Fiji April 2011

Fiji April 2011

Time of Year You Went: April 2011

 

Fiji: Wow! Now this was a holiday. It will be difficult for words to describe the wonders of this trip. Hopefully David’s pictures help pass on some of the beauty and wonder of Fiji. We logged 46 dives, yet we still had time to enjoy the Fijian people and culture, and make many new friends on the trip.

Picture yourself here!Qamea: Our first week was spent at a tiny resort on the island of Qamea. In every sense this is the perfect island – and the feeling started immediately upon our arrival. After our 34 hour journey from Wainwright (the 2 hour truck drive, the 4 airplanes and airports, the 1 hour van ride on a goat trail, the boat ride), Kevin, Vera, David and myself were delighted with the friendly reception on our morning arrival. The staff had scheduled complimentary half hour massages for us in the afternoon – what a great way to work out the aches and pains of travel!
Everything got even better after this great start – the staff is exceptional, the food is fantastic, the diving is beautiful, the weather phenomenal, the nightly kava party, local entertainment and Fijian village culture are incredible, and the dozen other guests on the island were all such fun – mostly honeymooners, and you get to meet all of them. We made some great new friends, and were ‘guests’ at a tiny beach wedding when we dashed in wearing our wetsuits between dives to take some pictures and congratulate a great couple.
Bula - welcome to FijiAmazingly, the all Fijian staff greeted us by name and a friendly Fijian hello (Bula) every time they saw us. We were made to feel like we are welcome and belong here.
We thought of so many of our friends and dive buddies, as this island would be loved by all that we know. Divers, the delights of the underwater world and the ease of the diving ensure your happiness. Non-divers, the sincerity of the Fijian’s in their culture and pride in showing the village life with village tours, walks to waterfalls and other day trips are very enjoyable. The spa on the resort, the afternoon naps on the hammock, the pool, the bure (all rooms are a separate hut-with air conditioning), the local singers in the evening; there is lots to do, or you can do nothing – you decide!

Beqa: It was sad to leave Qamea. Even the Fijian’s call it ‘heaven on earth’. Fiji is bigger than we expected, with a boat, van, plane, van, boat and smaller boat all required to travel to Beqa, our next resort. Beqa is a larger and older resort, which caters to the American guest. With a capacity of 50 guests, the intimacy of Qamea was missed. The diving was not as pristine either, but that was partly due to a lot of rainfall on the island which caused the water to have poor visibility – but still excellent by Clear Lake standards! You dive off of a larger dive boat – we had about 14 divers on our boat, with 3 divemasters - too
crowded for our liking. I worry – are we getting spoiled?
We quickly found our favourite DM– Joe. He could find the most amazing things on each dive – blue ribbon eels, disco clams, octopus, and so on. You do two dives in the morning on the boat, then come back by about 2 for lunch. In the afternoon you could do shore dives (David and I did one – pretty lame compared to the boat dives) or do excursions to the neighbouring village. Vera and I befriended some of the local kids at a tour of the school, and had such fun. After we all went to the village church Sunday afternoon, David and Kevin were invited for kava with the village priest the next day. Again, you could relax in your air conditioned room, enjoy the pool, or do what you wanted for the afternoon. The food here was very good.

Soft Coral CapitalNai’a: David and I went on a live aboard for our final week. This was fantastic! The diving is pristine, the cruise directors/DM’s fantastic, the other divers were incredibly great people, with so much dive experience and stories of places they have been, and the food wonderful. The cabins/rooms are newly re-built this year (after a serious explosion last year when it was in dry dock having some work done) and are the best we have ever been in. The diving was incredible – the DM’s who have been here for
years and know exactly the tides and timings to get the best visibility and current. Soft corals, hard corals, mantas, turtles, octopus, sharks, the tiny creatures as well, 84F water temp. Between the morning dives, there was an optional educational session by one of the course directors – an amazing video made by a previous DM, with Sam narrating.
This was fantastic – we wish the dvd would have the narration and we could purchase it. The diving experience was made even better by the guests – one is a British marine biologist doing her annual reef study of sites she set up when working on the boat. For the past 12 years has lived in Fiji. Countless times we would show her a picture, or a video clip, and ask ‘what is this about’. We learned so much about coral bleaching, reef recovery, the impact of resorts on the reefs, and the Fijian culture and way of living.

Fiji - we loved itCastaway: Kevin and Vera went to another island: Kevin’s report: Castaway is a beautiful family-oriented resort which is a short ferry ride from close to the international airport on the mainland.
There are about 60 individual Bure's (beautiful one room huts with well appointed walled off bathroom/showers-better than
Beqa} and the resort is great for kids with lots of beach activities. The diving is good ...better than Beqa!! The food was excellent but consider the Meal Plan & get both a la Carte/ Buffet.
Diving is 2 {or 3} dives per day in a FAST small boat for 1 to ~ 10ish divers MAX but larger numbers are split. Diving is great ..but does not touch the soft coral quality of Qamea. Some dives with 8-10 sharks, turtles on walls & reefs, some deep, some shallow. This is in the area the Film 'Castaway' was shot! This resort is great if you want more amenities than diving or have non-divers / kids with you!

Return trip: Yes, we will return – there is no doubt. Actually although my body is back in Wainwright, my spirit is still in Fiji,
enjoying the beaches, the sunshine, the diving, and the friends we made. I know David, Kevin and Vera are also still acclamatizing their minds and bodies to the Alberta realities.
Connie and David Faas
Alberta Adventure Divers