I just returned from a week long dive trip to Fiji. Spectacular diving and a very nice resort.
Diving with a group from Aquatic Adventures out of Alexandria Virginia we met up in LA and flew to Nadi on the main island of Fiji then hopped on a puddle jumper for 1.5 hour trip to Taveuni - the "Garden Island". We stayed at the Garden Island Resort on the protected, dry side, of the island.
The resort pretty much caters to divers so don’t expect a lot frills but it was clean, comfortable and the staff bent over backwards to make sure everything was perfect. No TV’s or telephones but every room faces the sea and has a mini-refrigerator. If you can, arrange for a meal plan before the trip. The individual prices for meals was pretty high.
The diving is beyond description. No dive site was more than 20 minutes away from the resort. The surface interval each day was spent on a beautiful bay with a nice beach and very nice snorkeling just minutes from the dive sites. There is some opportunity for shore diving but it is not Bonaire. The dive crew handled the BCDs, wetsuits and fins. Cleaning them after each trip and drying them for the next days use. Briefings were good and the dive masters knew their stuff. After the first day they figured out that I am a heavy breather so every day after that they gave me tanks that had a few hundred extra pounds of air without being asked.
We dove the Great White Wall on the first dive but there was litle current so the soft corals weren’t really showy but the sheer numbers and varieties of fish was staggering. We saw multiple White tip sharks on every dive, Giant Groupers, sea snakes, anemone fish you name it we saw it. A second dive on the same site a few days later was in a heavy current and we could see where the site got its name. A forest of soft white coral covered the sheer wall.
My favorite dive was the Little White Wall. On that dive you swim under an overhang covered in white coral then along a slope wall where every inch was covered with soft corals waving in the current.
Most of the dives were drift dives, although a few were out and back to the anchored boat usually against a strong current at first. The final dive was at a location called Sam’s Place. This should have been named Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. During the briefing we were told to hug the bottom or face getting swept up and over the reef. We literally flew through the dive. Even the dive master was holding on to any hard spot he could get a hold of to try and slow down. After crossing over the reef at a low spot I signaled and went up, I knew I was out of my league. On the back side of the reef two of the dive masters/instructors in our group later said they they felt like they were in trouble. The turbulent currents were sweeping them from 40 feet down to 70 feet then back up treatring them like they were Yo Yos.
One final note: Individual tipping is discouraged but there is a tip box for their annual Xmas party in the hotel and dive shop.
While I can highly recommend the resort, the dive crew and especially the diving this is not a place to bring newly certified divers. The currents are usually strong which of course is why the wildlife is so spectacular.