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Dive Review of Ra Divers/Volivoli Beach Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Bligh Waters, Rakiraki

Ra Divers/Volivoli Beach Resort, Feb, 2011,

by Scuba World Sacramento,, CA, US ( 1 report). Report 6005.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand, PNG, Palau, Truk, Yap, Philippines, Red Sea, Thailand, Tahiti, Cozumel, Belize, Bay Islands, Honduras, Caymans, La Paz, Galapagos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Ra Divers does not set depth or bottom limits. Only diver's ability limits dive depth and time.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Each boat has "camera only" rinse tanks, but no camera tables.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments February, 2011, we took a group of 41 people: 37 divers, 4 non-divers to stay at Volivoli Beach Resort and dive with Ra Divers. We had peviously been to the resort with 22 of us in 2009 so we knew what to expect. Around seven years ago, the Darling Family, New Zealand Kiwi's: Steve,Sr., Gail, Stevie and Nick bought Ra Divers and 20 acres of surrounding property located on the beach and coastline of Bligh Waters at the northern tip of the island of Viti Levu. Their vision was to expand Ra Divers into a dedicated dive resort that would meet the level of accommodation, food and service the US diver has come to expect when diving, land-based in Fiji.

With the grand opening this February of their new hotel wing that offers nine hillside, oceanview, Deluxe rooms best suited for twin share dive buddies, added to the 10 private, freestanding hillside, oceanview Villas best suited for couples built the end of 2009, Volivoli Beach Resort/Ra Divers has accomplished their goal. Their intention is to provide a certain level of resort luxury and culteral activites at an affordable price without sacrificing their focus on diving and dive training as their main activity. No weddings here, please.

The minute we arrived until our departure 10 days later, each person in our group learned what it is like to stay and dive at a resort that is owned and operated by a family who has deep love for their resort and wants everyone to feel the same as they feel about the beauty at Volivoli Beach, the Fijians, Fiji and most of all experience diving Bligh Waters and Vatu-I-Ra Passage.

The beautiful new restaurant/bar that overlooks the pool/swimup pool bar and ocean, served up really good meals cooked fresh to order off the menu which does take awhile so don't be in a hurry to get your food. Don't expect goument presentations here either. Just good, wholesome food of gigantic proportions with a definite New Zealand influence. Try the Volivoli Burger... What anyone who has traveled to other resorts in Fiji appreciated on our trip was the fact that at VBR, as long as there are people in the restaurant and bar, they are open. No waiting for the divers on the other dive boat to return for the restaurant to open up. The cook and meal service staff are always there to take your food or drink order with a first name greeting and a gigantic Fijian smile.

When you aren't diving, sleeping, sun bathing, eating or drinking, you can take advantage of the cultural excursions available at VBR that include a Rakiraki area tour, native village visit, horseback riding and more. For our group, VBR in advance organized and arranged an Aqua-Trek,Pacific Harbor Shark Dive Excursion Day on the other side of the island for the 25 of us who were willing to give up one VBR dive day in our package to experience the famous Beqa Lagoon Shark Dive. It was a very long day but it was worth it.

And what about the diving and dive service at VBR? As of May 31, 2011 Ra Divers will cease dive services to Wananvu Beach Resort, concentrating exclusively on providing dive services to their own resort guests. If you want to dive with Ra Divers, you need to book in to stay at Volivoli Beach Resort.

After our initial day of check-out dives and diver skill evaluation, we were treated to Vatu-I-Ra Passage diving every day. Our package was for the standard daily 2-tank boat dives for 8 days, returning to the resort around noon or 1:00pm. There is no need to do a 3-tank dive day in order to dive the Passage dive sites if there are 6 or more divers on your boat. After May 31, if you aren't part of a large group, no worries. If there are less than 6, you need to purchase a 3rd-tank boat dive day ($55USD) returning to the resort around 4:00pm. If you are willing to pay for that 3rd tank, no more having to scrounge up another 5 divers in order to dive the sites in the Passage.

Due to the time of year, over our 10-night stay and 8 days of diving, our group experienced weather and water condtions that ran the gambit. The first couple of days, we got the outer bands of a cyclone centered in Vanuatu with accompanying rough seas. The rest of the week, sunny with occational rain showers and a two foot wind chop. Even with rain, the visibilty was always excellent usually exceding 100 feet. The Bligh Waters offer the best diving in Fiji. Because the passage has reliable currents, this is the "Soft Coral Capital of the World"! The currents also bring in the fish life. We saw many sharks like Black Tips, Ocean and Reef White Tips, Gray Reef, Lemons, and occational Bull Sharks. All your "Tropicals" are also there like Angel, butterfly, anemone fish. Over head there are always schools of Yellow Fin Tuna and Trevally. In the coral you will find mnay types of eels, shrimps and octopus.

The dive crew at Ra Divers is very professional and knows the dive sites like the back of their hand. There was a dive briefing before every dive describing the site, depth you will be diving, and the current conditions. On occasion when divers had a hard time climbing the ladder, the Divermasters were IN THE WATER to help. The two main dive boats were custom build to meet the local dive conditions. All boats have VFR radios, GPS, first aid equipment, life jackets, and Oxygen units on board. Our group maxed out Ra Divers capacity but none of us felt crowded on their boats. Each of their two large boats are designed so that nothing like stairs, etc. takes up space. Every inch is available for the diver and his gear. All dives were done on air but Nitrox is coming soon.

We will return to VBR/Ra Divers next year and the next and...

We made our reservations through VBR USA SALES, dive@volivoliresort.com
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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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