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Dive Review of Tiliva Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Kadavu

Tiliva Resort, Jul, 2004,

by Jan Arabas, MA, USA . Report 1172.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Diving:Hawaii (Kuaii and the big island), Bonaire, Roatan, British Virgin Islands
Snorkling: Curacao, Eluethra, St. Lucia, St. John, USVI
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 74 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 70 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Our dive master tailored our dives according to our wishes and what was safe given tides and currents.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Diving on Kandavu is an amazing experience-the island is a short flight from Viti Levu but a world away. Emerald green mountains rise up out of the sea--there are no roads and at night no artificial lights on neighboring hills. Everyone gets around by boat and lives in sync with the rhythym of sunrise and sunset and the tides.

We stayed at Tiliva Resort on the far eastern tip of Kadavu- a 15 minute boat ride from the Astrolabe Reef. The Astrolabe is incredible- luxurious, healthy coral encrusting every surface as far as the eye can see. A beautiful mix of soft and hard corals, sea squirts, crinoids, anemones and sponges and tons of fish made for a dizzing experience on every dive- I didn't know where to look. Some highlights included White tip, and Grey Reef sharks on every dive, turtles almost every time, a curious 3 foot long Remora that followed us for an entire dive and the largest Moray Eel we have ever seen- it's head was a big as mine and it must have been at least 6 feet long. This was our first trip to Fiji, so we loved meeting Blue Ribbon Eels, Lionfish, enormous groupers- one at least 5 feet tail to tip, schools of barracuda and trevally, and pretty blue and gold Fusilers, Giant Clams everywhere, lots of unusual, brightly colored Nudibranchs, and clouds of purple and gold Anthias. Some other unusual fish ( for us) included Blackfin Dartfish, the many lovely butterfly and banner fish ( I loved the Pennant and Regal varieties), Bumphead Parrotfish, and Tobies- a variety of pufferfish. I couldn't get enough of the many different anemone fish, which cuddled coyly amungst the anemone tentacles or charged bravely out to confront us if we hovered close by. There were also many wrasses, damsels, angels, surgeons, trout, snappers, parrotfish, filefish, groupers and hinds, cleaning stations, picasso and triggerfish, six kinds of star fish, brittle stars, cowries, scallops, oysters- I could go on and on.

The dive sites are so pristine that many don't have names. Our favorite places were the north and south side of Naigoro Pass and Alacrity Rocks. The pass is a drift dive and exactly where we began and ended depended on the current. Alacrity Rocks offers many beautiful swim throughs encrusted with delicate lace corals in soft, glowing blues, purples, yellows and whites.

Tiliva's dive master, Filipe O'Connor, is the best dive master we have ever had. He tailored each dive to meet our wishes, and at the same time gave us a very safe and enjoyable experience. For our first three days we were the only divers and enjoyed complete freedom to dive when and where we wished (given tides and currents). Most of the time we just followed Filipe because he knows how to find the good stuff- like a hole in the rock with two fairy and three bumblebee shrimp or a coral head with eight different colors of soft coral. At the end of our week two other divers joined us on the well- equipted boat (oxygen, first aid kit, radio phones, etc.). We never saw another dive boat the entire week- we had the entire reef to ourselves. Surface intervals were on a lovely, pristine beach with fresh tropical fruit. I found two large and undamaged Chambered Nautilus shells washed up on the beach our first day. While the boat we used was comfortable and safe- entry by back roll- the resort is about to take delivery of a brand new, custom designed boat with platforms.

Tiliva Resort is a wonder. The owners, Kemu and Barbara, will do anything to make you happy and comfortable. The 5 bures are airy and comfortable, with queen beds, giant showers, lovely tile floors and breezy covered porches offering comfortable chairs perched in the tree tops. Meals are taken in the main house on a lovely porch for breakfast and lunch and inside for dinner. Plentiful food ranged from very good to outstanding. Breakfast always included fresh fruit and juice, cereal, a hot entree (eggs, sausages, crepes, Johnie Cakes) coffee, tea and toast. Lunch featured a lovely fresh mixed salad and hot dish. Dinner included steak, seafood and one night a whole roast pig and stuffed roasted chickens. My favorites included a kind of Fijian cerviche- out of this world- fresh red snapper, a fantastic stir fry and amazing chocolate cake.

Besides diving you can relax on the beautiful beach with a view to magestic Ono Island, paddle the kayaks to visit deserted neighboring beaches, hire a boatman to take you out snorkeling, take a guided walk to a waterfall or to see the irridescent red, green and blue Kadavu Monk Parrot or have a guided tour of medicinal plants with the local medicine man. In the evenings, there are games in the main house or Kemu will mix you a drink or serve you a cold Fiji bitter and talk about life. We made fast friends with the New Zealanders who were also staying at the resort and enjoyed long talks about life, many hands of cards and lots of joke trading sessions.

A highlight of our trip was a visit to the neighboring village. First Filipe escorted us to the school where the young students shared stories and songs with us. Later Kemu, who was born in the village, accompanied us to a traditional Kava ceremony with wonderful singing. We felt like family rather than tourists.

There are some things to know before you go- there are no TV's, telephones in the rooms, shopping centers or nightclubs. If you need crowds, noise, high- tech amusements, etc. you probubly won't be happy at Tiliva. I would go back in an instant. There is so much reef to see and many more wonderful conversations to have with Filipe, Barbara and Kemu.
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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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