Saturday, 27 December 2008

World Ocean Day

World Ocean Day

8 June is World Ocean Day and you can join Project AWARE Foundation in celebrating our ocean planet and the personal connection divers have to the sea. Conceived in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, World Ocean Day is the perfect opportunity to recognize the importance of the underwater world.

Whether you live at the water’s edge or far from the sea – your everyday actions can affect the 70 percent of the planet covered by water. From the food we eat to the air we breathe, the oceans shape our lives.

The world ocean faces serious threats including over-fishing, pollution and habitat degradation. What can you do this World Ocean Day?

  1. Change Your Perspective – As a diver, think about the escape and adventure the ocean provides. What does it mean to you and how would you like it to be for future generations?
  2. Learn – Discover how you’re connected to the ocean and how it affects your life. Learn about the diversity of the sea and how to protect it.
  3. Change Your Ways – No matter where you live or what you do, your actions are carried downstream. Making small efforts in your home and community contributes to ocean conservation.
  4. Celebrate – Take time to organize or volunteer for environmental events that protect and celebrate the ocean.
  5. Donate– Join the Project AWARE Foundation. Your support helps conserve underwater environments from inland waters to the ocean floor.
World Ocean Day

Friday, 26 December 2008

Going Green Travel » Leaving small footprints in our big world. » Going Green Scuba Diving Tips

Going Green Scuba Diving Tips

Scuba DiverWith the environmental impact of overfishing, dying reefs, heavy metals from industrial pollution, kelp deforestation, and the havoc wreaked by invasive marine species our thoughts turn to the sea. Specifically, we wanted to offer some ways we can enjoy the benefits of scuba diving in the world’s oceans without leaving any further footprints on this most wonderful of natural resources.
Here are our top tips for “going green” scuba diving:

Since there’s no way to travel by plane in a “green” way - the only solution is to offset the carbon emissions caused by your flight. Many companies offer ways to do just that. One we especially like is called Carbon Fund. They offer ways to offset all your carbon emissions from all the different things you do in life (driving your vehicle, electricity for your home, energy used to produce the food you eat - as well as the carbon footprint you create through air travel). The next time you plan a dive trip, contact Carbon Fund to offset your Co2. Your contribution is tax deductible and, best of all, you’ll feel great knowing you’re doing your part to leave small footprints on the planet.

As most of you know, some resorts and hotels do better at being “green” than others. Some think if they have a policy where they don’t necessarily wash your towels every day that they are a “green” resort. We’re certainly happy for any changes resorts and hotels make to help the environment, they’ll have to do more than that to be considered “going green” in our view.

Look for resorts that grow some or all of their own food in an organic garden. This reduces carbon emissions through a reduction in transportation.

Special attention should be paid to resorts and hotels that create some or all of their own energy — ask if they create solar energy or if they have a wind turbine or water wheel.

Ask about the light bulbs — replacing standard bulbs with compact florescent is an inexpensive way resorts and hotels can reduce their energy footprint and begin to go green.

How do they handle their water consumption? Reducing the amount of laundry they wash is great, but it’s only a start. Look for biodegradable soaps and see if they’re recycling their gray water to care for landscaping or vegetable gardens.

Do they recycle and reduce their trash? How do they handle plastic bottles and aluminum cans? Do they use consumable glasses and pitchers in rooms that will wind up in a landfill or do they utilize re-usable items?

Choose local operators who emphasize sustainable dive practices and adhere to a “green” code of conduct. Do your research before you book your trip. The Green Fins program in Thailand is a great example of what to look for. They have a specific code of conduct they require all their affiliated dive operators to adhere to. If every dive operator in the world instituted the same guidelines, we would be well on our way to preserving our ocean’s reef systems.

You already know what to do — so just commit that you’re going to do it. Don’t ever litter the ocean with your junk. No water bottles, plastic cups, wrappers, film canisters, or anything. Make sure you secure all your trash on the boat so it doesn’t blow into the water. If you see any junk in the water during your dive, remove it and throw it away properly. You’ll be creating some good karma for yourself.

Never remove anything from the ocean - period. Take your camera and get pictures of everything that looks cool, but never be tempted to take it with you. First, you’ll be contributing to the destruction of the earth’s reefs and, second, you’ll likely get caught at some point and could end up in real hot water with the local authorities. It’s not worth it. Let your camera “take” photos of whatever you find interesting in the water. Never violate this ethic.
Be careful when splashing around in shallower water. Make sure you stay near the top of the water and never, ever, kick your fins into the delicate reef coral or other marine life. Don’t be a bull in a china shop. Leave the reef the same way you found it — the way the diver before you left it for you.

Okay, that’s it. Get out there and enjoy your next scuba trip knowing that your travel dollars are voting for sustainable travel choices. The more people vote with their dollars — the quicker we’ll see changes in the way the travel industry addresses environmental travel issues.

Going Green Travel » Leaving small footprints in our big world. » Going Green Scuba Diving Tips

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Kadavu recommendations for Honeymoon - ScubaBoard

DIVE SITES – Located on the Great Astrolabe Reef, they’re a 10- to 20-minute boat ride from lots of fascinating dive sites. If the sea is rough, as it was for the first 3 days of our visit, there’s plenty of great diving inside the reef with walls, slopes and plateaus extending well below 100 feet.

My only tropical diving so far has been Cozumel, Costa Rica and French Polynesia, but the coral here tops them all. I was blown away by the profusion of different colors and shapes. And it’s all vibrantly healthy.

