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Dive Review of AquaTrek/The Pearl south Pacific in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Beqa Lagoon

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Sherwood & Judith Smith, WA, USA (6 reports)
Report Number 2536

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Reporter
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Indo Pacific and Caribbean

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, cloudy  
Seas
choppy  
Water Temp
81   to 82    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
30   to 60    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Guidelines suggested by divemasters  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
3 stars   
Advanced
3 stars    
Comments  
We stayed at the Pearl South Pacific, the venue of the 2006 SPUMS (South
Pacific Underwater Medicine Society) meeting, and dived with AquaTrek
Divers, whose local manager, Derrek, was very helpful and well organized.
(He even attended our airway/resuscitation workshop.) Our group of some 50
divers was split among four boats, and logistically things went pretty
well. We did two tank dives every morning in Beqa Lagoon. After the first
dive, a skiff made the rounds of the various dive boats, picking up empty
tanks to begin the refilling process for the next day, - commendable. Dive
boats varied from fast aluminum hulls with twin Yamaha’s, to our vessel,
the Scuba Queen, a slow comfortable wooden craft with an inboard diesel,
which gave us more leisurely voyages across the lagoon. We really liked the
large stern swim platform. We also made up for the lack of speed with power
and seaworthiness, when we towed in a disabled fishing vessel, with a good
sea running, on our last dive day.

Boatmen and divemasters did a good job with dive briefings and diver
retrieval. We had three Fijian divers in the water with us on every dive,
ready and willing to point out small critters to all interested. Or we
dived in our own teams, seeking our own discoveries. The crew accommodated
us in lengthening the surface intervals to keep our computers happy. Most
dive sites consisted of single or clustered bommies in 75 ft. or less of
water, and topping out at 15-30 ft. Most of the action was on the sides or
tops of the coral, with occasional views of pelagics at depth. Visibility
averaged 40-60 ft.  Marine life was varied, but little was new or
fascinating, other than the octopus with a 24+ inch span, who emerged from
a hole in the coral in front of the two of us, and put on a 15 minute
color-and-shape changing show, until we ran out of bottom time. 

One day was occupied with a two-tank shark dive. I am not generally in
favor of feeding sharks, but this particular one was recommended, so I
went. The action was unbelievable! Taking photographs of that melée
of fish, in water quite turbid from food particulate, was difficult; my
best photographs were taken by turning my back on the action, and getting
“up close and personal” with a pair of large silvertip sharks, cruising
just behind and above the group of spectators, as they circled back toward
the food. As we were ascending after the second dive, a medium-sized tiger
shark cruised through the site.

We had dived many of these sites early in a 1990 liveaboard trip on the
Pacific Nomad; we remember being underwhelmed by the topography of Beqa
Lagoon, and that the diving among the outer islands was better. We had the
same reaction this time around; fortunately we had arranged our second week
on the north coast, diving in the Bligh Water.

The Pearl South Pacific Resort is located at Pacific Harbor, an almost
three hour drive from Nadi. It is a three-storey hotel, imaginatively
appointed in the public areas, with some rooms recently refurbished, and
others awaiting such. Rooms were large, well air conditioned, with
comfortable beds. Breakfasts were a cold buffet of fruit, cereals, breads,
rolls, toast, and yogurt, and we even ventured to try Vegemite on our
toast. Staff were most accommodating. Dinners for the conference group were
served either buffet-style around the pool, or indoors in the formal dining
room with white tablecloths, and were generally of very good quality. We
ate post-dive lunches every day at Kumaran’s Indian Restaurant, across the
main road from the resort, and not to be missed. It’s right next door to
the Shell Station, which is actually a market and liquor store. Other
nearby attractions include the Fijian Cultural Center, worth a 10 minute
walk.
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