Thursday, 31 May 2007

We had a really great time!!!

Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 11:09 PM
Subject: Hello from Shaz and Graz

BULLA from Oz !!!
Hi Guys!
Shaz wrote a little note thanking all the staff and I really wanted to send in an email as well.
We had a really great time!!!
Diving: was always enjoyable and the highlight for me had to be Manta reef!! But Cabbage Patch was pretty good too. Joe and I bonded on a different level. Most of the time we were ribbing /stirring each other which made for lots of laughs. I still can't figure out why nobody would sing along with me in the dive shop.....(perhaps Johnny Cash's biggest hit - "burning ring of fire" just didn't make it to Fiji) Morning tea's between dives were a special time when we got to exchange stories...... or just bomb dive Joe when he wasn't looking. Tay had the unenviable task of trying to snatch a snack from the lunch box whenever Joe was distracted by the conversation.

A big thankyou to Adrian for giving me such a good rate on my dives!! Cheers mate! I'll send a couple of a manta pics when I finish editing them. Don't worry I won't send a big file.

Food: Portions were consistently LARGE, variety was good and the kitchen did their very best to accomodate special requests

Service: Attentive with a sense of humour - Maggie always had a humourous quip to help describe the meal/dish.

Accomodation: Our bure had by far the best view!!! I had to take a pic of our view EVERY morning. The climb up the path was worth every step!

Laundry: Rosie did a great job washing/drying clothes in conditions that were not always "sunny".
A highlight for Sharon was meeting such a diverse mix of people from such different backgrounds. All with their own story/outlook on life.

Christina,Larse and Tristan & Veetis may were our favourites. But Neil, the computer geek that spoke like Clint Eastwood. A self confessed Air-Pig, really surprised other divers by almost doubling his air consumption! Stefan and Sandra were an adventerous young couple so far from home.

Tim and Wendy were lots of fun to dive with especially as they were serious about underwater photography. Phil the IT dude whom did not arise until 11am also was good company at the dinner table.
Sunny or rainy, hot or cool the place was really special! By the end of our stay we were both quite sad to be leaving. We both agree that it's the people that can make a place even more special and testimony to that fact was the fact that we both left with heavy hearts having made lots of friends while we were at Matava Resort.
Please say BULA to everyone for us !!!

...and tell Joe I said he's a shockin' boat driver too... (just kiddin)
Graham and Sharon.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Whales & Dolphins (Smithsonian Handbooks)

A beautifully illustrated guide to every species of whale, dolphin and porpoise. Covers their identification, evolution, biology, behaviour, reproduction and social lives. Includes tips on how and where to watch whales, dolphins and porpoises, and information on their conservation.

From the great illustrations and quick-reference title bar that includes taxonomic, habitat and population information, to the range maps and behavioral information, this book was such a steal. I received this book shortly before starting cetacean surveys in the south pacific and it was an incredible source of information. I have used many field guides and, although I never tested its 'water-proofness", it is simultaneously concise yet complete. It not only gives identification keys for individual species, but also keys to identifying individual animals. If you are a teacher, student, biologist or enthusiast, get it, wherever you are in the world.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Final Thoughts: A discussion on diving and air consumption

I have discussed 13 aspects of our sport where I believe you can make a difference in your air consumption. Some may only yield tiny results, some larger or none at all. I am convinced however that if you are concerned about high air usage and address all of these areas you will see a continued and significant improvement.

I hope that divers reading this will have their own views and other suggestions that I have missed – it would be great to hear your comments.

This is where we come full circle in the discussion on improving your air consumption underwater. Diving is like many sports, the more you do, the better you get at it and the easier it all becomes.

As things become second nature you can relax your body and mind allowing you to take full advantage of the air that you take underwater with you in your tank.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Coral Reef Fishes (Indo Pacific and Caribbean) – Edward Liesk and Robert Myers

Edward Liesk and Robert Myers
ISBN 0-00-711111-8

  • small and very handy to use
  • extremely detailed list of species, descriptions and habitats.
  • This book uses illustrations rather than photos which highlight the species differences very well

Monday, 21 May 2007

Matava is an eco adventure getaway

Matava is an eco adventure getaway offering you a fun and unique blend of cultural experiences and adventure activities in the environmentally pristine and remote island of Kadavu in Fiji.

Experience the true underwater beauty of Fiji with Matava Resort. You’ll benefit from our exclusivity because you’ll hardly ever see another diveboat! You’ll also be able to explore all of the diverse passages and outer reef sites the Great Astrolabe Reef has to offer. The hard corals are stunning, the fish diversity is enormous and encounters with pelagics and sharks are the norm rather than the exception. Of course, The Manta Dive is a must! Dive with us and our PADI dive professionals will ensure you have a fun and an unforgettable diving holiday.