There were lots of fish, though we saw only a few really big ones, like a giant grouper and a Napoleon wrasse. There were small white tip reef sharks and some sea turtles. Visibility was 60 feet inside the lagoon and 100+ outside.

Kadavu recommendations for Honeymoon - ScubaBoard

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

1st trip to Fiji and Australia - a few questions.... - ScubaBoard

BTW...I'm trying an eco-resort called Matava on my trip next year. It's very remote-on the island of Kadavu. No electricity, I've heard it described as "a step above camping", but all have said they loved it.

The site is Just thought you might like to check it out. :-)

1st trip to Fiji and Australia - a few questions.... - ScubaBoard

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Diving in Fiji - Kadavu - Matava Resort


"The staff were great, the resort was great, the setting was amazing, and the diving incredible." - Whitney Arnold, USA ...

"Matava has extremely customer friendly diving staff." - Peter and Hana Palacek, United States of America ...

Diving in Fiji - Kadavu - Matava Resort

The Best Hard Corals in Fiji

The Great Astrolabe Reef is still the jewel in the Kadavu diving crown and is a reef now well known among divers throughout the world. The reef is about 100 km long, making it the fourth largest barrier reef in the world. It stretches from the south side of the island near Vunisea, and runs along the south coast before looping around Ono Island and ending off the east coast of the main island. The reef boasts a variety of stunning hard coral outer reef slopes in wonderous colours, and steep soft coral drop-offs. The dive sites here exhibit a tremendous variety with several passages, submerged pinnacles and manta ray cleaning stations adding to the reasons why Kadavu is a great spot for several days diving.

Hard corals dominate the landscape at the Great Astrolabe Reef - photo courtesy of Marcel Widmer

Now, the fringing reefs of Kadavu are becoming as recognised as its barrier reef, and the reputations of Namalata and Tavuki Reefs, along the north coast, are growing in reputation. These are more soft coral pinnacles and great areas for the student or less experienced as conditions can be easy and the sites are varied. South Sea Reef to the south west of the island too, has hard corals and steep walls. Here again the reefs are in prime condition and the numbers and variety of fish life is richly rewarding.

Most of the dives in and around Kadavu are easy to access by short boat ride and see little more than moderate currents. The innumerable bays that lie all around the coast of Kadavu also provide an idyllic setting for sea-kayaking, swimming and snorkelling.

Whatever your standard, however low your boredom threshold is, there is such variety in these dive sites and wonderful untamed reefs and reef-life that you too will join the growing number of divers who think Kadavu has all the elements of a perfect Fiji dive holiday.

Kadavu Diving

Kadavu Island forum: Matava Resort - TripAdvisor

"Went in November 2007 for a week and absolutely loved it.

Once you land it is an hour boat ride to the resort and the boat is very small but the view is spectacular - reminds you of what the first explorers would have seen - so untouched. Maggi welcomes you and takes you to your bure. Most of them do not have electricity but ours had a light in the main area and the bathroom but we never used them.

Anything that needs to plugged in can be done in the office. We dove every day and it was spectacular - my first experience with Manta Rays and there were seven swimming around us - awesome!

We took the meal package and enjoyed eating with everyone and the conversations that took place. Of course had the Kava experience and the Lovo - cooking on rocks.

You are welcome to bring your own alcohol and we brought a box of red wine which they kept for us and served it at dinner. As long as you can handle being without your blackberry and laptop this is the place for you.

We recommended to other friends who went this year in June and also thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the diving."

Kadavu Island forum: Matava Resort - TripAdvisor

Monday, 22 December 2008

Anyone been to Kadavu? - TripAdvisor

LindaJohn99 TripAdvisor

Bellbrook, OH

"Hi Jules,

We choose to go to Matava Resort instead. We were there for 5 nights (10 dives) starting the 25th of November. My husband and I stayed in a beautiful bure and totally enjoyed the experience of this Eco Resort. We have dived around the world and we rate this as one of our most enjoyable dive trips. The diving was some of the best we've done (manta rays, healthy vibrant reefs, lots of fish diversity, etc.).

We completed our Advanced Open Water Certification while there and found the PADI Dive Instructor , Simon, to be excellent.

Several of the guests that were staying there at the same time as us were Fiji locals (marine biologist, ex-Dive Shop Owner from Taveuni, Fiji resort planner) as well as a well known underwater photographer from the UK and we enjoyed learning alot from them during our stay. They obviously knew about this nearly hidden treasure!

It's a small place without the frills of a big resort and if this is what you like, his may not be the place for you. But if you enjoy being close to nature and are going for the diving, this eco resort more than makes up for the lack of a fancy pool or beach. (check out the exising reviews on Trip Advisor) or Matava ( for more information."

Kadavu Island forum - TripAdvisor

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Fiji Is The Soft Coral Capital of the World

Fiji Is The Soft Coral Capital of the World

"Another popular diving site in Fiji is Astrolabe Reef which is situated in the southern area. There you can find a beautiful variety of coral and reef but the dive sites are small and are accessible by boat. The weather is sometimes humid there, but you will not have big problems with scuba diving because of that."

Fiji Is The Soft Coral Capital of the World

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Kadavu Island forum: Matava Resort - TripAdvisor

"Went in November 2007 for a week and absolutely loved it.

Once you land it is an hour boat ride to the resort and the boat is very small but the view is spectacular - reminds you of what the first explorers would have seen - so untouched. Maggi welcomes you and takes you to your bure. Most of them do not have electricity but ours had a light in the main area and the bathroom but we never used them.

