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

Matava Resort, Feb, 2003,

by Karen Gordon, Alaska, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 1391.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving All over the Pacific, Caribbean, Australia, Thailand.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 60 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions All divers had to come up at 750 psi. This was lowered to 500 psi later.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Getting to Matava requires an open boat ride of about 45 minutes to an hour. Take your windbreaker/raincoat in case it is raining. If the wind is blowing, the splashing of the boat across the little swells can give you a shower. Still, the ride is lovely, and the multi-hued greens and blues of the water is mesmerizing.

The accommodations at Matava are simple and rustic in the Fijian bure style. The setting is simply lovely, in a jungle-like hillside along a shallow sandy shoreline just inside an offshore island. There is no air conditioning. Don't expect a resort or hotel in the normal sense. Individual bures are scattered along the waterfront and up the hill. Best views are from the highest bures. This is a rustic resort which more than makes up for simplicity of accommodation with personality, charm, and service. The management (Richard, Jeanne, and Adrian) and staff are very attentive and helpful at every turn.

The food is served buffet style for dinner, and family style for breakfast and lunch, is plentiful and a tasty combination of western and Fijian cuisine.

The diving was varied in types of sites, and mostly wasn't more than 20 minutes away. One site delivered several mantas, which they say is a pretty dependable location to see them. The coral has taken a beating from cyclones of late, but still, divers who don't have to have the ultimate in reef quality and contstant big fish action can still find plenty to see. One site to the east of the resort particularly was an absolute fairyland which was a mesmerizing dive I never wanted to end. There was so much variety, and critters abounded at every turn.

Our group was comprised of, except for one person, divemasters and instructors. At first we were told that we needed to come up at 750 psi. Of course we are all used to doing so at 500, so that caused some grief on the part of those who thought they were sufficiently advanced divers to head to the surface at 500 psi.

What further incited some irritation within our group was the insistence of the management to only fill tanks to about 2700 pounds. Having dived on 15 different islands in the Pacific, and all over the Caribbean, this was the only place in my experience that short filled as a matter of practice.

So, coupled with the expectation to come up at 750 psi, and the short filled tanks, we had essentially less than 2000 psi of usable air for each dive we'd traveled 6,000 miles to enjoy. When we asked for more air, we were told that they fill the tanks until they reach 3000 psi hot, according to PSI standards, and when they cool, they have resultingly "less" air. Two of our group are PSI-certified cylinder inspectors, and they knew that the standards being imposed at Matava were much more conservative than actual written PSI standards.

To be fair, one reason Matava short filled tanks was that they are at such a remote site, they don't want to stress their tanks and have to replace them because it is so expensive to get anything to the resort. That is completely understandable.

As it turned out, Matava management was most responsive to our request for more air and increased bottom time. They filled tanks after the day's diving, and in the morning they topped them off to 3000 when cool so we all had full tanks the rest of the time. We were very grateful for Matava being willing to meet our expectations and allow us to dive to our experience levels, matching standards which were actually abided by at other dive locales, including all the other places we dived in Fiji.

Matava is a wonderful, remote getaway where the people will make you feel welcome like family. The food will more than satisfy. And the setting is lovely. If you are ok without air conditioning, and don't mind fairly basic accommodations, this could be the place for you. Throw the diving on top of it all, and you have a fairly inexpensive dive vacation that feeds your soul. You may never want to leave, as some of our group felt when it came time to depart.



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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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