Monday, 30 March 2009

Sponsors & Supporters » Byron Underwater Festival - Byron Bay

Major prize for photographic shootout.

Sponsors & Supporters » Byron Underwater Festival - Byron Bay

Sunday, 29 March 2009 | Listing | Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Matava is the genuine eco-adventure lodge, beautifully set off the beaten track, minutes from the Great Astrolabe Reef on Kadavu Island. Our intimate resort has beautiful, comfortable bures, outstanding cuisine and offers a full range of adventure and cultural activities. Dive or take a course with our PADI dive professionals.

Experience fantastic fish, pristine corals, Mantas and sharks. Try big game fishing, snorkeling, sailing, sea kayaking, trekking, and join in authentic cultural and village events!

No roads, solar power, low carbon footprint make Matava the ideal and environmentally responsible location to relax and unwind.


PADI Resort

Training Level:

Up to Divemaster

Boat Description:

Our 3 Islander Dive Boats can take 6 divers and a divemaster each, keeping in-water groups small at all times.
A full range of safety equipment (inc. oxygen) is carried. All boats in full Fiji survey.

Sites Visited:

We have over 20 named sites and countless un-named and unexplored sites. Diving is either in or around the 5 passages in the Astrolabe Reef or on the outer reef slope. The passages have large fish (barracuda, jacks, groupers etc), sharks and soft corals. The outer reef is unsurpassed hard quality and reef fish diversity. On Manta Reef we see Mantas on over 80% of our dives all year round ! | Listing | Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Resort - Traveller Reviews - Peaceful and Relaxing - TripAdvisor

Matava is a tiny eco resort with room for only about 22 guests.

All guests eat together and we made some great friends this way. The staff are unique and funny. The location is so lovely, by the sea and very remote so it feels like a real adventure to actually be there.

Great snorkling and I wasn`t bored at all just soaking it all up. Fill up on the real fijian experience!

Kadavu Island: Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort - Traveller Reviews - Peaceful and Relaxing - TripAdvisor

Monday, 23 March 2009

Finding Nemo Every Day

So I cried during the first scene of Finding Nemo, who didn't? But don't worry, Marlin, Nemo and their entire extended family are alive and well here in Kadavu. No dive can go by without these little clown fish making a profound statement of protection for their little homes of anemone.

Reasonably brave anemonefish that don't give in too easily to a diver invading their symbiotic relationship. Yesterday during our second dive, whilst staring at a pair of these quite interactive clownfish, one swam right into my mask, as if giving me a little warning nudge - well whatever he attempted to do, it was enough for me to back off.

I couldn't tell if this brave little fishes actions were indicative of the fact that he had't seen the movie or he was inspired by it?! Either way I'll continue my search for Dory.

Kate, The Kiwi Instructor
Mad Fish Dive Centre @ Matava


Sydney Australia
March 2009

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Take A Dive on Kadavu Island

Very few places on the Fiji islands offer you the opportunity to experience the real culture and feel of this great country the way the Kadavu Island does. So it's of know surprise that this remote island still as a lot of its natural beauty, valleys, hillsides and beautiful bays and reefs. Which in return as stopped a lot of the general tourists from coming to the island.

The Kadavu Island is a great destination for anyone looking for great diving locations that have not been overtaken with international resorts, but as still got all it's natural charm which is why you need to go and give this place a go.

With it being home to the amazing Astrolabe Reef on the southern end of the island and is estimated to being the 4th largest reef in the world with its colourful corals, reef sharks and schooling fish it makes it a great region to explore if you like the easy way of living, remote hideaways, undiscovered gems and hard corals.

Some of best diving sites around island are:

1. Yellow Wall

This is an all year round diving site and suits people of all levels. Here you will experience thick soft yellow coral, sweet lips, sergeant major fish and garden eels.

2. Eagle Rock

Being part of the Astrolabe Reef it as a lot to offer, but is recommended for divers of advanced level. It is also an all year round diving site.

Diving Season

This is an all year round water sport on the Kadavu Island. However the months of November to April will see the most rainfall, but is also the most tropical months when temperatures can reach as high as 32C. It is the most coolest months between July to October when the waters will be generally a bit more cooler.

Take A Dive on Kadavu Island

Friday, 20 March 2009

Kadavu Island Where Crowds Don’t Go

The Island of Kadavu offers the traveller a real taste of Fiji with it’s very few roads and plenty of rough terrain it makes it great way to experience the real natural beauty what the country as to offer. With the island having only a very few resorts ranging from backpacker accommodation to 5 star hotels, its main audience it attracts are travellers with a touch of adventure within their spirit.

