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Dive Review of Beqa Lagoon Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Beqa Lagoon

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by eric multhaup, CA, USA
Report Number 1901
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, California, Hawaii, Mexico 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry  
Water Temp
74   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
110 feet first dive, 60 feet second dive, flexible  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Beqa Lagoon Resort

	The dive operation and the resort are integrated on the island of Beqa
(Ben-ga), a 45 minute boat ride from Pacific Harbor on the main island of
Viti Levu. Beqa is the largest of several islands within the Beqa Lagoon,
protected by a barrier reef many miles in circumference. The resort is
situated on a small bay, with about 25 rooms spread among the grounds and
palm trees, and a large central dining and entertainment area, all in the
Fijian bure style. There are no roads on the island, no stores, and no TV
at the resort, so it feels very remote and secluded. 

The diving is excellent. August is Fiji winter, with less rain and better
underwater visibility, always 100+ feet whether sunny or cloudy. The dive
destinations are coral heads sprinkled throughout the many square miles of
lagoon, and virtually all are lavishly decorated with soft coral and sea
fans. Side Street has the most prolific display of sea fans, and a stunning
swim-through. The tropicals are prolific  at Circus Circus we were
engulfed with what one diver later described as a blizzard of fish. We
saw sharks on almost every dive, white tips and black tips on the regular
dives, and very large bull sharks as well on the official shark dive. The
dive guides were tireless in spotting the lionfish and scorpionfish, as
well as the local critters, including the blue ribbon eels, brilliant
nudibranchs, Spanish Dancer flatworms. Plenty of free-swimming morays;
schools of very large barracuda; many colors of crinoids (feathered sea
stars) attached to sea fans. This is all extremely comfortable, and
extremely rewarding. The night dives were particularly enjoyable at Pearl
Rock, with sharks swimming by, lots of crustaceans, sea pens, and unusual
anemones. A separate dive operation in Pacific Harbor on the mainland puts
on shark dives in conjunction with the resorts in the area, in which the
audience divers descend to 80 feet, line up behind a 10 foot security
rope, and the shark guys chum the water with fish offal. Every pelagic
fish in the zip code converges, and about half way through the dive the
sharks arrive, mostly reef sharks and large bull sharks. A very large tiger
shark monopolized the feeding the day before we arrived.  

In charge of dive operations is 33 year old Delana, a native Beqan, who
runs a very efficient and diver-friendly operation. Upon arrival, each
diver is issued an identification number that is duct-taped to a dive bag
containing mask, fins, snorkel, and regulator, and also duct-taped to a BCD
strap and to a weight belt. Each morning a panga carries the divers about
50 yards to the dive boat, where all equipment has been assembled, with
each persons dive bag and weight belt under the seat below their
equipment. At the dive site, you put on your wetsuit, etc., sit on the step
at the stern, the crew puts your gear on your back and you giant stride in.
When you get out, you sit on the same step, the crew takes your gear,
changes the tank, and re-positions it at your space. This is billed as
catered diving. Groups of five or fewer are accompanied by one dive
guide, and six or more by two guides up to a maximum of 12 on the boat.
Most divers bring most or all of their equipment. The dive shop has dive
equipment to rent, but is primarily used for on-site dive classes. The
rental regulators and bcds were perfectly adequate, but the selection of
wetsuits was very spotty as far as size and age. As of August, 2005, Joe
the resort operations manager has ordered new wetsuits, but we really
recommend bringing a wetsuit that really fits you. During Fijian summer,
the water temperature reaches the mid to high 80s, so the wetsuit is not
an issue.

On land, be prepared for a dramatically simplified life without electronic
stimulation. The resort has a generator than provides electricity to the
bures. There is a daily afternoon activity sponsored by the resort, which
usually involves the nearby Fijian villages. There is a very healthy
symbiotic relationship between the resort and the villages, with the resort
providing the only steady source of income for the residents, who are
otherwise self-sufficient through farming, fishing and hunting. The
residents provide exceptionally pleasant and helpful service, make some
craft items for sale, and provide high quality musical entertainment at the
resort. The Methodist church is the focus of village life, and the church
choir sings hymns in Fijian with soaring harmonies never heard in the
United States. Some of the choir stand-outs also sing in the Bula Band that
performs at the resort restaurant during dinner, and a truly remarkable
proportion of the village participates in the music accompanying the
childrens dance performance. There is limited hiking on the island,
including a sacred waterfall and a challenging climb to the top of the
island (only 400 meters elevation but super steep in parts) with
spectacular views.  

The food is excellent, in large part due to the good judgment of the new
owners as of August 2004 in promoting a local Beqan woman to head chef,
after she had apprenticed for some years to the fancy European chefs in
residence under the prior ownership. Lunch and dinner consist of a choice
between a just caught fish dish prepared in a simple but well-conceived
manner that would work in any upscale San Francisco seafood restaurant, and
a meat alternative, both accompanied by some local vegetables and a rice
concoction. Deserts were weighted heavily toward the chocolate end of the
spectrum, and were sophisticated and delicious. Breakfast was American, a
choice between a well-seasoned egg dish, or a pancake/French toast
selection, all with fresh fruit.  Bring books, Ipods, board games, etc., as
there are no shopping opportunities of that kind on Beqa. 
Overall, this is a splendid destination.     
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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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