Kadavu lived up to it’s reputation as one of the best dive areas in Fiji

From: Ian Cumming

Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 4:40 PM

Bula Jeanie,

Just a quick message to say thanks for having me and the dive at the pass was great, in fact Kadavu lived up to it’s reputation as one of the best dive areas in Fiji and just about anywhere else actually.

Look forward to catching up soon and say hi to all please.

All the best


Ian Cumming

Regional Manager


PADI Asia Pacific

The Way the World Learns to Dive®

Unit 3, 4 Skyline Place

Frenchs Forest NSW 2086



61 2 9454 2821 Ext: 821


61 2 9454 2999


0438 644 456 (Australia)


021 618 025 (New Zealand)

Mob: 9355591 (Fiji)

Visit PADI:

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Part 11: A discussion on diving and air consumption: Photography

Well what about it?’ I hear you ask.

And my answer may be unpopular with a lot of people. In my opinion most divers take cameras into the water before they have sufficiently honed their diving skills. Destruction of the reefs aside (as out of control diver/photographers crash into it) this is a discussion on air consumption.

A camera is another piece of gear to cope with. It causes drag, is a distraction and can task load someone who still has skills such as buoyancy to master. All of these factors will cause an increase in air consumption.

With the revolution in digital cameras and housings, underwater photography is within reach of many divers and of course it is great fun. If you are concerned about your air consumption and dive with a camera, do an experiment. Leave the camera on the boat for 1 dive and see if it makes a significant difference. If so (and I believe even the most experienced photographers use more air when taking photos than diving without a camera) you have a simple decision to make – enjoy the fun of photography or enjoy extra dive time.

In time you will be able to do both but maybe leave the camera behind sometimes so you can hone your diving skills.

Of course that’s going to be the dive when you bump into a school of hammerheads, 20 mantas………..

Friday, 11 May 2007

Indo Pacific – CORAL REEF – Field Guide – Gerald R. Allen / Roger Steene

Gerald R. Allen / Roger Steene
ISBN 981-00-5687-7

This book covers not just fish but the full spectrum of underwater natural history.
As a field guide it is not detailed and is for use as a quick photo reference.
The great thing is that the pages are water resistant so you can take it out on the boat or kayak for instant reference

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Establish a Global Ban on Shark Finning

Petition Target: Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General

It's too barbaric to imagine, but it still happens. Fishermen catch a shark, slice off its fins, and then, cast it back into the water to die. This horrific practice is already prohibited in federal waters of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Carribbean, but sharks need more protection from finning and other threats.

Your signature can encourage all countries to prepare and implement plans for shark conservation and management as recommended by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

This petition also implores these nations to ban the cruel, wasteful and destructive practice of shark finning in local and international waters. This practice wastes 95-99% of the animal and makes proper management extremely difficult.

Sharks play a critical role in ocean ecosystems. Their numbers are beginning to dwindle. Please help them today!!

Sign Now to encourage Ban Ki-Moon and the UN General Assembly to take action immediately to protect the shark populations across the globe and stop shark finning

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Reef Fish Identification (Tropical Pacific)

Gerald Allen / Roger Steene / Paul Humann / Ned Deloach
ISBN 1-878348-36-1

  • This book is packed full of great photographs
  • covers a detailed list of species
  • More for photo id than detailed descriptions but it has shows juvenile and variations better than probably any other book

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Part 13: A discussion on diving and air consumption: Breathing techniques

Note how far down the list I have put breathing techniques and this is the one people feel holds the magic answer. I firmly believe that if you address all the previously discussed headings, relax and get the basics right, you will see an improvement in your air consumption.

Again, yoga teaches breathing techniques as part of relaxation and there are some things you can try underwater. It is widely accepted that in diving, breathing should be slow and deliberate (as in yoga) using the full normal range of the lungs. I and others have found that reversing your normal pattern of breathing can really help you use air more efficiently hence conserving it.

At rest, your normal breathing pattern will be; breathe in, breath straight out, pause with empty lungs for second or 2 and then repeat.

Try reversing this by breathing in slowly, pausing at the top of the breath, breathing out slowly then immediately in slowly again with no pause at the bottom of the breath. I find I adopt this pattern automatically when diving – try it and see if it works for you.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Fiji’s Natural Heritage – Paddy Ryan

Paddy Ryan
ISBN 0-908988-14-1

  • A superb coffee table reference book on Fiji’s natural history
  • both marine and terrestrial