With few roads on the islands as it is, just getting there is an adventure all on its own. So there is no surprise that the main reason people come here is because they want to get away from the crowd and the big name hot spots.

Reasons why travellers come to this island

1. It offers great surfing breaks in particular areas of the island. Nagigia Surf being one of them

2. You get to experience world class diving in one of the top destinations, known as the Astrolabe Reef.

3. Great island to explore eco-tourism, because of it’s excellent rainforest and bird life.

4. Great budget accommodation on both the Island of Kadavu and Ono.

Kadavu Island Where Crowds Don’t Go

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Scuba Diving Eagle Rock In Kadavu

Eagle Rock is one of the very best dive sites that the Great Astrolabe Reef as to offer any keen diver. With its amazing rock formations, hard corals and great selection of fish life.

Getting to the site can be a task on its own with surface swells telling you weather or not it is to strong to take on, so timing is the key, but once you get to the eagle rock site you will initially experience eagle rays past by and see very few hard corals that give in to the currents here.

Then once fully into the channel you will find yourself been given access to an underwater paradise, with so much in site you first won’t know where to look. As you will be passing over the rough rock bed with grey reef shark flying past you will start looking in amazement.

With the truly amazing colours of hard corals and great selection of life that it as on offer here, there is something for every diver. Whether it be the green lettuce corals, pale grey corals, lime corals or violet finger corals, this great diving site as something new for everything individual to discover.

This is a site that will keep the attention of any diver that can get bored quick because of its truly amazing variety on offer.

Diving Season

This is an all year round water sport on the Kadavu Island. However the months of November to April will see the most rainfall, but is also the most tropical months when temperatures can reach as high as 32C. It is the most coolest months between July to October when the waters will be generally a bit more cooler.

Scuba Diving Eagle Rock In Kadavu

Monday, 16 March 2009

I Thought You Went Diving?

So we are heading out to a dive site, Jo is driving and myself, Jeanie and Richard are getting our gear ready.

All of a sudden a yellowfin leaps from the water in a dramatic slow motion arch, and I find myself watching in awe, then another and another. And within split seconds the small dive boat has spun around and Jo is frantically unwinding a handline at the rear of the boat while Richard is giving direction towards the silver jumpers.

And in all this time all I have managed to do is keep breathing. Adrenaline rush!

'Whats going on' I tell myself  'Im pretty sure I don't even like fishing!'. But it was to late to reason with myself, I was already standing on the seat in the middle of the boat screaming with excitement that Jo had hooked the Yellowfin Tuna... On a hand line!

So as the experienced fisherman play the game they know so well, I watch like a spectator at a game where I still havn't decided who I want to win.

All this time I keep saying to  myself 'I didn't even know fishing was fun!'

Soon the game ends and indeed Jo has one this round, with his fingers bleeding from the line and the fact there was no gaf on the dive boat (naturally) meant him and richard had to use there brute strength to pull the beautiful fish from the water... and we still have the dive to go!

Lucy, the resort cat, suprised to see the dive boat return with fish.

Kate the Kiwi Diving Instructor at Mad Fish Dive Centre

Saturday, 14 March 2009 | Prize Draw for Members

UW Card holder prize draws - how to enter.

All current UW Card holders are automatically entered into all card holder draws.
To become an UW Card holder or to renew your membership just order your card in our secure shop

UWCard holders MEGA draw June 2009

Dive Kadavu, Fiji with Mad Fish at Matava
Dive Kadavu, Fiji with Mad Fish at Matava

5 day/7 nights in Oceanview traditional Bure, 10 dives , free shore diving at The Critter Junction.
All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, unlimited tea/coffee) including traditional Lovo Feast and Kava Ceremony.
Boat transfers to/from Kadavu airport and all taxes
Based on double occupancy, as a basic 2 for 1 package, valid to 1st July 2010 | Prize Draw for Members

See you soon at The OZTeK'09 Dive Exhibition

We are leaving in a couple of days bound for Sydney. Hope to see some of you at OZtEK. Come on over for/with coffee to Booth 8 & 9 to see the Matava crew! Cool

The OZTeK'09 Dive Exhibition

21 - 22 March 2009 (09.00 - 18.00)

Combining the internationally acclaimed, OZTeK Diving Technologies Conference with a full-scale Dive Exhibition, OZTeK'09 is poised to set new standards of excellence in Dive Events.

