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Dive Review of Lalati Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Beqa

November, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne Sleeper, CA, US
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 6767
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
worldwide
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
79   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Given the specific site and dive plan, a range of expected dive times were
given ie 50-60 minutes and as a courtesy to everyone, were expected to
surface not much longer than that.  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
no 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
None 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
N/A  
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  
2 stars  
Comments
The dive operations at Lalati have recently been taken over by a new group.
They have made significant recent improvements (new boat engines, fantastic
dive boat ladder system) and are currently working on the building to
facilitate better gear handling. How to improve things for photographers is
on their radar, but not yet accomplished. They were responsive to small
changes they could make on my trip to better accomodate the size and number
of cameras.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
3 stars  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
My 4 person travel group wanted a 1 flight less than 12 hours from
LAX,tropical, all inclusive,not a giant resort, 9 total day trip to some
place new. Lalati Resort & Spa was competitively priced and met all of
our criteria. We appreciated being met at the airport, enjoyed the 2 hr
ride in the Lalati van around the main island, to get to the dock for the
resort's boat ride to Beqa island 45 minutes across a channel. 

The setting is magnificent - our South Pacific fantasy - palm trees, sand,
exotic flowers, lovely individual bures (cottages), hammocks, sun shine,
clear blue water, pool, casusal atmosphere. It all came with a most
gracious hospitality of the Fijian people and the resort and dive
management. 

There are 2 dives in the AM and most sites are less than 15 minutes from
the dock. Two days there was too much current and they had to work hard to
find diveable sites - but they did. We loved Paul's Pinnacle and asked to
return to that site, no problem. In a dozen dives you can visit all the
regular dive sites. Lots of small reef fish, few large schools of reef or
blue water fish, amazing few nudibrach species, shrimps or crabs - we were
surprised about that. Three species of clowns and at least 8 types of
anemones. Some interesting arches and holes in the reef for framing
pictures. Most sites are less than 70 ft, and reef up to 15-20 feet for
pleasant, long safety stops. The reefs were healthy, some more lush than
others. By the end of the trip we commented on how the remote location
limits the species count, but what is there thrives. 

For housed camera, changeable port photographers their diving is a
challenge because there is no predicting how to set the camera up each
morning. I ended up with mini wide dome and 17-55 lens most days, as the
safest choice. The day I set up for macro with a 105 lens we ended up on a
drift dive and it was near impossible to stay still enough for that lens.
Another diver had a 60 on that day with not much better result. There is no
dry work counter space on the either boat to even consider changing a set
up.

We initially thought we'd make a house reef shore reef dive each day. After
one dive we decided we were not that desperate. Instead we participated in
afternoon activites that the resort has organized for part of each
afternoon. Hiking, cooking class, how to clean a coconut, sunset cruise to
Bat Island, village tour and dancing (yes!), kayaking the bay on the edge
of the mangroves, underwater or above water  pumpkin carving for Halloween
contest during our stay, volleyball, value-priced spa massage, and more.
There was plenty to do, including some hammock naps and plenty of time to
download cameras each day. One afternon we took the dive boat to a shallow
reef for snorkeling and the coral there was spectacular. Some activites are
free and some cost extra.

There are no roads, no retail, no restaurants except the resort on the
island.  Bring everything you need. The resort just installed two new Cat
generators that are quiet and put out consistent power. Bring your own
CONVERTERS to step the 240 v down to 110 power and you also need plug
adapters for Australian to US prong configurations. The resort supplies
adapters only. As with any remote travel, if you have an item that stops
your whole system from working (the battery or charger) bring two in case
the converter fails and fries your electrical parts. The resort does not
have an inventory of camera parts.

A recent Undercurrents report had said that the included food was small
portions. So we brought turkey jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, nuts and
other snacks. Immigration's "no meat, no fruit" policy put the
jerky and dried fruit in the trash bin. At the end of the week, I gave the
nuts and all but one protein bar to the resort staff as gifts. We had one
lunch that was a smallish portion, but otherwise our group was pleased with
the quantity, quality and presentation of the food. The daily 3 pm cookies
and tea and 5 pm hors d'oeuvres were fresh baked treats each day. One
evening was an amazing "pit cooked" buffet of fish, chicken, pork
and greens that had the kitchen staff working all day. The poolside BBQ
lunch variety was good and introduced us to lamb sausages. 


FYI's: Currently no nitrox, but in the plans for the future. If you want to
buy local handicrafts, the ladies have a few things for sale on the Lalati
Village Tour day. Bring $2,5,$10 Fijian bills. They have no change and
things are modestly priced. Consider if a few dollars really makes a
difference in your life and be kind - don't haggle for discounts. Their
only customers are people who visit the resort and take the village tour.
These souvenirs are their only micro business opportunity for cash money.
On the drive from the airport to the boat dock is a good sized store called
Baravi Handicrafts. The resort van is happy to stop for coffee, bathrooms
and shopping. They have everything from postcards to turned wood urn table
bases and sea creature sculpture and Fijian masks. They are set up with DHL
and will handle crating, fumigation, and sea shipping of large items.

Our group really enjoyed the resort and the diving and the ease of the one
flight trip. The bures are large and 3-4 friends could share if you need a
lower price. 

If you fly Air Pacific out of LAX we have one last word to the wise. DO NOT
go to the check in counter with the very large Fijian woman agent. Let the
people behind you go ahead of you.  She weighed every bag including carry
on to the "ounce" and made people take things out to meet the
rules. It was not an option in her line to pay for excess baggage, the
answer was NO GO. After laughing about this with others at the resort who
came thru LAX, they had the same experience, only with THIS agent. On the
other hand, 120,000 American miles gets you a business seat on Air Pacific
which with your American Platinum card got me an extra free checked 20# bag
and a "correct dimensions" camera gear carry on at 36 pounds
(instead of the 17# stated allowance)at no charge...of course no guarantee
that will work every time! 

If you bring things for the village, gently used kids clothing, sewing
supplies, fish hooks/line, flip flops of all sizes are especially
appreciated. Skip pencils - they have way too many.   
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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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