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Dive Review of Madfish Dive/Matava in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Kadavu

Madfish Dive/Matava: "Matava Eco Resort", Nov, 2018,

by Henry O Ziller, CO, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 34 reports with 17 Helpful votes). Report 10797 has 3 Helpful votes.

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 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments FLIGHTS: Denver to LAX on American, partnered with Fiji Airways so bags are checked to Nadi. Fiji Airways from LAX to Nadi then domestic flights on Fiji Link. The flight from Nadi to Kadavu takes about 40 minutes. Kadavu is basically untouched meaning that there are no roads except from the airport to the boat docks and only a few vehicles located there. Luggage and guests are loaded into a truck some in the truck bed and some in the cab for the 5 minute ride to the boat dock. Depending on the tide you may have to walk out in the shallow water to the boat. So make sure you wear shorts and take off your shoes because the mud has pretty good suction. I managed with my sandals but it is probably better without them. Your dive boots would be perfect for this, because you will likely have to walk to shore at the resort depending on the tide, where it is sand, not mud. If you arrive at high tide you just go from the boat to the dock. Your big bags will be carried and you carry your smaller bags. The boat ride takes about 45 minutes and the boat may be open or have a cover. Our ride to the resort was in one of the dive boats and had a cover on the return the boat was open. Have your camera ready as it is a scenic ride.
Matava is an Eco resort and you need to understand this before booking it. Mark built the resort many years ago and then sold it. Mark has recently bought it back and is making some really nice improvements while maintaining it as Eco friendly as possible. A cyclone hit Kadavu in April 2018 so some repairs are still underway but nothing that effects the stay at the resort. An updated sun deck had been completed ocean side and is a great place to watch the sun rise. On the deck is a huge BBQ grill and a wood fired pizza oven.
The pool should now be ready. They were going to fill it December 5th. The pool was dug by hand since there is no motorized equipment here. I canít imagine how they accomplished this feat. The pool is about 16 feet by 30 feet by 6 feet deep. It is spring fed so it will be refreshing after sitting in the hot sun! A very nice addition.
Everything in the bures is solar powered except one outlet and the ceiling fan. They operate when the generator is running approximately from 8 AM to 1 PM then again 7 PM to 11 PM. There is 24/7 power for charging batteries, phones, tablets, etc. in the main lodge. WIFI is available for a fee although we did not see the need for it, after all this is an Eco resort in a very remote place and we get along fine being off the grid. If using a hair dryer is important to you donít come here Ė five minutes of use uses the same amount of power as it takes to run the entire resort for a week. The air temperature is plenty warm to quickly dry even the thickest locks.
The bures all have names and that is how you relate to all charges during your stay. We were all inclusive except for extras like alcohol, shirts, massage, etc. The bures are all quite large and are spread out so everyone has good privacy. The bathroom has a shower sink and toilet and the hot water was always plentiful. It is solar heated. The bure has windows with screens on all four walls and in the bathroom. There is a solar powered light in the center of the room, one in the bathroom and one on the porch. The queen bed was comfortable. There are no drawers just shelving on the nightstands, and there are three hangers in a built-in open closet. There are two chairs and a table in the bure and out on the deck there are two chairs. We were told not to drink the water from the sink. They have water available located in a sink at the main lodge so bring a water bottle to take back to your room at night.
There is an organic garden which means fresh veggies every day. They also have chickens which are caged, but it is a large pen and they move about with plenty of space.
They also have a number of fruit trees. We were about a week too early for the mangos to be ripe but we enjoyed oranges, apples, papaya and bananas.