Offering exhibitors the opportunity to tap directly into one of the world's most dynamic regional diving markets, OZTeK'09 is targeted towards that affluent and influential audience of industry professionals and diving consumers who want more.

Focussed on the full spectrum of underwater activities, (from recreational, technical, commercial, military and scientific diving through to free-diving and marine conservation issues) the two-day OZTeK'09 event will merge all facets of diving into one exhibition aimed at promoting the excitement and adventure of diving to an enthusiastic audience. .

Showcasing the very best that the world of diving has to offer, a presence at OZTeK'09 allows exhibitors the opportunity to:
• Preview new diving equipment, trends and technologies.
• Attend update seminars, training programmes and the OZTeK'09 Conference.

To be staged at Australian Technology Park, (in Sydney, Australia,) on the weekend of the 21st - 22nd March 2009, OZTeK'09 promises to be a highlight event on the international dive industry calendar.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Underwater Festival Prizes » Byron Underwater Festival - Byron Bay

Detailed prizes for the 2009 Festival are still subject to change - in 2009 they are even more exciting than the $20,000 prize bonanza from the 2008 Festival with close to $30,000 worth of prizes.

Photo & Video Shootout Competition

All photographs and video to be taken between 29th of April and 2nd of May 2009. Please visit the shootout page for rules and entry conditions.

2009 prizes below

Best Festival Portfolio - 5 images

Best Festival Photograph - SLR camera

  • 1st prize - a dive holiday for TWO at Matava in Fiji - includes meals and taxes - *flights not included
  • 2nd prize - 10 dive voucher at Sundive Byron Bay inc gear hire if needed
  • 3rd prize - a massive 1200mm x 800mm canvas print of your winning image by Retrospect

Best Festival Video

Best Festival Photograph - Compact camera

  • 1st prize - Choice of Ikelite SLR housing (inc port) / video housing or DS-160 deluxe strobe package
  • 2nd prize - 3 night/4 dive Dive/Accommodation package at PLANULA Divers Retreat/Byron Bay Dive Centre for TWO PEOPLE
  • 3rd prize - a huge 900mm x 600mm canvas print of your winning image by Retrospect

Best Festival Photograph - Novice & Sealife Camera Try Outs

Best Festival Photograph - Freediving & Snorkelling

Neville Coleman Awards

Most interesting critter find during the Underwater Festival

Thank you all sponsors!

The Byron Underwater Festival would like to say a huge thank you to all the prize sponsors - without you, this festival would be only half as much fun.

Underwater Festival Prizes » Byron Underwater Festival - Byron Bay

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Kadavu Island: Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort - Traveller Reviews - A lovely fijian hideaway - TripAdvisor

I began my stay at Matava only planning to stay a week or so before venturing onward to explore the rest of Fiji. However, in the end I stayed just over 3 weeks and now I wouldn't have planned my holiday any differently. I chose Matava because I wanted to dive the Astrolabe reef, and I was looking for a remote and fairly rustic resort (to weed out the people that expect chocolates on their pillows) with some interesting people to drink some beers and chat with during dinner. Also, as a solo traveler, costs at most resorts were out of my budget, so accommodation was also an issue.

Given that it was the wet season, the diving did not disappoint. Colorful hard corals, some soft corals, nudi branches, and great shark and manta dives. The dive staff are wonderful and do a great job of keeping things organized and efficient while maintaining a fun atmosphere - and catering to the particular needs and desires of the divers that come through and whatever nature had delivered for the day. Due to the sheer size of the reef there is a lot of diversity in the dives that are offered – and the “exploratory” dives were some of my favorites.

I was fairly impressed with the grounds of the resort given the remoteness of the island and the inherent challenges that comes with the humidity. They have just added (sometime in 2008) a lovely main bure with a nice bar and a deck where most meals are eaten. There is no beach actually attached to the resort - so you do have to motivate to paddle to the nearby island (15 minutes or so). Meals are served on a (mostly) fixed schedule - although they will keep your food for you if you for some reason miss it. As a fish-eating vegetarian - they did an excellent job feeding me. Most of the food was handmade and the most memorable dishes featured fresh fruit, produce from the organic garden, and whatever fish was caught that day (bit of luck required here) with some chilies thrown in for good measure. And I discovered that even fresh tuna gets tiring after three weeks! Although the toasted coconut chips served during happy hour never got old.
My stay was really made so enjoyable by the staff. When I came down with a bad cold on my second day (perfect for a diving vacation!) I was immediately force fed fresh pineapple and given a selection of sudafed from their personal stash to ease my suffering. Most of the guests that came through were friendly and fairly adventurous – and made for some enjoyable evenings. Due to the lack of electricity at night (bring a headlamp!), and the long days in the sea and sun, most people went to bed fairly early. The nights were normally hot and humid. There were usually lizards rustling the thatching, mosquitoes lurking around the netting with spiders waiting in anticipation, and occasionally a crab or some other creature would make its way into my bure. But that’s the fun of sleeping in the tropics! Luckily I could also hear the water and there was usually a breeze to help with the heat.