Anything that needs to plugged in can be done in the office. We dove every day and it was spectacular - my first experience with Manta Rays and there were seven swimming around us - awesome!

We took the meal package and enjoyed eating with everyone and the conversations that took place. Of course had the Kava experience and the Lovo - cooking on rocks.

You are welcome to bring your own alcohol and we brought a box of red wine which they kept for us and served it at dinner. As long as you can handle being without your blackberry and laptop this is the place for you.

We recommended to other friends who went this year in June and also thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the diving."

Kadavu Island forum: Matava Resort - TripAdvisor

Friday, 19 December 2008

Scuba Diving Locations In Fiji

Scuba Diving Locations In Fiji

"If you are in Fiji for a scuba diving vacation, you must dive in the world famous Astrolabe Reef on Kadavu in the Southern Islands. This dive spot has excellent hard and soft corals and abundance marine life. There are more soft corals along the north and south coast with some interesting caves to explore. Majestic drop-off can be found on the western tip of Kadavu."

Scuba Diving Locations In Fiji

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Diving the Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu, Fiji - ScubaBoard

Hi all,

I flew back in from Fiji to Auckland this morning and already miss the awesome diving and time I had in Kadavu.

I was relaxing in the hammocks by the beach looking over the bay and about 60m out a 2m bronzie was chasing a ray. All I could see was the top of the shark really motoring and then the ray would JUMP out of the water at right-angles to the shark and head of only for the bronzie to turn around and go again. I presume it ended in tears for the ray as the shark suddenly stopped the chase and then headed out to sea. Either that or the ray managed to hook him with his tail. Pretty awesome and this was from a hammock!!!!

I didn't put this into the main story as some non-divers get put off by bronze whalers banging around the beach. . .

I have put the rest on my website complete with photos or just read the text here if you're interested.


Diving the Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu, Fiji - ScubaBoard

Monday, 15 December 2008

Broadreach | Teen Scuba Summer Adventure Program in Fiji, Solomon Islands.

With world-class diving, beautiful islands, rich history and unique cultures, the South Pacific is a destination like no other. Dive on breathtaking reefs, pinnacles, walls and WWII wrecks, with guaranteed sightings of big rays, sharks, sea turtles and intensely colored corals. Above the waterline, the islands offer cool rainforest hikes, idyllic beaches and rare glimpses of cultures forgotten by time. Fijians are known to be the friendliest people in the world, and you'll quickly discover why. Learn to weave palm frond baskets, hike to waterfalls, challenge villagers to a soccer match and learn ceremonial dances at a Fijian celebration.

Fiji firsthand

The views as we arrive in Fiji give us a taste of what's to come — crystal clear water, brightly colored coral and lush mountain rainforests. Ready to dive Fiji's best? We start with Kadavu's Great Astrolabe Reef, the fourth largest barrier reef in the world and home to a resident population of manta rays. Off the beaten path, the diving is pristine. The rich nutrients passing through the strait make this one of the best places in the world to observe astounding coral growth and plentiful marine life. If you can take your eyes off the brilliant soft corals, you'll find giant humphead Napoleon wrasse, banded sea snakes, majestic manta rays, black tip and white tip reef sharks and turtles. A closer look reveals the colorful nudibranchs and pipefish that hide out on the reef along with the lionfish and odd-looking crocodile fish.

Outrageous colors and lots of fish

After two or even three incredible dives a day, there is still time to play volleyball, enjoy the beach, check out the sea kayaks or just hang out with new friends. We also explore this tropical paradise. Take a guided eco-trek up to majestic waterfalls, walk along the rugged Kadavu shores and hike through dense jungle terrain with towering rubber trees. Visit a Fijian village where gracious locals treat us to a proper welcome with a "lovo", a traditional Fijian meal cooked completely underground. Share a bowl of "kava" with the village chief. Listen in awe as they share stories about the headhunting days.

Broadreach | Teen Scuba Summer Adventure Program in Fiji, Solomon Islands.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Deep Discoveries: Dive and Adventure Travel Specialists

An unspoiled corner of Fiji, Kadavu is a beautiful mountainous island with waterfalls, rounded hilltops, outstanding beaches and high rocky cliffs. It offers interesting bush walks, charming rockpools, luxuriant native trees and fascinating birdlife, particularly the famous red and green Kadavu parrots.

This traditional and remote island lies about 100km off the main island of Viti Levu. Kadavu is a rugged island almost 60km in length and 14km wide with high volcanic peaks, rolling hills and many indented bays. The dense rainforests offer good hiking trails, some nice waterfalls and several endemic species of birds. Life in Kadavu boasts a very traditional culture with its 12,000 inhabitants living in 70 small fishing villages around the coast, isolated from the world. Village visits can be arranged.

The world famous Great Astrolabe Reef stretches for 30km off the north east coast of Kadavu extending north beyond Ono Island. Here you'll find outstanding hard corals, caves, wrecks and a fantastic array of marine life due to its rich currents. Expect awesome and pristine diving here. Encounters with large numbers of pelagics including mantas will round off the colourful diving on the rich and varied reefs.

