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

February, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Karen Gordon, Alaska, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 1391
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
All over the Pacific, Caribbean, Australia, Thailand.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
All divers had to come up at 750 psi.  This was lowered to 500 psi later.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
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

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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