Overall, I had a fantastic stay at Matava. I loved the remoteness, the basic and natural feel of the place, the amazing staff, and the friends I made during my stay. So I recommend it for the adventurous people of the world that want a relaxing holiday with some good diving and fishing without the crowds or the frills and the expectations of fancy resorts.

Kadavu Island: Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort - Traveller Reviews - A lovely fijian hideaway - TripAdvisor

Matava Report - ScubaBoard

I have been diving in Fiji since 1993. I am a PADI Rescue Diver and averaged a trip to Fiji about every 10 months up through 2006.

My favorite place for diving in all of Fiji is Matava Resort on Kadavu Island. The resort is beside the Great Astrolabe Reef with wonderful views of the reef. The dive operation is superb and the rental equipment for diving is of the highest quality.

Fishing is also available.

The resort has the best food on Kadavu and provides excellent food for vegetarians. There is more than enough to do other than diving such as going to the water falls and using the kayak to explore, but I prefer diving, eating, and resting.

The prices are very reasonable and I believe it is the best value in Fiji.

Matava Report - ScubaBoard

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Finally I Can Be Part of the Conversation

So I've been here for just over three months now, the Staff here have become my family, brothers and sisters, Uncles and Aunties. What can I give them in return to show my appreciation? Of course, I can teach them how to dive.

Richard happily agrees to let some of the Staff enter our under water world and so the teaching begins. Much easier said then done. Kesa, who works in the kitchen, Joji who takes care of maintenance and works behind the bar and Vilikesa who drives the transfer boat are my first students.

The book work took the longest with late nights and early mornings trying to fit in with everyones schedule... It took 1 month, but we finished all the book work and finally it was time to get everyone in the water. Vilikesa was the first to complete the course and on our last dive he refused to surface and sat stubbornly on the sandy bottom arms and legs firmly crossed.

Joji completed the course next and his most used signal was patting his stomach as he eye balled the huge spanish mackerals that glided by. And young Kesa also finished and when I asked her why she wanted to do the course she explained 'Everyone talks about diving here, the Staff and the Guests, finally I can be part of the conversation.'  

Jone (Driver) and Joji and Kesa after completion of their final dive.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Nikon has announced its new flagship professional DSLR, the D3X. The new full frame sensor (24.5 megapixels) contains double the number of photosites of its predecessor, the D3, but remaining specifications are unchanged for the most part.
The camera produces 50MB 14-bit RAW files that can be converted into 140MB TIFFs. The D3X supports an ISO range from ISO 100-1600, extendable down to ISO 50 and up to 6400 equivalent with up to 5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, or 7 fps in the 10MP DX-crop mode. The estimated street price is US$ 7,995.95.