Deep Discoveries: Dive and Adventure Travel Specialists

Coral Monitoring, Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

Why Monitor Coral Reefs? CoralWatch Data
Very little is known about the trends of coral bleaching on a global scale. There are many questions that need to be answered regarding patterns of bleaching and recovery as well as the severity and duration of bleaching events. CoralWatch volunteers will contribute data to help answer many of these questions.
Dive and snorkel volunteers make it possible to measure small natural fluctuations in the coloration of healthy corals to immediately identify changes outside of the normal range. With your support it’s also possible to monitor coral health throughout the year, not just during bleaching events, and help determine factors that influence coral health.
*What is climate change?
Earth is surrounded by a blanket of gases that keep the surface warm and helps make life possible. This blanket is currently getting thicker largely due to greenhouse gas release caused by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. As the blanket gets thicker more heat is retained underneath, which alters the climate. Because the ocean comprises nearly 70 percent of the earth’s surface, it is not only crucial to influencing the global climate, but also harbors some of the most diverse and important ecosystems. In addition, research currently indicates that climate change will increasingly challenge coastal and marine ecosystems in the next century. If current trends continue temperatures may increase 2.5 – 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.4 – 5.8 degrees Celsius) by 2100.

What can you do?
Some changes are inevitable – even if gas emission stops today, the gases already released will have an effect in the future. This means that it is essential to do everything to avoid further changes. The good news is that because everyday activities also contribute to climate change there are many ways to tackle the issue on an individual level and as a diver. Here are 10 easy things you can do:

  1. Switch off your lights and electric appliances when not needed
  2. Choose energy saving appliances
  3. Use a line to air dry clothing instead of a dryer
  4. Use lids when cooking (water heats quicker with the lid on)
  5. Use energy saving light bulbs and recycle
  6. Walk or cycle when traveling short distances
  7. Use rechargeable batteries
  8. Share your concern with your local politicians
  9. Become educated and inform friends and family on climate change issues
  10. Contribute to awareness's and help with data collection by participating in coral monitoring activities
For more information on the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, you can go to the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre's Biodiversity and Climate Change Programme website or the online Climate Change Communication Initiative.

**Coral Bleaching
Bleached Coral Sample
Healthy Coral Sample CW
Couresy of CoralWatch, example
of bleached coral
Couresy of CoralWatch, example
of healthy coral
Increases in ocean temperatures contribute to coral bleaching episodes – a process whereby corals lose symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae), living inside their tissue supplying coral with energy. This loss leaves coral transparent and reveals the white coral skeleton underneath. This potentially fatal process yields the “bleached” appearance.
Although corals can slowly recover from brief bleaching episodes, coral death is common when high temperatures are sustained for long periods. And once bleached, coral is even more susceptible to additional pressures including pollution, overfishing and disease that often lead to coral mortality. Although the effects of bleaching range from moderate to severe, experts agree that bleaching episodes have become much more severe in the past few decades. And they are likely to reoccur in the future with increased frequency.

Coral Monitoring, Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

Kadavu Island forum - TripAdvisor


"Not that anyone cares, but i am a chef and i thought that the food on Matava was fabulous. I love eggplant and they would make it for me every meal...i cant wait to go back. I thought the whole experience was a dream. enjoy"

Kadavu Island forum - TripAdvisor

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Manta & Whale Shark Research Centre, Mozambique - Manta ray research



The manta rays are the largest living ray in the ocean. Measured by their wingspan, individuals have been known to reach over 7m in disc width. Like many other large marine megafauna, manta rays are planktivores, feeding on small marine invertebrates and occasionally small fish.

As human pressures increase worldwide manta ray populations have declined in many areas where they were once common. There is a notable contrast between the few reasonably protected populations, such as in Yap and the Hawaiian Islands, where economically valuable ecotourism and dive operations exist, and populations in areas where fisheries target the species, such as along the coast of Africa, South East Asia, and in Mexico. Sadly, due to many of their life history traits mantas are highly vulnerable to over-fishing, and there looms a genuine threat of localised extinction of certain populations.
Currently there are no comprehensive management programs for manta rays anywhere in the world, yet they are listed by the IUCN as ‘near threatened’ or ‘vulnerable’ to extinction throughout their distribution. Acquiring accurate information on population dynamics, lifespan, reproductive parameters, growth rates and natural mortality rates is crucial to understanding the conservation requirements of a species. Additional information on the life history of manta rays is sorely needed to supplement the paucity of existing data.

Site fidelity, movement patterns and habitat usage are also essential pieces of information needed to properly manage a species. This type of information can highlight an animal’s potential susceptibility to fishing pressures and help determine critical habitats and seasonal migration routes. Once biological and ecological information has been acquired however, real efforts need to be made to protect these identified areas.Beyond this, fishing, diving, etc. must be regulated to some degree in order to ensure the sustainability of fisheries and eco-tourism in specific locations that might otherwise receive intense anthropogenic pressure.

Manta & Whale Shark Research Centre, Mozambique - Manta ray research

Friday, 12 December 2008

How to be an Eco-Friendly Scuba Diver |

How to be an Eco-Friendly Scuba Diver

By Jennifer Harvey
While scuba diving is an inherently eco-friendly sport, there are many steps you can take to protect the reef and its inhabitants. Learn how to protect and maintain this priceless resource.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Octopus clip
  • A keen eye
Make sure you have a low diving profile. Ensure that all of your equipment is secured and as close to you as possible. Invent in an octopus clip. Secure your octopus before you ever jump in the water. This will keep your equipment from dragging and damaging the reef.
Do not touch the coral. You can undo hundreds of years of growth in a second. Do not molest the sea life.
If you see any trash, such as plastic bags, bottles or cans, pick it up and put it in your BC pocket(s). Throw it in the garbage once you get back on the dive boat.
By being a good example to other divers, you are teaching others to be green. Keep up the good work!

