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Dive Review of Mai Dive in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Ono Island

November, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Sandy Falen, KS, USA
Sr. Contributor   (23 reports, with 3 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5263
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Palau, other areas of Fiji.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
73   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No restrictions noted.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
If you need a rinse bucket on board, they'll provide one.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
My only hesitation in writing this report is the chance of spoiling this
paradise. Joe, Jason, and Danielle are the owner/operators of Mai Dive, an
all-inclusive dive resort on Ono Island, in the Kadavu group, in southern
Fiji. After the 11-hour Air Pacific crossing from LAX to Nadi, and a 5-hour
layover at a nearby hotel, I took a one-hour flight on Pacific Sun (Air
Pacific's affiliate) to Kadavu. Mai Dive picks up its guests at the Kadavu
Airport for the 90-minute boat trip to Ono.  And there's no question, the
trip is worth the effort.

Ono Island is small and has almost no development.  A handful of tiny
resorts and several local villages dot this pristine island.

Mai Dive's guest accommodations could house a dozen people if every bed was
filled. I enjoyed the luxury of their largest room all by myself, and there
were never more than four guests on hand during my stay. The bungalows are
simple but lovely -- well designed and supremely comfortable, with
wonderful beds and modern facilities.  The bonus was the delightfully
inexhaustible hot water shower, which was situated in a private, enclosed
outdoor deck. Mosquito netting was provided with every bed, but I never
needed the protection. I slept like a rock with the cool breeze that
constantly swept through the screened windows, with nighttime sounds
limited to the ocean, tropical critters, and the occasional coconut drop.

If it's possible to overeat on a dive trip, I did at this place.  The food
was outstanding, with a varied menu that ran from local dishes and fresh
fish to hamburgers and pizza. Service was warm and efficient. There was
always hot water for tea, and warm, homebaked bread or rolls at every meal.
Organic produce is grown on site, so there was always fresh fruit, salad,
and veggies. Fresh baked cakes and cookies provided desserts and afternoon
snacks. And perhaps best of all was the pure water that flows from Mai
Dive's own freshwater spring.

Diving is done in the Astrolabe Reef that surrounds Ono on three sides.
Boat trips were generally 10-15 minutes, and we dived both inside and
outside the barrier reef, depending on tides and currents. Dive sites
included bommies punctuated with stunning swim-throughs, pinnacles, and
drifts along walls encrusted with gorgeous soft corals. We saw sharks on
nearly every dive, sea snakes, Napoleon Wrasse, schooling barracuda, giant
morays, and a wide variety of colorful tropicals such as fire dartfish,
anthias, anemone fish, moorish idols, triggers, and unicorn fish. Viz was
always good, and sometimes it was outstanding.  We did a few drift dives,
but only once was the current close to ripping.

Water was a bit chilly (this was springtime in Fiji); I wore a lycra skin
under a 3-mil vest and a 2-mil suit and got along fine.

The crew set up gear and carried it to the boat, and they always lent a
hand when suiting up. Surface intervals were either on a beach or on the
boat, but they always included hot tea and snacks such as banana cake and
fresh fruit. I can't say enough about the dive crew at Mai Dive -- they
were professional and safety-conscious, but also good-humored and a lot of

A visit to a nearby village provided the chance to enjoy local culture,
including a meke ceremony. Small gifts, especially for the children, are
not expected but are genuinely appreciated -- I loaded up on pencils,
crayons, etc., before traveling. Staff tips are likewise not an
expectation, but given the warm and generous service I enjoyed during my
stay, I was glad I'd brought some local currency. I recommend getting your
Fiji dollars via ATM at the Nadi airport (you won't find any banks, ATMs,
or shopping on Ono Island).

I made all of my arrangements via email and fax, with inquiries answered
promptly. Danielle made the reservation process easy and efficient.
Additional charges at Mai Dive, such as added dives or a celebratory bottle
of champagne, can be charged to your credit card when checking out. 

Given the exchange rate, Fiji is a fantastic travel value. You may pay more
to get there than you will to the Caribbean, but the added flight expense
is offset by the reasonable pricing for your accommodation and diving. I've
spent more on Caribbean trips, and for exotic beauty and pristine diving,
it's hard to beat the South Pacific. Although I spent more than thirty
hours traveling each way, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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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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