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Dive Review of Niue Dive/Matavai Resort in
Niue

 
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Niue Dive/Matavai Resort, Feb, 2006,

by Joseph Breivogel, OR, USA . Report 2307.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Hawaii, Australia, Mexico, PNG, etc
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas surge
Water Temp 81 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 140 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the dive guide. Dive your. Turn around at half tank, return to surface at 750. Divers within a group who had more air could remain in water longer.
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 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Boats are 12 ft inflatables - no special provision for cameras (just a big plastic box). Cameras handed passed over by guide after divers rolled back into water. Guide returns to boat first, and assists divers back in. On shore, there is a big fresh water rinse tank. Niue dive will keep your gear and rinse and dry it for you. At hotel the TVs have video (RCA jacks) inputs, so you can review your videos. Voltage is 220, 50 cycles, Australian plug.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Niue is an old upraised coral atoll about 1500 miles NE of New Zealand. I is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of 1500. It is untouristy, relaxed, safe, and clean. It has no significant beaches (high limestone cliffs mostly), no streams or rivers, and no mangroves. I reminds me a bit of Cozumel's west coast - though much more spectacular. Visibility is excellent due to lack of sand and runoff. Access is via a few small harbors - the boats being trailered there and lowered into the water with a small crane. Dive boats themselves are 12 ft inflatables with a hard bottom. I guess they are easier to deal with as launching can be difficult when seas are rough.


The sole dive operator is Niue Dive, run by an Australian couple (ex- Mike Ball staffers), Ann and Ian Franklin. It is next door to the Matavai resort. They have good new equipment to hire, if needed. They use aluminum 80 tanks filled ot 3000 psi. The 2 dives boats are rigid inflatables, holding 4 divers plus Ian or Ann. They have Dan Oxygen kits available, a VHF radio, and a backup outboard motor. The boats are trailered to the put-in (they have 2 or 3 they use), where the boat is lowered into the water. Dive sites are mostly within 5 or 10 minutes, though northern ones can be 20 to 30 min away. Two tank dives of 30-60 minutes each, with 60 minute surface interval are the norm. Surface interval spent in boat where they have water and cookies. You backward roll into the water, and on surfacing, pass up your weights, camera, and get out of your BCD (float the tank, with the guide pulls up into the boat), then haul yourself in on grablines - there is no ladder. This might be an issue for older or heavier divers! Also, there is no diving on Sunday, due to islanders religious laws.

Most of our dives were through coral gullies, swim-throughs, and caves in the limestone formations. As full force ocean waves impact the cliffs, surge can be a problem. Even though Nuie has very little fishing pressure, we did not see any large fish - a few Travelly, 2 reef sharks, and a big Bumphead parrotfish. Only one anenome (with Clown fish) seem. Quite a few Octopus. A few Lionfish, and fair number of Lobsters. Also Blue Ribbon and Spotted Morey eels.

Nuie is notable for its banded sea snakes - they are everywhere, including inside caves where they breed and nest. The snakes are poisonous, but not aggressive, and you can gently handle them. . Some caves have air pockets, that you can surface into. As there is no barrier reef, the island is exposed to the full force of hurricaines, and shallow corals are not abundant. Because the water is exceptionally clear, coral grows deeper whan usual, with very nice plate coral formations below 60 feet.

The premier resort on the Island is Matavai. Is is about 6 miles south of the airport. There are 22 rooms, a few of which are airconditioned (having higher prices). They are clean, fan cooled, with comfortable beds, and have good hot showers and fresh towels daily. The location is spectacular - clifftop, facing west. There is a nice pool, and the restaurant and bar are good, but a bit limited in selections (2 or 3 mains). Rooms have TVs and DVDs can be borrowed from the office. Niue has only 6 hours a day of bradcasting. During low tide, it is possible to walk out on the "Reef" (really a limestone bench) and explore tidepools. Other areas have natural pools to swim in. The resort has mountain bikes to lend (free) and it is possible to explore most of the Island on them.

There are limited other choices of hotels - a motel and a few guesthouses. Also only a few other eating options.

Niue is reached from Auckland on a Friday Air New Zealand 737 flight or tuesday form Samoa on Polynesian Air. Returns are also Fri/Tues.

February (when I visited) is hot (80-85 air, 83 water) and scattered showers. Hurricaines are a possibility. June-Sept would be better weatherwise for Niue, but if you are also visiting New Zealand it would be cold and rainy there. During my week, I got in 4 days of diving, only one of which was really rainy - but the caves were still OK.



Niue Dive [www.dive.nu}
Matavai Resort [matavai@niue.nu]
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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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