Tips & Warnings

  • Scuba diving is an inherently dangerous sport and should not be attempted by a novice.
  • Do not handle fish or sea life. You can remove protective coatings, leaving them vulnerable to disease and parasites.

How to be an Eco-Friendly Scuba Diver |

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Scuba Diving Fiji

Top Macro Life

1 Indonesia
2 Philippines
3 Palau, Micronesia
4 Fiji
5 Great Barrier Reef, Australia
6 Egyptian Red Sea

Scuba Diving Magazine - Top 100 Readers'' Choice Survey

Scuba Diving Fiji

Scuba Diving Fiji

Top Advanced Diving

1 Galapagos
(tie) Palau, Micronesia Truk, Micronesia
2 Indonesia
3 Tahiti / French Polynesia
4 Philippines
5 Cocos Island, Costa Rica
6 Fiji
Big Island, Hawaii (tie)
7 Oahu, Hawaii
8 Maui, Hawaii
9 Great Barrier Reef, Australia
10 Egyptian Red Sea

Scuba Diving Magazine - Top 100 Readers'' Choice Survey

Scuba Diving Fiji

Scuba Diving Magazine - Fiji


Not only are they the proverbial bread and butter for some dive operators in this 300-island country, but also in native Fijian folklore, there's a god, Dakuwaqa, who takes the form of a shark. Beqa Lagoon, on the Coral Coast of the island of Viti Levu, has long established itself as the Pacific's shark diving capital, where as many as eight different species freely swim. While diving well-known sites on the Great Astrolabe Reef near the island of Kadavu - the world's fourth-largest barrier reef - it's possible to spot schools of upward of 30 gray reef sharks on a single dive and, dive pros have discovered, there's a hammerhead site off of Kadavu's northern shores.

But with its soft corals and population of manta rays, humpback whales, turtles, titan triggerfish and even ghost pipefish, Fiji isn't only about sharks, diving one island or one barrier reef. Whether on a live-aboard plying Bligh Water between Viti Levu and its island neighbor to the north, Vanua Levu, or hopscotching by plane from those islands to others, like Taveuni, Gau, Ovalau and Kadavu, or plunging into the Great Astrolabe or the Namena Barrier Reef, there's no shortage of unforgettable diving.

Fiji is also legendary for its friendly and welcoming indigenous culture and the cultural contributions from generations of South Asians who also call these islands home. On Viti Levu, it's not uncommon to visit a rustic village for a kava-drinking ceremony and see traditional dances by day, then by night eat Indian roti bread and curry and take in a "Bollywood" film. The pace of life on the outlying islands and villages is far more leisurely than the bustle of the capital city, Suva.

Full article : Scuba Diving Magazine - Fiji

Scuba Diving Magazine - The Heart of Fiji

February 19, 2008
Welcome to Bligh Water and the Koro Sea, where fast currents, colorful soft corals and abundant sharks add up to serious diving fun.

Whenever people ask, "Where's your favorite place to dive?" my answer is always the same: "Fiji--because no matter how great I tell you it is, it will exceed your expectations."

There has never been a better time to dive this Pacific archipelago of some 300 islands scattered over one million square miles of ocean. There are plenty of options for getting here, staying here and diving here, but the islands are still blessedly free of the crush of cruise ships, wall to wall dive shops, jaded locals and overdevelopment. Add to the mix Fiji's fascinating culture, exceptionally friendly people and lush, mountainous topside landscape, then throw in for good measure the nearly 400 coral species and over 1,200 varieties of fish, and this island nation is quite possibly the perfect destination for divers.

Scuba Diving Magazine - The Heart of Fiji

Dive ME

If variety is the spice of life, then Fiji is diving’s red hot chilli pepper.

Trying to sum up the special appeal of these waters is like packing a bag for an epic journey through four seasons – or editing years of underwater video into just 30 minutes of tape! There is simply no way to fit everything in.

Of course, most people know Fiji as the soft coral capital of the world and that’s true! But soft corals are only a symbol of Fiji’s complete story: the soft corals vibrant colours and giant size, the diversity of fish and invertebrates that live among their branches, the dramatic changes they undergo in an ancient rhythm of survival with the tides and currents, and the many types of underwater environments in which they thrive. Yes, Fiji’s remarkable soft corals embody all the elements that make Fiji’s reefs so exceptional. Drama and diversity, brilliant lavish panoramas, deep water rich with food and hiding places for the mysterious and rare Fiji’s marine realm is as dynamic and splendid as nature can be.

With 333 islands surrounded by reefs and the entire spectrum of underwater terrain, from sharks, rays and 1000 species of fish to the vivid rainbow of soft corals, sea stars and myriad shrimp, one word does describe Fiji’s extremely diverse diving: colour.

Fiji is the colour of our wildest dreams. Come to Fiji to escape the crowded freeways and your work day demands. But there is no avoiding the bustling crowds of fish, jampacked coral reef communities or Fiji’s flair for living colour. Surrender to it and enjoy the view.

“The Fiji seascape is lush with colour in a way few other destinations can match. Even the sunlight and seawater can’t mute the volume of Fiji’s symphony of hues.”
Bill Harrigan: photographer/writer: Sport Diver magazine.