With Extreme 24.5-Megapixel Resolution, Processed Image Files Exceeding 138 MB, Five Frame-per-Second Burst Speed and Nikon Core Technologies, the D3X Ushers in a New Level of Image Quality
MELVILLE, N.Y. (Nov. 30, 2008) – Nikon Inc. today announced the D3X, an FX-format digital SLR featuring extreme 24.5-megapixel resolution and superb low-noise capabilities, which provides professional photographers with commercial-quality image performance in a familiar and extraordinarily versatile D-SLR form factor. In conjunction with the groundbreaking Nikon FX-format D3, the D3X tops off a collection of flagship level, rugged, professional caliber digital single lens reflex cameras engineered to excel in all types of professional photographic disciplines from photojournalism and sideline sports, to commercial in-studio applications.
The foundation of the enhanced performance of the D3X is its FX-format, 24.5-megapixel (6048 x 4032) CMOS sensor providing commercial, high fashion, fine art and landscape photographers with the extreme resolution, dynamic range, color depth, detail and sharpness that clients demand. Whether creating catalogs, magazine covers, billboards or gallery prints, the large 5.94-micron pixel size and high signal to noise ratio produces vibrant images with breathtaking image fidelity while reducing lost highlights and shadows, and ensuring smoother tone reproduction with minimized noise. With full resolution shooting speeds of up to five frames-per-second (fps), and 14-bit files, that when processed are approximately 138 MB, the D3X offers today's photographic artists an extreme level of performance and versatility ready for demanding assignments in the studio or on location.
“In 2007, the 12.1-megapixel FX-format D3 delivered groundbreaking digital SLR image quality, coupled with incomparable high ISO, low noise performance and high-speed handling. In doing so, the D3 broke photographic barriers, enabling photographers to work in ways never before possible,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “Now, the new 24.5-megapixel FX-format D3X D-SLR provides the extreme resolution and high dynamic range capabilities needed to meet the extraordinary needs of photographic disciplines such as high fashion, commercial advertising and fine art. The D3X delivers this remarkable capability while fitting seamlessly within the Nikon system, taking full advantage of Nikon’s world-renowned collection of NIKKOR lenses and Speedlights.”
Image Quality Takes Center Stage
To re-emphasize the importance of image quality above all else, the D3X delivers an incredible level of digital SLR performance to provide photographers with extremely high resolution, exceptional dynamic range, phenomenal total gradation and outstanding color reproduction. Image files can be recorded as TIFF, JPEG or NEF (RAW) formats in either 12- or 14-bit compressed or uncompressed formats, and recorded to UDMA compatible CompactFlash™ cards for optimum speed. Photographers can save image files directly to the dual card slots as overflow, backup, or as separate file formats to different cards. Building on the D3X's flexibility, users have the creative option to shoot in the 5:4 crop mode with 20.4-megapixel resolution, the ideal format for creating 8 x 10-inch portraits. While using DX-format lenses, faster continuous shooting of up to seven frames per second can be achieved at a resolution of 10.5 megapixels.
The exceptionally low noise of the D3X is essential to any professional commercial application, and it provides photographers with an ISO range of 100 to 1600, expandable to 50 (Lo-1) and 6400 (Hi-2). The ultra smooth tones and lack of grain at ISO 1600 as well as at low sensitivity settings result in smooth, natural skin tones and exacting detail that, before the D3X, required larger and far costlier studio-bound camera systems.
Advanced Technologies, Meticulously Executed
In a commercial setting or on location, imaging professionals need high performance in both speed and processing. The Nikon D3X can shoot at up to five fps at full resolution or up to seven fps in DX crop mode, allowing photographers to catch the split-second difference in a model’s expression or capture all of the action in a sequence. Just like the D3, the D3X achieves a start-up time of a mere 0.12 seconds and a shutter release time lag of 0.04 seconds.
The D3X’s speed, as well as high levels of performance, leverages Nikon core technologies including a newly enhanced EXPEED™ Image Processing System, specially designed for the D3X to provide superior image quality, faster processing speeds and lower power consumption. This advanced system is able to achieve extremely precise color reproduction for a broad spectrum of hues, in addition to vivid saturation and smooth gradation. What’s more, Nikon’s advanced noise processing function is engineered to minimize noise at all sensitivities and operate seamlessly without interfering with other image color parameters.
The D3X also features Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System, which continuously analyzes information from the 1,005-pixel RGB light sensor, to further refine auto exposure, auto white balance and autofocus calculations. This results in flattering portraits and awe-inspiring landscapes that portray accurate color and fine details. Nikon's exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II helps ensure accurate exposures, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. Instantly evaluating each scene before capture, input data from the system's sensor is automatically referenced against an internal database of more than 30,000 images derived from actual photographs to calculate correct exposure values. Active D-Lighting, used in combination with 3D Matrix Metering II, helps to determines proper exposure, and creates realistic contrast while compensating for lost shadows and highlights. Prior to shooting, users can choose from Extra High, High, Normal, Low or Off settings, as well as an Auto mode.
Additionally, the D3X features Nikon’s exclusive Multi-CAM 3500FX focus module, with 51 AF points, 15 cross type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors that easily track and lock onto moving subjects, delivering the same fast and accurate AF performance that helped make the D3 immediately successful. Users can select any of the AF points, making it easy to consistently attain accurate focus right on a subject’s eyes, frame after frame. Additionally, three AF-area modes – Single point, Dynamic-area AF and Auto-area AF – are available to maximize the use of the 51 focus points by selecting the most suitable one to match subject conditions. AF is also available in one of two Live View modes optimized for the studio, including a phase detection handheld mode and a tripod mode. This feature allows the user to zoom in up to 27x on the LCD screen to ensure critical focus. While in Live View, the graphic indication of a virtual horizon is also available, making it easier than ever to confirm camera orientation.
To further ensure each photographer's ability to balance their personal style, Nikon’s Picture Control System enables users to adjust their images to pre-set parameters such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome that apply tweaks to image sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, overall tone and saturation. Photographers have creative control over these image parameters with the use of up to nine available customizable presets.
Synchronizing Both Form and Function
Engineered for real-world functionality, the D3X retains a rugged shell with moisture, dust and shock resistance that has become a hallmark of flagship Nikon D-SLRs, while preserving the usability and ergonomics that allow the camera to remain an extension of the photographer’s vision. Attention to detail goes so far as to include a self-diagnostic shutter system that is tested to exceed 300,000 cycles for maximum durability and longevity. The camera’s body also maintains the resilient magnesium alloy construction and form factor of the D3, promoting consistent Nikon system synergy.
A bright and accurate viewfinder offers 100 percent coverage with 0.7x magnification. The body also houses Nikon’s acclaimed 3.0-inch super density LCD screen, now relied upon by so many photographers. The high-resolution 920,000-dot screen is viewable at wide angles up to 170 degrees, and will allow photographers to quickly zoom in to confirm critical focus. Users can also output the video signal to an external display via HDMI to allow client viewing. Thanks to incredibly efficient internal circuitry, the D3X can capture up to 4400* shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium ion battery.
System Strength Withstands the Test of Time
The D3X is fully compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) to give photographers a mobile lighting solution that is easy to manage. To further enhance mobility, the D3X is compatible with Nikon’s GP-1 GPS receiver to gather information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and date of shooting. Photographers can easily shoot tethered via USB, or use the WT-4a wireless transmitter to send images wirelessly when speed and mobility are essential. D3X users will also enjoy the system strength of more than 50 genuine NIKKOR lenses that provide outstanding sharpness and high resolution across a broad range of focal lengths.
Price and Availability
The Nikon D3X will be available at Nikon Authorized Professional Dealers starting December 2008, and will be available for an estimated selling price of $7999.95.**
* Based on CIPA Standards
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

