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Dive Review of Matangi Island Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Matangi

October, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Kerwin Louis, HI, U.S.A. (1 report)
Report Number 3646
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Over 3000 dives from California, Caribbean,Belize, Mexico, Australia, New
Zealand, Papua New Guinea and many islands in the South Pacific. Currently
living and diving in Hawaii.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, surge  
Water Temp
78   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Able to dive own profile with computers. No time limits but I knew that
depth limit is 130'.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 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):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
First trip back to Fiji since the coup of 2000 ended my job as dive
operations manager of Fiji Forbes Laucala. We stayed for two weeks on the
neighboring island of Matangi owned by Noel & Flo Douglas and managed
by daughter, Christene. The bures are roomy and very comfortable with
meticulous attention to detail. The food is impressive; the presentation,
quality and service from the wonderfully friendly staff that will rival any
fine dining restaurant in the States. A new, larger dining bure was under
construction during our visit and should be finished by now. 

A worthwhile but tough two hour hike along the rim of Matangi will reward
you with stunning panoramic views of the neighboring islands of Taveuni,
Qamea and Laucala. Since Matangi is a crescent shaped island, theres a
horseshoe bay with a secluded white sand beach and the only access is to be
dropped off by boat or paddling by kayak.  A picnic lunch with wine or
champagne will be provided if requested. If youve ever fantasized about
strolling au naturel with your honey on a tropical beach in total
isolation, this is the beach! Side trips to Bouma Falls on Taveuni and a
village tour on Qamea shouldnt be missed.

Since the closure of Fiji Forbes Laucala, Matangi is the only dive operator
that dive the sites east of Laucala. Although capable of handling large
dive groups, the largest amount of divers during our visit was six. The
dive guides are former employees of Laucala, Iowani Baleicolo, a.k.a. Bale,
one of the few licensed Fijian boat skippers in the north and Ratu Joe
Cakobau who is a direct descendent of arguably the most famous chief in
Fijian history. Both graciously deferred to re-visiting some of my favorite
dive sites. All diving is drift diving and both Bale & Ratu Joe know
which sites to dive when the current is most favorable to seeing the soft
corals at full bloom. 

Our first dive was the Yellow Wall (always my personal favorite) just east
of Laucala. Upon descending along a sheer vertical drop off I knew we hit
this site spot on as the entire wall was an explosion of yellow soft
corals. This definitely rivals the more famous Great White Wall in the
Somosomo straits between Taveuni and Vanua Levu. Wow! Other sites were
Noels Wall where near the end of the dive, the large school of chevron
barracuda still congregate off the drop off and if you move slowly, you can
hover while the entire school slowly encircle you. White tip reef sharks
appeared on almost every dive but the treat was to see the occasional gray
reef or black tip sharks patrolling off the walls or eagle rays and turtles
which we saw at The Corner (Franks Place) along with the many large
camouflage groupers that hang out along the top of the reef. Some of the
sites havent recovered from the bleaching in 2000 or sustained damage
during the cyclone of January 2003 but we didnt visit those sites. Others
have come back remarkably. Broken Reef near Matangi was a great shallow
dive where you meander around large bommies of acropora table corals with
blue or white tips. Seven Peaks between Qamea and Taveuni has come back
with large colonies of purple and red soft corals with swarms of purple and
red anthias fluttering in the current on top of the bommies. Stillwaters,
near Qamea Beach Resort is still one of the best for moderately fast
currents but all kinds of visual candy from soft corals, barracudas, white
tips, swarms of smaller tropicals, anemones with anemone fish, flatworms,
etc. In addition to pointing out the larger stuff during a dive, dive guide
Bales best trait is finding the smaller stuff; nudibranchs, and little
shrimp and crabs that hide on the underside of anemones so dont get caught
up in drifting by but slow down and take time to look for the unique
smaller life thats part of every reef.

After our first few dives, my companion, who had previously only dived in
Hawaii, commented, These coral gardens are just like in Finding Nemo! No
wonder you loved it so much here.

The weather was rainy at times and the seas moderately calm but that didnt
prevent us from any of our planned activities. The Douglas family and staff
are very gracious and hospitable hosts. Be sure to pet and say Bula! to
Flo Douglass pet fruit bat, Jonathan!
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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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