt as being part of the true Fijian lifestyle. There is little electricity with some bures only having light by lantern. Some bures have solar power for night light and hot showers. Hot showers are also available in a central convenience block. There was a community block where all meals were served and the socialising / relaxing was done. Matava specialises in water sports such as diving and fishing by it's wonderful location with abundant reefs and large marine life. Swam with Manta Rays, Sharks, Turtles, Barracuda (2 types) and so much more... Matava only use small dive boats as the tides hinder with reef / coral that is close to the surface. The big plus is that they can only carry few divers and would take you to the places you preferred. Matava houses up to 20 guests and encourages them to socialise as little or as much as they wish. The hosts such as Richard (also a diver master), is always working with the guests and all the staff are most eager to please. Many thanks to Meggie, Joe, Melini, George, Talico, etc. Great bunch of people. The food is mostly locally grown and delicious. They had odd dinner themes such as Italian night with Thai food - making every night entertaining. The Lovo pit dinner (yummo) and party night was a hoot - let he kava flow. Yes we will be coming back.

Husband is still not sure if the kava was better than the Fiji Bitter :-)

Contributed by MarieB added 2006-07-03

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