About Nikon
Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN® digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. For the second consecutive year, Nikon D Series digital SLR cameras are recognized as “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with digital SLR cameras, Two Years in a Row, Tied in 2008.” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 and 2008 Digital Camera Usage and Satisfaction StudiesSM. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., recently celebrated its 75th anniversary of NIKKOR optics and announced the production of over 45 million NIKKOR SLR interchangeable lenses. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-UX or visit, which links all levels of photographers to the Web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.

Diamond in The Rough

 Today whilst diving in Fiji with Eddie and Philipa from NZ (Yah some fellow Kiwis to keep me company). We dropped down to twenty and started our dive on the purple wall. Eddie and Philipa had never dived on a coral reef before so I just couldn't wait to get them down where the visibilty let you see further then a few meters (unlike the typical NZ diving they were used to (and I had forgotten).

It was on the second dive we saw the sea turtle which was a first for them and I never get bored of seeing this beautiful creature float past. But that wasn't what I was looking for, huge gropers, baracuda, angelfish, butterflyfish, unicorn fish,  but I still hadn't found what I wanted to show them.

It wasn't untill I'd almost given up hope of finding it and there he appeared - a diamond in the rough - I called him Henry, and he was beautiful. From the family Chromodorididae this little nudibranch as small as he was sure could give the rest of his underwater companions a run for their money!

Kate the Kiwi Diving Instructor at Mad Fish Dive Centre

Monday, 2 March 2009

Around the Kava Bowl

So here we sit on the deck at the front of the resort. Smiling, laughing and telling stories to people we met just hours ago. Jone or Robbie will be mixing the Kava and the conversation will flow from the colour of the sky to a story about one of the guests hometowns and back again.

Mas, one of the Divemasters will grace us with his voice and guitar playing skills and believe it or not I have even seen our barman Joji get up and dance. The kava is pounded fresh and the boys continue to beat the roots of the plant into dust to continue mixing this muddy looking drink. Some guests try just one or two bowls and then decide to stick to the Fiji Bitter, while others rather enjoy the taste.

Although I'm told that Kadavu grows quality Kava, suprisingly thats not the reason I indulge in this drinking ceremony. The mere fact that we need nothing to entertain ourselves but each other is a wonderfully fading concept that indeed still exists around the kava bowl.

Kate, The Kiwi Dive Instructor