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Dive Review of Aqua Trek/Garden Island Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Taveuni

October, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Judd, OR, USA
Report Number 3059
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
76   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Various depth limits, mostly 60 - 80 feet.  Usually nothing said about time
or minimum psi.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
The island itself if lovely, even in the largely gray weather we had. 
People and their development are just a fringe between the green mountains
and the blue water.  The advertising message that everyone is friendly is
largely true.
Garden Island Resort was OK, but not great.  The rooms were a typical
good-sized motel room, and the AC worked.  They were well cleaned without
fail every morning while we were out diving.  One of those important little
details: they give you fresh soap, but you have to bring your own shampoo. 
All have a patio or balcony with a view across the Somosomo Strait to
another island.  The grounds are well planted and maintained.  One of the
large trees is a fruit bat dormitory.  Watching these large (appx. three
foot wind span) mammals fly like birds, coming and going in the daytime,
was fascinating.  The food was mediocre, but there aren't a lot of options
in the neighborhood.  You do get a number of choices of which type of
mediocre food you want.  There was an unpleasant little surprise at
checkout, when the bill for items not in our pre-paid package included
about $40 for meals, the times we ordered the "hot breakfast"
rather than the "continental breakfast".  This was news to me,
and I pointed out to the desk clerk that their voucher and other materials
said "three meals a day", without limitation, but got nowhere. 
Not a big deal, but irritating.
The diving in this "Rainbow Reef" area is excellent.  Given the
location of Garden Island, the longest boat trip was no more than 20
minutes.  There is a wide variety of soft corals in the full palette of
colors.  We didn't see a lot of big stuff (half dozen sharks, a few
mid-size Napoleon wrasse), but the smaller tropical reef fish were
abundant.  If you like angelfish and butterflies, this is the place.  They
hang around with lots of anemonefish, plus a number of scorpionfish and
lionfish.  My personal highlight was seeing my first blue ribbon eel .....
and my second, and third and fourth and fifth.  The visibility wasn't
great, but never low enough to feel like a problem.  There was at least
some current on most dives; sometimes it was enough to require some extra
work and attention, but never a major concern.  Overall, a great place to
Unfortunately, the Aqua Trek dive operation was another matter.  On the
plus side, they were a pleasant fun bunch of guys.  Unfortunately, they
were also rather disorganized and careless.  It was nice that the crew set
up our BCs and regs on the tank for every dive, but on four dives out of
eleven my strap was not tight enough to hold the tank in place.  Twice when
I opened the tank valve the o-ring was leaking - it would be nice if that
was checked when the reg is hooked up.  The biggest "oh-oh" was
finding out that they had set me up for the second dive on a tank with 200
(yes, two hundred) psi.  Pre-dive instructions were short and not very
informative.  A typical briefing:  "They is Jack's Point.  There's
nice coral here. The reef is over there.  The current in fairly strong and
running this way.  Keep the reef on your right shoulder and follow the dive
leader." Then we rolled back into the water one at a time, as the boat
and the divers drifted apart.  Not surprisingly, we had instances where the
divers were separated at both the beginning and end of dives.  It didn't
get to the point where anybody was in imminent danger of taking an
unplanned trip to New Zealand, but more information and organization would
definitely help.  
One final recommendation: the Lavena coastal walk is worth doing.  It's
three miles of well constructed pathway, mostly along the ocean shore until
the last half mile, when it heads inland to a beautiful falls.  The last
hundred metres is over slippery rock along the small river, but there's a
rope to assist; at the top you swim and wade to a pool at the foot of a
double waterfall.  This "fifty-something" made the trek without
too much huffing and puffing, and can certify that the path is easily
negotiable even in a deluge. 
Summation:  Taveuni - YES; Garden Island Resort/Aqua-Trek - NO.   
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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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