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Dive Review of Kai Viti Divers/Wananavu Beach Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Rakiraki

Kai Viti Divers/Wananavu Beach Resort, Sep, 2005,

by Stephanie Knott, CA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2118.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This is perhaps the best diving we have done, including five other trips to Fiji in the last six years. The condition of the reefs, fish population, and dive operation combined to give us great dives. We highly recommend Kai Viti and the diving in this part of Fiji. First, Mike Trussel runs a terrific dive operation. He has a dive staff of three experienced Fijian natives who provided excellent dive briefings, led the dives, and located a variety of hidden treasures. Second, Mike is extremely organized, easy going, and safety-conscious. He has two large boats; both have heads, and apparently one (not the one we used) also has a shower. The one we used, the Adi Nunu, was very comfortable and could handle 16-18 divers, but in our week of dives, there were only 4-12 divers. There was ample covered seating space, lots of places to stow gear, separate fresh water tubs for masks and cameras, and dry areas for sensitive gear. Snacks (e.g., fresh pineapple or chocolate cake) and drinks (water and hot chocolate) were served in between dives. Amazingly, there was no hint of diesel fumes even when the boat went in reverse. We asked Mike about that and he said it is just a matter of keeping the boat tuned up. He is a professional. Kai Viti divers picked up our gear from our bure, had it waiting when we stepped onto the boat, and rinsed and stored it between dive days. They returned our clean and dry gear to us in our bure on the day before our departure. Mike made minor repairs to our regs and rented us (at a quite reasonable price) a dive computer when one of ours went out after the second day. His dive shop and boats are a three-minute walk from the resort.

For two-tank dive days, the boat left at 8 AM and returned at either 12:30 or 1:30, depending on travel time. There are two general dive locations that we experienced, and both were very good. The choice of location is up to Mike and depends on tides and sea conditions. The inner reef is about a 20 minute ride. The outer reef is about an hour out. We had great conditions in both locations, although the outer sites generally had better visibility. On one dive on the inner reef (Breathtaker), we had 100-foot visibility and saw six cruising sharks at once, along with schooling barracuda and corals (hard and soft) in wonderful condition among many, many fish. The outer reef had a bit more current, but nothing extreme, and more consistently had a wider variety of sea life. We were fortunate to have mild seas that varied between lake-like conditions and <1-meter swells. We were there during the full moon, when apparently the currents are stronger, but despite prior reports about current, they were really not very strong. The exception was on one dive that was done as a drift dive, when we were dropped off on the up-current side of a bommie and picked up on the current-free, down-current side.

The fish life was very good. Clouds of anthias at the safety stops almost obscured the reef. We saw a few turtles, which we hadn’t seen before in Fiji. On one dive, we requested ghost pipefish (which we’d never seen), and dive guide Bola found us one!

Wananavu Resort has been renovated and expanded this year, and a few buildings were still being built, although we did not hear construction noise. We stayed in an oceanfront bure that had only recently been built. The room was clean, modern, and comfortable, although much smaller than rooms at three other Fijian resorts we have been to. It had good air conditioning and excellent lighting (it seems that tropical resorts usually have poor reading lights) but not much charm. The room had a small stocked refrigerator and the resort provided a bottle of drinking (rain) water, which we brought to the dining room to be refilled at least twice per day. The bathroom, however, was very nice: large (¼ the size of the room), double sinks, with a big shower that had a glass wall looking out to a small garden. The resort’s beach was constructed by removing a stretch of mangrove swamp, building a retaining wall, and filling in sand. Beyond the mud flats, the snorkeling was okay but not great. The resort has free open-deck single and double kayaks available and kayaking was enjoyable. Slow internet at a single computer is available at the main building gift shop.

The food at the resort was disappointing and relatively expensive, and the service was patchy. Breakfasts were very good, with eggs cooked to order and a buffet of fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, potatoes, etc. Lunches were like poor cafeteria food, e.g., pizza made with ketchup instead of tomato sauce topped with tasteless cheese, or a “grilled ham, cheese, and tomato sandwich” that consisted of two dried pieces of bread with one slice of ham, processed yellow cheese, and no tomato. The hamburger made one of us ill. However, the kokoda (Fijian ceviche made with coconut milk) was very good, and the salads were fresh (although the dressings weren’t very good). The dinner menus aspired to a bit more sophistication, with sporadic success. The meat was consistently overcooked, more than a couple of times to the point of being inedible. The Fiji Night in which food was slowly prepared in a cooking pit, or lovo, was excellent, with a lot of unusual Fijian and Indian dishes.

Overall, the dive experience was excellent even if the resort was just OK. We highly recommend Kai Viti Divers.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Fiji (Yasawa, Beqa Lagoon), Australia (Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef), Hawaii, Cook Islands, Little Cayman, Cozumel, Saba
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 76-80°F / 24-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 45-100 Ft/ 14-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Guides gave you a max depth (80-100 ft) and all dives were limited to 1 hour.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars 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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