Dive ME

The Best SCUBA Diving Destinations: Dive Sites around the World

Astrolabe reef, Fiji
"Where to start? Pristine reef, super visibilty, turtles, rays, shark etc...and best of all not another boat in sight!"
Paul Coysh, UK, 2007

The Best SCUBA Diving Destinations: Dive Sites around the World

Eco dilemma: Is it OK to scuba dive? | Travel | The Guardian

This winter, thousands of British travellers will visit coral reefs all over the world, from the Red Sea to Indonesia and the Great Barrier Reef. Yet the world's coral reefs - the "rainforests of the sea" - are under imminent threat. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 27 have been destroyed and, if present trends continue, 60% will be lost in the next 30 years.

While the most significant threat to coral comes from pollution, over-fishing and climate change, bad scuba diving practices can cause significant damage to these fragile ecosystems. The key to all good diving is buoyancy control - the more in control you are the less likely your fins, hands, knees and scuba equipment will bump against the coral and damage it. On average, it takes 25 years for coral to recover from a diver's single clumsy brush against it. Too many divers at a site can also cause disturbance to fish and the coral, so check that your dive operator avoids the busiest dive sites. Responsible dive operators should also have a policy of anchoring only to permanent buoys (attached by concrete to the sea floor) rather than dropping anchors on or near reefs.
PADI ( runs a course on protecting the marine environment and a Peak Performance Buoyancy course, which both count as "speciality" courses required for the Master Scuba Diver certification. It also runs Project Aware (, which organises underwater conservation activities.

And you can put your dive holiday to good use by contributing your underwater observations to the Global Dive Log (
· To ask a question or offer advice, go to

Eco dilemma: Is it OK to scuba dive? | Travel | The Guardian

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Scuba Diving Ocean Imaging

The world of underwater photography and video has never been more dynamic. As still photography and video begin to converge, and software for processing and archiving digital content gets more powerful, photographers need to stay informed. That's our goal: to keep you apprised of the latest developments in the field, while celebrating the beauty of our underwater world and our collective quest for new and better images. Our mission is dedicated to the art and science of underwater still and video photography. Thanks for diving in. — Stephen Frink

2009 Scuba Diving Magazine Photo Contest
Got a good eye for underwater photography? It could take you to Wakatobi Resort in Indonesia if you are the Grand Prize winner of the 2009 Scuba Diving Magazine Photo Contest. (Grand Prize courtesy of Wakatobi and Reef & Rainforest.) You can compete for prizes in four categories: Macro, Topside, Marine Life and Wide-Angle. Other prizes include a live-aboard trip for two aboard the Caribbean Explorer II, a dive trip for two to Fort Young Hotel in Dominica, a dive trip for one on Aqua Cat Cruises in the Bahamas, a dive trip for two to Habitat Curacao, UWATEC Aladin Tec 2G wrist computer, Atomic Aquatics B2 regulator, Dive Rite 3000 regulator, Spare Air package and cases by Storm Case.

Scuba Diving Ocean Imaging

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Students breed clams for future - Fiji Times Online

Students breed clams for future

STUDENTS of Vunisea Secondary School in Kadavu are playing an instrumental role in breeding clams.
Seven students, under the guidance of Kadavu Yaubula management support team coordinator Josaia Ravulo, went on a clam diving expedition on Friday and were given first-hand practical lessons about the breeding program.
The marine studies program at Vunisea Secondary School is sponsored by AusAID and is in its third module this term.
Mr Ravulo said the students would be involved in practical research aspects of marine life, particularly the breeding of clams.
He led the students on an early morning dive for young clams to be transferred to Cevai, Ravitaki, Galoa and Solovola villages.
The students snorkelled in a passage at Solovola Village for young clams that were bred in a cage and transferred to the Ravitaki, Cevai, Muani and the islands of Matanuku and Galoa.
The young clams were transferred into triangular cages for their relocation and the students were instructed to secure the cages against rocks to keep away predators.
The clams were kept in the water in a sack and transferred to Muani and Galoa on Saturday.
Vunisea Secondary School principal Serupepeli Udre said the program was introduced early this year where students were taught how to mould a fibreglass boat and maintain and repair outboard engines.

Students breed clams for future - Fiji Times Online

Visitors drive fish count - Fiji Times Online

Visitors drive fish count

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

IT'S driven primarily by visitors to our shores, and has been seen as a great way to strengthen Fiji in the minds of tourists.

But the Great Butterfly Fish count is also a way of helping us understand just how healthy our reef systems are.

The nationwide tourism promotion was organised to raise international awareness of Fiji's marine environment. Over the last week, it saw island resorts and scuba diving companies marshal their guests through a fish count all over the country.

The Mamanuca Environment Society believes the Great Butterfly Fish count is an ideal way for visitors to participate in an important reef monitoring activity.

MES project manager Betani Salusalu said the health and growth of reefs could be determined by the existence of butterfly fish.

Abundant fish in reef systems provide scientists with a good indication of coral cover and coral health in particular areas.

Mr Salusalu said the growth and health of coral reefs were important not just for the tourism industry but for the future of marine species themselves.

"For the Mamanuca Group all resorts participated in the Great butterfly fish count," he said. "Under the International Year of the Coral Reef 2008, The Great Butterfly Fish Count activity was initiated by the Government and other stakeholders including MES for the week of November 2nd -8th".

The butterfly fish are in the family Chaetodontidae and have deep, compressed bodies. They are oval-shaped when seen side-on, and thin when seen head-on.

They have small, pointed mouths, with small, brush-like teeth. There are 116 species across the globe, including their close cousins, the bannerfish.

