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Dive Review of Aqua-Trek/Uprising Beach Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Beqa Lagoon

Aqua-Trek/Uprising Beach Resort, Sep, 2009,

by Gina Sanfilippo, CA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 5035.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Sea of Cortez, Caribbean, Tonga, Mergui, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Monterey
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 75 to 77 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 40 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Reef dives were limited to approx. 45 minutes.

Shark dives were 20-25 mins. at depth watching the feed, plus an additional 15-20 mins. on the adjacent shallower reef.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments The boat has no facilities for cameras, and the shop has only a dunk tank, although this isn't much of an issue since this is only a day boat.

Photographers are given prime spots to see sharks, but beware--there are so many fish at the shark feedings that it's hard to take photos of the sharks. Concentrate on the sharks at the back & outer edges. Also, take photos without a strobe as there is so much particulate matter in the water you will be lots of backscatter if you use your strobe.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Aqua-Trek is the outfit that started shark dive in the Beqa area. There are now two dive shops that do shark feeding dives (at separate locations), and additional shops partner with one shop or the other and accompany them on dives. You will pay a FJ$15 per day fee on top of your dive cost; this amount goes to a local tribe who allows Aqua-Trek to dive their waters, and in exchange that tribe will not fish there (and therefore deplete the area of fish and sharks), but more importantly, the tribe will not allow anyone else to fish their waters either.

Two shark dives are done at the same location with an hour surface interval between dives. Several safety divers are on-hand to make sure everything goes as planned. Nurse sharks of 5-9 foot/2-3 meters are regulars. I saw as many as 7 bull sharks of 5-7 feet/2-2.5 meters on all 6 shark dives, although they are shy and tend to stay to the back and sides. Silvertips and grey reef sharks are also common, and one day we were lucky enough to see a 9-10 foot/3 meter tiger shark.

After the feeding portion of the dive is over you can spend some time exploring the adjacent reef. Sadly, too many sloppy divers have killed most of the coral there, but there are still some fish and nice scenery to pass the end of your dive.

The shop owner/shark feeder Brendan is friendly, knowledgeable, and promotes shark conservation.

One day we did a two-tank reef dive which was very nice, although maybe not as stunning as other parts of Fiji. Fish were plentiful and we did see a little whitetip reef shark. There were only five divers for this trip and it was good to have a small group like that.

--
Although Aqua-Trek is based out of the Pearl Resort, we stayed at the Uprising Beach Resort there in Pacific Harbour. Don't make the same mistake we did.

The resort looks nice, but we had many problems including: roaches in the bed, handle falling off the shower, shower water vacillates between hot and cold, you cannot access your bathroom from inside your bure (why is it outside?), key does not open the front door and you have to walk through the sand to unlock the back door, food ranged from mediocre to inedible, restaurant staff had difficulty understanding English, restaurant staff frequently had difficulty taking orders and often forgot things, etc. In addition, the Uprising is a 20- to 30-minute walk from any other restaurant or cafe, so unless you have a car it is difficult to eat elsewhere, particularly if it is dark or raining outside.

The only advantage the Uprising has to the Pearl Resort is its private bures. If you really have to have a private bure then stay here, otherwise, stay elsewhere.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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