Mealtimes were announced by the drum, breakfast was around 7:30, lunch was dependent on the dive boat returning from two tank dive and if it was a three tank dive day it was around 1 PM. Dinner was around 7 PM. Happy hour was also announced with the drum at 6 PM. Meals were served family style at two tables that seated about 10 each. There is no assigned seating just sit where you want. Mark usually joins the guests at meals so he is always available to visit with. They will accommodate various food request such as vegan, gluten free, etc. One guest during our stay was gluten free and was happy with her meals. Breakfast always consisted of a couple cereals, (located near the coffee/tea set up.) fruit plates, toast and muffins or some other type of bread (always good), eggs to order and coffee tea or water. Coffee is instant and the hot water is usually ready by 6:30 AM. Lunch always included salad and entrée. There might also be something like tuna salad or egg salad for the bread. Dinner always included salad and sometimes soup and then a main dish of chicken, fish and lamb. We did have a BBQ one night that had pork, chicken and fish, this was a special celebration for the completion of the deck. Desert was always served after dinner. Water was always on the table and you can order drinks of all kinds. Mixed drinks were $16 FD, Fiji beers were $9 FD, and wine was available only by the bottle $42 to $60 FD. They mark the bottle with the name of the bure you are in and keep it in the fridge if white wine or behind the bar if it is red wine. Wines are from New Zealand. A solar powered lantern is usually available to take back to your bure after dinner and work great for reading in bed, but we always carried a flashlight or a phone to light our path.
DIVING: The dive shop is near the dock of course and tanks are filled in the back of the shop using a gasoline powered compressor. There also appeared to be an electric motor compressor used. No nitrox. There is rental equipment and it all appeared to be good. Most guests brought their own. There are a couple rinse tanks at the dive shop and there is a hose to rinse gear. The water is changed daily just before the dive boat returns or after it returns. Everything is loaded onto the boat by staff in the morning but on the return you carry your wetsuit, mask, BC and regulators back to the dive shop. Weight pockets and fins stay on the boat. Generally it is low tide in the morning and you walk out, get on a small boat that takes you to the dive boats. Reverse it on the return. The fast boat is used when going way out to the ends of Astrolabe Reef and it holds about 12 divers. It is powered by a two outboard motors 150 HP each. We used a large catamaran on most dives closer in on the Astrolabe Reef which was all but one day. It also has two 150 HP outboards. Their third boat was damaged by the cyclone in April of this year. Morning two tank dives usually left between 8 and 9 and returned around 1 to 1:30. Surface intervals of one hour were on the boat and the water was always calm during our week stay. Of course in the big catamaran that is about 16 feet wide and 30 feet long it would take some big waves to make it rock. Water did not seem to be plentiful so we always brought some of our own as did many of the other divers. Coffee and tea were also offered during the surface interval or after the diving. Fruit and cookies were also served. Three tank dives were provided with lunch similar to at the resort. Dive sites were 20 minutes to 50 minutes out. Most about 30 minutes. Dives were almost always 80 feet for 10 minutes then 60 feet for 10 minutes then 20 to 40 for 20 minutes and a three minute safety stop at 15 feet. All were drift dives in that there are no moorings. We did usually anchor in a sandy area for surface intervals. I thought that there were fewer fish here than in Vita Levu or Taveuni sites. I did not see the colorful coral either, most appeared to be green with few soft coral. I didnít see many really unusual fish or critters although snorkelers showed us pictures of 5 eagle rays in a picture. There was a school of barracuda and a school of batfish on one dive and of course we did two dives on manta reef where we saw up to three mantas. I was disappointed with one of the divemasters interactions with a manta, pulling the mantas tail and diving right down to land on top of it and chasing one, especially after the other divemaster told us not to chase the mantas, just let them come to you and they did come right over us. I reported the incident to Mark and that divemaster was not on the dive boat again during our stay.
We learned that the nearest recompression chamber is at Auckland, about five hours away. The chamber in Fiji is not operational at this time nor is there anyone to operate it.
Websites Madfish Dive   Matava

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Throughout the Caribbean and Central America, Micronesia, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives, Tanzania, Australia, and Fiji.
Closest Airport Vunisea on Kadavu, Nadi International Getting There Denver to LAX, on to Nadi Fiji then Fiji Link to Kadavu

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 77-78°F / 25-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30-60 Ft/ 9-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Depth 80 feet 45 to 55 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I only use a small point and shoot so I really don't need much in the way of facilities. There was no water bucket on the boat, although I never asked for one. Others did not ask either. No facilities at the resort.
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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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