Author Topic: Fiji  (Read 8434 times)

Terry Rickard

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Fiji
« on: July 21, 2008, 04:13:02 UTC »
I'm planning a trip to Fiji in October, staying at Garden Island Resort on Taveuni.  Does anyone have experience with this resort and Rainbow Reef diving?
Terry R

DanR

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 12:16:22 UTC »
Hi Terry,

My wife and I were there earlier this year. 

We went to Taveuni (Garden Island Resort) with our local dive shop
then went on to Viti Levu (Wananavu) with just my wife and I.  This was the end of Feb. beginning of March this year.  I say this to you, primarily cause the two different locations for us, also were very
different socially.

If all the diving at Wananavu could be at the bligh waters, on a live aboard, or you don't mind long boat rides I might choose Viti Levu. However, I would recommend Taveuni  ;D.  Short boat trips, plenty of Fiji
atmosphere, competent dive outfit, nice accommodations, live entertainment every night, and the nicest people you mightever meet in the dining area!  We also went to this area because we heard this
was the "coral capitol of the world", and it is amazing!!! When the sun comes out, the coral is amazing, when it doesn't the coral looks like limp surgical gloves.   If you're travelling the same time of year as us (we went end of Feb. to
early Mar.)  so water temp. was low 80's, both I and my wife were very comfortable in 3mm suits.

BTW:  On several dives there was a strong surface current running
across the first 30' of water.  This was not a problem for those that listened
to the dive briefing, and followed the advice of following the anchor line
down. Other than that, even on those dives, it was fairly easy diving with
descent visibility.  I took over 1000 pictures on this trip.  Hope you
enjoy.  If you think about it, let me know what you decide, and if you go what
you think!

Our experience is roughly 450 dives, OW, AOW, and Nitrox PADI certification.  Been to Red Sea, Palau, Truk, Fiji, everywhere in the Caribbean, and next February Philippines.

Enjoy your trip regardless, and be safe,

-Dan

Dan

In life, you only need two tools - WD-40 and Duct Tape.  If it doesn't move but should, use the WD-40.  If it should not move and does, use the duct tape.

Terry Rickard

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2008, 14:53:03 UTC »
Thanks, Dan.  I'm really glad to hear your good report on the resort, as my wife isn't a scuba diver, so will be relying upon the shore and snorkeling experience.   I'm going in late October, so the water may be a little cooler than in February. 

I just recently (June) spent 10 days aboard Telita diving the northwest side of New Britain Island in Papua New Guinea, which was my first South Pacific dive experience, and it was over the top.  I've been diving for 50 years in FL, the Caribbean, California and Hawaii, and none of these can compare.  I'm hoping Fiji will be as delightful as PNG.  I'll let you know upon our return.
Terry R

DanR

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 15:11:40 UTC »
Hi Terry,

You won't be disappointed, so long as the weather cooperates.  I'd dig into the snorkeling and shore diving - I don't recall anyone doing either.  We did do a night dive but that too was on a boat.  I loved the messages and the pool/bar area.

-Dan
Dan

In life, you only need two tools - WD-40 and Duct Tape.  If it doesn't move but should, use the WD-40.  If it should not move and does, use the duct tape.

dbono

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 20:51:35 UTC »
FWIW, I agree with DanR.  It's been quite a few years ago now, but I did a trip on the Naia and then bummed around to the different islands to enjoy Fiji for a while longer.  Garden Island on Taveuni was a great place to stay, and Rainbow Reef Divers was terrific.  Excellent dive master showing off some terrific little critters, and the soft coral all around was an amazing display.

Dane Foucher

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 23:00:56 UTC »
I have been to Garden Island Resort several times.  Enjoyed it very much.  It is a no frills (was a motel years ago) resort, but it is clean and well maintained and you will love the people there.  Every evening, they have some of the staff "entertain" with music, sing along in the dining room......  Followed by Kava.  Make sure you partake in this (don't be turned off just because it looks like mud) as it is a great cultural experience.  If you show the slightest interest in their culture, they will go overboard with excitement to explain why and how they do things.  Its great fun and you will quickly have good friends in Fiji.  Your non-diving spouse will have to go elsewhere to snorkel, as there is not, to my knowledge, any protected area near the resort.  It is located right on the Somosomo Strait which gets the tidal flow current 4 times a day.  That is why it is so good to dive (ie. soft corals).

Taveuni is without a doubt the most beautiful island (I have been 5 of them).  Make sure you take in one or more of the beautiful waterfalls on the island.  The closest and easiest is the Boumba Falls and there are several more that are a little more intense, but worth your while for sure.  Also, a short walk from the resort is a natural "water slide", which is really just a small brook with worn rocks that you can jump in and tumble down the river so to speak. Everywhere you go, you will be sure to be greeted by kids and adults alike with their "BULA BULA" (greeting) and a friendly wave. I know of no other place like it.  And when you leave, they sing you a song that will bring tears to your eyes.  You'll be going back again.

ktdiveloco

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 03:20:21 UTC »
Well ... I was going to write this amazing, glowing report about Garden Island, etc. ... but Dane beat me to it!  It is a great place to go and is our second favorite place in Fiji.  We've been to Garden Island three times and to Fiji five times. 

I'll just add a couple of thoughts:
The water slide ... you must go on a Saturday or Sunday when the local kids are there.  And you must try it!!  You'll think it's crazy and that you'll kill yourself if you do it ... I promise you, it isn't crazy and most likely, you won't die.  It's awesome fun and the kids help you do it!  My husband even did it in a surfer style.  A must do for the semi-athletically inclined!  (My husband did wear the material out on the ass of his swimsuit, so something you don't mind leaving behind is recommended).