Most live in tropical waters and are found where there are extensive areas of live coral, which is usually in areas of 20 metres of water or shallower.

"The activity was for the whole of Fiji to take part in, to count these fish and collate all the data from throughout Fiji as part of monitoring and identifying Coral Health and Coral Cover.

"That's why we created an activity that would be enjoyable and could also be integrated into activities currently used in all resorts in Fiji."

Mr Salusalu said MES helped resorts in the Mamanuca Group create environmental awareness programs for various island resorts.

He said the programs not only involved staff and management but also tourists who stayed at the various resorts.

Reef Safari dive instructor Joseph Donne said the week-long butterfly fish count was very important.

They had an innovative way to get tourists to sign up a trip in their Yellow Submarine glass water boat. The trips were at South Sea Island and drew a lot of interest.

"We take about 25 passengers out to the submarine where each of them are given a slate each and are asked to tick the different types of butterfly fish they see whilst in the submarine underwater," he said.

"It's easy to do and lots of different types of people with an interest in the marine environment have been taking part in the search for butterfly fish throughout the week".

The promotion, from November 2-8, was aimed at strengthening Fiji's tourism industry and the natural environment.

Visitors drive fish count - Fiji Times Online

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Packing Tips for Photographers

From the November, 2008 issue of Scuba Diving Magazine.

Photographers get hit hard with airline overweight fees. Here are five tips and five photo bags to help ease the pain.

It used to be so easy to get to distant dive locations with virtually any amount of camera gear needed to do the job. Load up a dive bag, a clothing bag, maybe a big roller case for topside cameras to go on the airplane with you--then stuff the rest in a giant hard case. Some shooters had different strategies, maybe an Igloo cooler with the lid duct-taped down to make it look like a cargo of dead fish rather than live cameras, hoping to avoid theft. But the common feeling was that overweight was an after-thought, and if we got charged at all, it would be maybe $50. But as Mr. Dylan once sang, "the times they are a-changin'," and as fuel costs force airlines' bottom lines deeper into the red, they pass some of those costs along to their passengers in the form of baggage fees. Underwater photographers get hit especially hard, so for shooters feeling the pinch, here are five tips for packing, planning and navigating baggage restrictions on your next dive trip.

Full article here at : Scuba Diving Magazine - Packing Tips for Photographers

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Kadavu Island forum: Matava Resort - TripAdvisor

Posted on: 1:07 pm, September 03, 2008

Went in November 2007 for a week and absolutely loved it. Once you land it is an hour boat ride to the resort and the boat is very small but the view is spectacular - reminds you of what the first explorers would have seen - so untouched. Maggi welcomes you and takes you to your bure.

Most of them do not have electricity but ours had a light in the main area and the bathroom but we never used them. Anything that needs to plugged in can be done in the office. We dove every day and it was spectacular - my first experience with Manta Rays and there were seven swimming around us - awesome! We took the meal package and enjoyed eating with everyone and the conversations that took place.

Of course had the Kava experience and the Lovo - cooking on rocks. You are welcome to bring your own alcohol and we brought a box of red wine which they kept for us and served it at dinner. As long as you can handle being without your blackberry and laptop this is the place for you.

We recommended to other friends who went this year in June and also thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the diving

Kadavu Island forum: Matava Resort - TripAdvisor

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count November 2008: Results: South Kadavu, Matava Resort

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count November 2008

On reefs all across the Fiji Islands, volunteers from schools, universities, conservation organisations, resort and dive operations took part in 30 minute counts of Butterflyfish, as an indicator of biodiversity and coral health.
See for full details and results as they come in.
Results: South Kadavu, Matava Resort:
Alice and James Calvert from Australia 

Alan and Lindsay Coley of the UK

Jone Waitaiti, Matava Dive Guide 
Richard Akhtar, Matava Owner

Helen Sykes, Fiji Coral Reef Monitoring Networkand Reef Check coordinator

Count in progress
Triangular Butterfly 
Cheveroned Butterfly 
Longnosed Butterflies

Across the South Kadavu Dive Sites, 24 of the 27 known Butterflyfish in Fiji were seen. On average 79 Butterflyfish were seen over the 30 minute counting period.
Reef Type
Average # of fish / 30 mins Average # of species
Eagle Rock,
Outer Wall
52 % Hard coral cover
23% Soft coral cover
20 (74%)
Vesi Bay,
Nearshore fringing Reef
38% Hard coral cover
7 % Soft coral cover
14 (52%)
Naiqoro Passage
Deep passage to outer wall
Hard coral gardens
22 (81%)
Japanese Gardens,
Passage side to outer slopes
Rock walls in passage, Hard corals on slopes
17 (63%)
South Kadavu Overall
24 (89%)
Many more species were found on the outer wall sites where there was high hard coral cover, and more variety of coral types. At the inner reef and passage side sites, where there was less hard coral, there were fewer species, and in one case, fewer fish, mainly those who do not depend entirely on corals for food.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Free Diving in November

manta1 web.jpgFREE DIVING!
Due to a very last minute cancellation of a group of 10 divers, Matava now has a few clear weeks to fill until the end of November.

Therefore we are offering a KILLER deal for divers out there willing to travel at last minute by offering F~R~E~E  D~I~V~I~N~G !

Yes, totally FREE 2 tank morning dives for every full day you stay at Matava until the end of November!
Free diving in Fiji
Dive the wonders of the Great Astrolabe Barrier reef in Kadavu, Fiji and experience pelagics, mantas, sharks and the fabulous hard corals of the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world for the wonderful price of $0!

