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Dive Review of Beqa Island Divers/Beqa Island Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Beqa island

Beqa Island Divers/Beqa Island Resort, Sep, 2004,

by William Hollister, CA, US . Report 1405.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments [NOTE: I have re-sent this since my first submission mistakenly located Beqa in Dominican Republic instead of Fiji!]

I want to compare my recent dive trip to Beqa Island (pronounced "Benga")in Fiji to two other locations in Fiji where I have dived a few times: Matana Beach Resort/Dive Kadavu on Kadavu island, and Wananavu Resort/Crystal Divers on NaniNui-Ra at the northern tip of Vita Levu. First, the above-water comparison. The Beqa island Resort (formally named Marlin Bay Resort)is a lovely and tranquil facility. The bures (cottages) are large, air conditioned, and well appointed. Each bure has an outside area with a hammock and lounge chairs. The water from the tap is drinkable. The only complaint regarding the bures is the showers: it is difficult (impossible?)to control the water temperature, the temperature seems to change from too cold or too hot, regardless of the controller setting -- everyone seems to share this complaint. The bures at Matana Beach were comfortable, but not as large and well appointed, with no hammocks outside; and the water is not drinkable (they have a small refrigerator in the bure with bottled water). The rooms at Wananavu are more modern (it is more of a western resort than a traditional bure-style Fijian place)and they are very nice. The food at Beqa is excellent, as good as I have ever had at a resort. There are always two choices for each meal. Matana Beach's food is certainly wholesome, but not at all gourmet; it is a weakness of the resort. Wananavu has its own restaurant that serves quite good food. Both Beqa and Matana Beach provide the feeling of a real Fijian experience, where you get to know the (wonderful) local villagers, while Wananavu is more of a western hotel feel. The beach at Beqa was not nearly as nice as we expected: pretty small, with a lot of coral rubble with few areas of nice sand. There are a couple of other nearby beaches acessible by walking or kayyaking, but they are no better. We are shellers, and were very disappointed with the availability and quality of shells on the beaches. Matana Beach has a very nice, large sandy beach in front of it, full of lovely shells. Even better, a nearby beach (by kayyak, also visited during between-dive intervals), Monduli beach, is two miles of gorgeous beauty, where you can be the only footprints on the sand and find world-class shells. Wananavu has no real beach.

The snorkling at Beqa is decent, with a long reef about 50 yards out over the flats with the bottom at around 20-30 feet and the top at 0-3 feet depending on the tide. I saw several pairs of longnose filefish (a first for me), clownfish, lots of small tropicals, some small tridacnas, lots of christmastree worms. The water is typicaly cloudy. Matana Beach has decent snorkling, with a few bommies in close offshore, but not as good or extensive as Beqa. Wananavu has no real snorkling areas.

Now the diving. In general, I was disappointed with the diving in Beqa, partly because my research had suggested "world-class diving". About half of the dives were "ho-hum", and half "that was nice". The dive sites are typically 20-30 minutes by boat. They have three boats, and all are quite nice for diving. Several dives have a lot of current. The bommies have only patches of healthy coral, the locals have overfished to the extent that there are almost no large fish and fewer numbers of smaller tropicals than I have seen elsewhere in Fiji. There is some good soft coral. On the plus side, I saw leaffish and blue ribbon eels on almost every dive. The divemasters do not provide any graphic overview of the dive site in their brief briefings, and they are only mildly attentive to the status of the divers in the water. They let you dive as you want. They are quite good at finding and pointing out interesting critters. The between-dive interval is spent on the boat, with water, koolaid, and cookies available.

The diving at Matana Beach with their house dive operation, Dive Kadavu, is about the same quality as Beqa. The dive sites are generally much closer (5-15 minutes), the between-dive interval is spent on a fantastic beach.

Diving with Crystal Divers out of Wananavu Resort is utterly fantastic. As good as anywhere in the world. Great expanses of healthy coral of countless varieties, with loads of tropical fish, and good amount of larger fish. The recent tragic loss at sea of Dan Grenier, the founder and lead divemaster will certainly have an impact on this operation, so check to see their status. But if they are operating, this is the place to dive in Fiji.

In summary, for us, Beqa was a nice all-around place for a vacation, but we would rather go back to Matana Beach for the beaches, the relaxing, and native experience; or to Wananavu/Crystal Divers for the diving.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Fiji: Kadavu (several times), NaniNui-Ra (several times); Indonesia: Wakatobi, Manado, Lembah Straights; Caribbean: Little Cayman, Bonaire, Gunaja
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 77-79°F / 25-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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