Do sit around the singing circle at night and partake of the Kava.  You'll be family.  And don't be shy about accepting an invitation to someone's home.  If they make it, take them up on it!

Have fun!  We always do!
KT

Terry Rickard

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 13:08:56 UTC »
Thanks to all for the great info and recommendations!  This is sounding more and more like a really good choice of trips.  I'm told you can kayak from the resort over to a small island where the snorkeling and shell collecting is fabulous.  Has anyone done this excursion?
Terry R

ktdiveloco

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 15:47:02 UTC »
yes, my husband and I did this the first time we went on our first day at the resort.  It was a good excursion and we did some snorkeling at the little island.  I don't remember the shelling, I do remember that nearly every place we've been in Fiji has tons of shells on the beach.

By the way, there are a couple of waterfalls further away from the resort that can be nice long hikes to amazing swimming holes/waterfalls.  We've done them all and feel they are worth the time.

Have fun!  Wish I were coming!
KT

deepsix2

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2008, 23:42:30 UTC »
Had a great time on Fiji Aggressor II in 2006. Captain Ned was great and the rest of the crew was first rate. Have not dived Taveuni but heard good stuff about it. Hard to go wrong in Fiji.

aquacat

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2008, 17:06:59 UTC »
Bula Terry!

Just read all the comments in reply to your upcoming trip to the Garden Island Resort on Taveuni. They're all spot on. I don't have alot to add to it but feel free to pick my brain for more info regarding things to do and weather.

I was the Dive Operations manager at Qamea and later at Fiji Forbes Laucala from May 1996 to December 2000 and would dive over on Taveuni (many times with Rainbow Reef Divers at the Garden Island Resort) on my days off. Knew all the folks there. I returned to Fiji in 2006 and you can read my comments in the Chapbook.

Ben Davison and his wife are good friends of mine and they stayed and dived with me on Qamea back in '97.

You'll enjoy the diving and the non-diving excursions. Be sure to partake in drinking a few bilos of kava and you'll endear yourself to the Fijians. They're wonderful people.

Have a great trip!

Bula vinaka,

Kerwin (Aquacat)

reveleth

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2008, 15:03:22 UTC »
We were in Fiji for 3 weeks in October, 2008 and had reservations for 9 nights at Garden Island Resort.  Two weeks before leaving on our trip, we were notified the resort had been sold and now closed for refurbishing.  Our travel agent was able to scramble and get us into Paradise Taveuni.  Having stayed at Garden Island Resort 15 years ago, we have some knowledge of comparison and Paradise Taveuni is heads and shoulders above Garden Island Resort -- in fact they aren't even in the same ballpark.  Paradise Taveuni has 10 bures situated on beautiful oceanfront grounds, a house reef, dive operation on site, pool, wonderful food, and incredibly friendly people.  We were very happy Garden Island Resort shut down and we "had" to move to Paradise Taveuni.  Another bonus is having access to two reefs -- Vuna Reef and Rainbow Reef.  No other dive operation dives Vuna Reef and although we think Rainbow Reef has more beauty, it was nice having an alternative dive area when weather made diving at Rainbow Reef difficult.

Fijidiving

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2009, 01:34:28 UTC »
Bula!
It is good to read comments on the Taveuni area.     Just to fill those readers in on what is happening at Garden Island Resort.    We closed for a MAJOR remodel and refurbishment middle of October and will reopen on the 15th Feb. 2009.    Our Garden Ocean View rooms all have outdoor Spa's and our upstairs Ocean View rooms have a balcony overlooking the SomoSomo Straits.   Totally remodelled bathrooms, new airconditioners, new furniture, new linens; just fabulous!....Our Dive boats have had the back platform re-fabricated and new seats fitted.   So, 2009 definitely is the time to come and experience our 5* diving, cach up with our 5* staff, and experience our totally new rooms, conference centre, dining, lounge, boutique.......AND, if you are thinking of 'tying' the knot the Plantation Villa offers a wedding 'bure' location that is breathtaking!

ScubaBum

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2009, 18:21:52 UTC »
I just returned from a 5 weeks stay on Taveuni.  The Garden Island Resort is closed at the moment.

Fijidiving

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2009, 06:03:48 UTC »
 ::)...Bula from Garden Island and Garden Island Resort.    Today is the 11th March and we are in the final stages getting ready to open for our first group due to arrive on 21st March.

We have been closed since the 10th October 2008 for MAJOR refit and remodel.

Our opening was delayed as the flooding in January in Nadi and Labasa caused damage to our contractors workshop, and delayed the delivery of items required to complete the renovations.

pajJ0

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2009, 08:20:26 UTC »
Hi Terry - I stayed at Garden Island a couple of years ago - prior to the recent renovations so I can't comment on the resort as it is now, but the diving was world class - if you go, ask the divemaster to take you to a place called "Annies Bommie" - a large coral head covered by numerous soft corals, it practically glows with colour when any sort of current is running.  A site called "The Ledge" was similarly spectacular as a night dive.  I thought both of these were better than the Great White Wall which is supposed to be the premier dive site.
There was current to some degree on most dives but only only on 1 dive was it challenging in any way.
The resort did offer snorkelling trips to a small island in the straight. Topside scenery was pretty good.   

Terry Rickard

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Re: Fiji
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2009, 13:20:52 UTC »
All, I appreciate the feedback I've received re Fiji diving.  I was unable to make the trip originally planned for last October, but will definitely be going this October and staying at the Beqa Lagoon Resort.  I would enjoy hearing from those of you who are familiar with this resort and the surrounding diving.
Terry R

 

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