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Dive Review of Dive Wananavu/Wananavu Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Bligh Waters

Dive Wananavu/Wananavu Resort, Aug, 2012,

by James Castanino, DC, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports). Report 6669.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean (all over), Indonesia, Philippines, New England (US).
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy Seas choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 76 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dives were typically one hour, depending on air consumption. That was plenty of time as we got chilly.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We spent almost two weeks in Fiji, at Wananavu Resort (Raki Raki on Viti Levu, Bligh Waters) and Garden Island (Taveuni).

Diving at both locations was excellent. However, the dive operations were on dramatically different levels, with Dive Wananavu excellent in just about every way and Garden Island with some serious issues (I have reviewed them separately).

We chose Wananavu Resort due to land-based access to the Bligh Waters as well as the beachfront bure accommodations offered.

The resort itself is beautiful and well-maintained. We stayed in a beachfront bure, which was simply furnished but had everything we needed. Our front door opened directly onto the beach and we spent hours relaxing on our porch and in the beach hammocks. No need for AC as we slept every night with screen windows and doors open to the breeze. Our biggest (and probably only) complaint with the room was that the walls are very thin. Each bure contains two units and you can everything next door...

The resort has a nice pool but we never used it as we preferred our porch and the beach. The grounds are immaculate, with tropical plants, garden paths and a beach that is cleaned and raked every morning before sunrise.

The food was pretty good overall, not spectacular, but that's not why you came to Fiji, anyway. They do a pretty good job considering the relatively remote location. Not surprisingly, the seafood is pretty reliable. The "lovo" buffet was a big disappointment, especially since there are no other options that night.

Service in the restaurant/bar is generally good, although somewhat inconsistent. We had the sense that the longer-tenured, more experienced staff was pretty sharp but others seemed a bit out of their element. At the same time, the staff is incredibly friendly and really went out of their way to make us feel welcome. This was also our experience on Taveuni.

The resort offers many activities, day trips, etc. although we did not take advantage as we were diving. We did use the spa and enjoyed it. Very friendly and relaxing.

One tip: Stop at a grocery store well before you get to the resort to pick up water, beer, etc as there is nothing near the resort and you will pay 3x once you are there (although prices are still pretty reasonable by US hotel standards).

The diving in the Bligh Waters was excellent. Beautiful coral formations, abundant small and medium-sized fish and plenty of colorful nudis, sea lettuce, etc. Sharks on every dive, both white tips and a couple nice gray reef sharks. No turtles, rays or any real pelagics. We had the opportunity to sample Sailstone reef (closest to resort), Wheatfields (between resort and the passage) and Vatu I Ra Passage. I preferred the sites at the passage and Wheatfields to those on Sailstone, again based on a small sample size. The density, variety and health of the hard corals the Passage blew me away.

A very nice surprise on our 2nd day of diving was the siting of two whales during our surface interval. The captain did his best to get us close to them so we could snorkel but they were moving too fast. Still an awesome experience.

Viz and current varied significantly from site to site, viz ranged 30-40 ft up to about 75. Water temp 76 deg, wore 3mm full suit plus hooded vest. The wind can pick up quickly as this is offshore diving.

If I had to compare to Rainbow Reef on Taveuni, I would say the coral formations in the Bligh were more dramatic, but perhaps a bit less colorful. Seemed to be more hard corals in the Bligh and more colorful soft corals in Somosomo at Taveuni. Of course this is based on a total of 17 dives, so take it for what it is worth.

Dive Wananavu is a first-class operation, and I cannot say enough about how well we were treated. Managers Jeremy and Kristen went out of their way to put together three wonderful days of diving for us, despite the fact that we were literally the only divers at the resort (most of the place was occupied by a non-diving wedding party during our visit). We had the entire boat to ourselves on two out of three days and there was no drop-off in service as I have experienced at other locations when boats are not full. I had asked to visit the Vatu passage, and they put together a fantastic 3-tank dive on our last day to make this happen, despite the fact that it probably wasn't ideal for them (incidentally, the other divers on our boat were taking a Discover Scuba class. At the Vatu I Ra? Wow. I mean, who does that? What a cool experience for them).

They operate a new, 33-ft. aluminum dive boat. Very comfortable, outfitted with everything you need, including a marine head and all relevant safety equipment (life vests, marine radio, GPS, oxygen, SMBs in the BCDs, etc). Briefings were thorough, professional and informative without being overwhelming. Rental gear appeared brand new and was of high-quality, including air-integrated computer.

Truly a full service operation, with gear waiting for us on the boat, rinsed, set-up, etc. Crew was always helpful without being intrusive. My girlfriend, a newly-certified diver, appreciated their help and attention and this also allowed me to relax and focus on diving and having a good time.

The DMs and captains were very good. Personable and professional and generally fun to be around. I split my time diving with mangers and other DMs; the local DMs are somewhat newly certified and do seem a bit green; over time they will on doubt become more comfortable leading and pointing out critters, etc.

In short, Dive Wananavu is top-notch, fantastic operation that I recommend without reservation. This may sound like a marketing pitch, but we really did have a great time. The combination of the dive op with the resort was great.
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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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