Just book any bure and quote promo code "NovFreeDive" to redeem this one off deal at Matava!

Email RichardThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it at Matava now to secure your booking.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Reef Check Foundation - Auction Home Page - cMarket Fundraising Auction

Reef Check Foundation is getting ready to run an online auction fundraiser!

Starting on November 5, 2008, the Reef Check Foundation will be auctioning off a number of fun and unique items to bid on to raise money for our organization - and the more items we have the more money we can raise, so we're asking for your help!

Reef Check is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and rehabilitate reefs worldwide. Reef Check’s thousands of volunteer citizen scientists in over 90 countries and territories participate in scientific research, education and conservation programs and provide ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions in partnership with businesses, government agencies and academia.

This auction is being held in conjunction with the Reef Check Foundation's Reef Rescue 2008 Gala on November 15th at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. This year's gala is to be a celebration of the International Year of the Reef 2008 and will honor pioneering IMAX filmmaker Greg MacGillivray.

Reef Check Foundation - Auction Home Page - cMarket Fundraising Auction

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Beyond Blue - Marine research, conservation and expeditions

Beyond Blue is a unique fusion between marine scientists and environmental journalists in which daily discoveries being made about our marine world are brought to life in an exciting and dynamic format.

We are currently developing a fresh web site which will not only combine the information available at Beyond Blue with our growing community base, but also integrate seamlessly with our constantly evolving online network, which includes organisations such as SAMPLA, and the upcoming Carcharias.

Click here to Download issue 1

Download Issue 1 now!

To help shape the future of this magazine we ask all our readers to please take a few moments to fill out the form below. This is not mandatory, but the information received will play a vital role in the evolution of Beyond Blue, and will also allow you to keep up to date with all our latest news.

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Download PDF

Right click and select 'save target as'

EBook 39.6mb - PC ONLY

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Beyond Blue - Marine research, conservation and expeditions

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Invention: Natural colour underwater photographs - tech - 15 October 2008 - New Scientist Tech

  • news service
  • Justin Mullins
14:38 15 October 2008

Taking good photos underwater requires a good white light source such as a flash or spotlight. But some wavelengths of light penetrate water more easily than others, and the result is a heavy blue cast.

The tint gets progressively deeper as subjects get further from the camera, meaning that corrective filters only work for a narrow range of distances from the lens.

Filters cannot always be changed quickly, or even at all, say Daniela Rus and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For example, they say filters are little use for remotely operated cameras like that on a robotic submarine.

See clearly now

Their new patent application suggests the solution is to use a camera with a battery of different flashes. Each produces a different wavelength of light, which penetrates water to different extents. A sensor records that effect, making it possible to work out the distance to a subject in the image.

It is then possible to generate the perfect wavelength of flash to show the subject in its true colours. The result should be naturally coloured underwater photographs.

Read the full patent application for natural-colour underwater photographs.

Since the 1970s New Scientist has run a column uncovering the most exciting, bizarre or even terrifying new patented ideas – follow our weekly column in our continually updated special report and vote for your favourite from the archives.

Invention: Natural colour underwater photographs - tech - 15 October 2008 - New Scientist Tech

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Project AWARE Certificate of Appreciation

Certificate recieved by Matava and Mad Fish Dive Centre from PADI in recognition of our support of Project AWARE.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Fiji and the Bula Bowls

Some concepts just elude me. Like the International Date Line. Sure, I can grasp its significance at some levels but still cant quite wrap my brain around it completely. If you look at a map, one thing is clear: the people who decided where the IDL should go wanted to give the island nation of Fiji a break. If not for a deliberate shift to the east and back again, parts of Fiji would be in the future while other parts would be in the past. Which still just blows my circuitry.

On June 27, with this conundrum weighing on my mind, I boarded a 56-minute flight from Jacksonville to Atlanta, the first leg on a 20,000-mile journey to Fiji and back...

Whole article here at

Fiji and the Bula Bowls

As an eco-operator, we will…

As an eco-operator, we will…

As an eco-operator, we will…
Ecooperator sun Provide dive experiences that enhance visitor awareness, appreciation and understanding of the local aquatic environment.
Ecooperator moon Use recycled products whenever possible.
Ecooperator sun Participate in local conservation efforts and support established parks and reserves.
Ecooperator moon Not sell items made from endangered species, threatened species, corals or tropical hardwoods.
Ecooperator sun Respect local people, culture and traditions while abiding by local laws and regulations.
Ecooperator moon Provide pre-dive briefings on responsible dive practices such as:
Ecooperator sun Proper buoyancy control
Ecooperator sunSecuring equipment and streamlining body position
Ecooperator sunMaintaining distance from sensitive environments
Ecooperator sunNot touching or chasing animals
Ecooperator sunAbiding by all fish and game regulations
Ecooperator moon Use mooring buoys or drift diving techniques whenever possible to avoid damage to underwater habitat.
Ecooperator sun Offer Project AWARE specialty courses that teach customers about ecology and conservation.
Ecooperator moon Practice buoyancy control skills in a pool or sandy area before swimming near a coral reef or any sensitive environment. Make sure your equipment is secured, you’re weighted properly and be careful not to touch, stand on
or collect coral.
Ecooperator sun Display environmental public awareness materials and provide community involvement opportunities.
Ecooperator moon Use environmentally sound methods of rubbish disposal.