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Dive Review of Matava Eco Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Kadavu Island

June, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Gayle Van Leer, CA, US (1 report)
Report Number 6118
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Mexico, Australia, Thailand, Palau, Fiji, Hawaii, San Diego
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, surge, no currents  
Water Temp
79   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth usually above 80' and dives usually 1 hour.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
3 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  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Camera tub on boats but in the sun. Crew good with camera handling. No
dedicated camera table to work on at the resort but they will set you up on
extra dining table. Charging area used by entire resort not really set up
for drippy cameras and they like to run it only during sunlight hours.
Bring your own adapters and be prepared to claim your plugs.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
Spent a wonderful 9 days at the Matava Eco Resort and would have loved to
stay longer if we could. Although Fiji is better known for its soft corals,
this area of Fiji consists of mostly hard corals. We just had tastes of
soft corals here and there. The hard corals are varied and for the most
part incredibly pristine and healthy which was refreshing to see. There
were not a lot of large schooling fish for the most part, but we did see
sharks on about a quarter of the dives which was not expected. We had
mantas on two dives along with larger tuna types making passes at us on the
outside reefs. There were plenty of other critters to entertain us although
for a nudi file like me, did not find that many but suspect that was
because we did not do that many sites more attractive to them. My best nudi
finds were on the Korolevu Passage dives. 

We did 3 dives most days, 4 a couple of days. Unlimited shore diving is
offered, however because of the extreme tides (we were there on a full
moon), if you dont dive on high tide, you will have a very long hike back
to the dive shack with all your gear on and, ok, that was just way too far
for me.

Our diving was done from either panga like skiffs when there were less
than 4 divers or their very well designed aluminum Dive Me. A new smaller
aluminum boat was to be delivered to the resort the week after we left to
replace the skiffs entirely. If it is as well designed as Dive Me it will
be top notch to dive from. The boat rides to the dive sites were as long as
45 minutes not necessarily because they were far away, but because the
extreme low tides while we were there made for creeping along through gaps
in the reef very slowly an absolute must. The scenery was spectacular so no
one minded. 

The normal is for a two tank morning dive with your surface interval done
on the boat or a nearby beach. Tea, coffee and snacks served. You then are
back to the resort for lunch and a single tank afternoon dive. I think in
the summer they do two tank afternoon dives however not enough daylight for
that at this time of the year down there. 

In 8 days of diving we only ever saw one other dive boat and it only had
two divers, so basically we had miles of reef to ourselves. The visibility
varied depending if you were on the outside or inside of the reef with
outside being maybe as good as 150+ and the inside being more like 30-40
depending on the tides and time of day. Some of the inside dives were my
favorite despite the visibility, but then we are used to 10-20 vis diving
at home (San Diego) so 30-40 is fine with us. The dive sites had good
variety that included sheer walls, sloping reefs, patch reefs and sandy
areas.  The dive crew and boat operators are top notch and leave you alone
to dive pretty much your own profile once they are comfortable with your

About the Resort:
The resort itself is nestled along the southeast side of the island and can
barely been seen from the water blending in so well with the lush natural
beauty of the island. The owners have carefully built the resort to have as
little impact on the land and sea as possible. Most of the electricity is
created by the abundant solar energy of the tropics, which also provides
the hot water for showers in your private and very confortable bure. With
no roads to the resort EVERYTHING is brought in by boat. That in itself
would be a challenge, but additionally deliveries need to be timed by the
tides because of the shallowness of the inside bays. At low tide boats are
sitting in the sand and you will be walking to or from the transfer boats
across sand and sea grass flats. 

Dont think for a minute this is a rustic basic resort. Far from it.
Despite the logistics of supplying the resort, the staff goes beyond being
friendly and caring and dont ask me how such amazing and varied meals came
out of that kitchen. A large garden supplies the majority of veggies served
at the resort with the rest coming from the local village. What a treat
that was. 

If you are looking for a big city fancy resort bar night life this is not
the place for you. The eclectic group of guests from at least 4 different
countries while we were there combined with one of the resort owners,
Richard, and the rest of the staff, made for some fun evenings.

Because that area of Fiji is also world renowned for its deep sea fishing,
the resort has a sports fishing operation as well and about a third of the
guests were serious fishermen. These guys really seem to know how to fish
and this resulted in fresh wahoo and other deep sea fish on the menu
multiple days along with amazing plates of sashimi two nights in a row. Not
a scrap of fish was wasted between the resort and the local village.
Apparently their large bill fishing is usually tag and release.

The beautifully landscaped grounds are filled with flowers that are used
fresh daily all over the resort. The individual buries are very comfortable
with good beds and linens and cooling provided by the tropical breezes.
There is small florescent light in the bathroom and another one in the bure
itself just so you can find your away around. If you want to read at night,
bring a head light and you will need it for walking on moonless nights as
well if you dont have one of the kerosene lanterns you pick up nightly at
the main bure. A ceiling fan would have been nice as some nights the air
just did not move and that made sleeping difficult, however with limited
electricity I understand why they did not have them in each bure. There are
mosquitos about in the evenings so if you are bothered by them come
prepared with long sleeves and pants and some bug repellent. I did not have
a problem but my traveling companion did. You sleep under a mosquito net so
once in bed it is not an issue.

Although we did not do much besides diving, some of the other guests raved
about their village visit, medicine plant walk and going to the waterfalls.
We did do yoga every morning out on the large deck overlooking the bay.
Very inspirational! The resort will supply mats, straps and blocks upon
request. Apparently there has been enough interest that yoga retreats may
be coming soon.  Could not think of a better setting.

On our last day there was a wedding! It was just incredible the job the
staff did led by the very capable Maggie who was in his element attending
to every detail to make it unbelievably romantic and to go off without a
hitch. Flowers from the local area were everywhere and decorating even the
boat that took the bride and groom to a secluded beach laid out for the
ceremony with mats, shade, a full meal and a few hours to themselves
afterwards. When they came back to the resort later in the evening all of
us joined in helping them celebrate with party time Fijian style that
included music, Kava ceremony, dancing and a huge feast of beautifully laid
out food. It was a wedding they will always remember. I dont know how they
managed to go diving the next morning!
The negative of the trip was flying tourist class on Air Pacific where you
are only allowed 50lbs per person and 12lbs in one carryon. You and your
carry on will be weighed for the puddle jumper fight to Kadavu island.
These weight limits are totally impossible for divers. We packed little
more than our dive gear with my gear all being travel friendly very
lightweight equipment and still were hopelessly overweight. We paid $80 in
overweight fees in LA which got us all the way to Kadavu island. On the way
back it was a different story. We were charged just under $40 for the
overweight to Nadi then charged another whopping $100 at check in back to
LA. We had less luggage on the way back so were especially upset with the
airline for this lack of consistency in their charges and felt we were
double charged using that system. They showed no understanding whatsoever
making us feel robbed. This diver unfriendly baggage allowance and
excessive overweight charges will give me cause for pause in my future
travel decisions and I especially cant recommend Air Pacific as a
traveling diver because of it. Airlines like Continental are much more
diver friendly allowing you one extra bag as long as it contains dive gear
only. Hopefully after their merge with United that policy will remain in
place. Our flight was a code share with Air New Zealand and Quantas so it
will be tough to duck Air Pacifics regulations by flying another airline.

Overall a wonderful trip and I would love to go back there again. Probably
go at a different time of year just for the variety and longer daylight
hours so we can dive more!
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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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