Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
(21-09-09) All the dreamed exoticism of Southern Seas, is assembled in the remote islands of Fiji. Exuberant nature, warm locals and a spectacular underwater world.
A typical question at school was where the antipodes of Spain were located. “Anti... what?” It could be the classic answer of many children. With this term we mean the part of the world that lies just on the opposite side of where we are, well, in the case of the Iberian Peninsula, the antipodes would be located in the vicinity of the Fiji Islands, in the middle of the Pacific.
This remote and small archipelago lies 1,770 km north of New Zealand, it has all the classic ingredients of the South Seas, and, of course, an excellent dive, which makes the place be a dream destination for all divers in the world.
This time we are going to discover one of the most remote areas of the archipelago. This is the island of Kadavu, located about 90 km south of the main island, Viti Levu. There, an interesting phenomenon of ecotourism has been doing for many years. A “private”, fisheries reserve has been created, managed by local people themselves and where the diving is particularly important.
In exchange for self-regulation of the fishermen, they charge a small tax on divers to ensure the preservation of the reefs. Here, large Asian fleets, which devastate the seas of the region, are unwelcome.
The diving in the area is around the Great Astrolabe Reef that runs over 120 km along the south-southwest coast of the island. Large areas of coral are lined as if they were a barrier to protect the lush coastline from storms. Also, several passages, which are the most interesting for the underwater exploration, appear. Wildlife is abundant and, especially spectacular.
In these turquoise waters the dream of any diver can came true: its abundance, size or rarity. Whales migrating that enter the reef lagoon, manta rays, different types of sharks, marlins and turtles will delight lovers of the great meetings. But for fans of the tiny things, ghost pipe fish or ribbon eel, along with many shrimp in soft corals or colourful nudibranchs, will make us fall into a fantasy world.
MEETING THE MANTA RAYS
One of the great attractions of the area is the abundance of manta rays, with sighting almost guaranteed. To do this we stand, after a long journey, in Manta Point, a coral plateau with a bottom of between 15 and 20 m that is place of appointment of these great animals.
We expectant cover the bottom of the sea, searching every corner. They spend a few minutes, but the animals are not going to miss the appointment. Depending on the time of the day and also the season, we can see them worming and eating. In the first case they are quieter, but the second one is certainly much more spectacular.
The manta rays come from the blue and start to turn back on themselves in a sort of exciting circle dance, a spectacle. With their big mouths and gill slits at full capacity, they introduce large amounts of plankton floating in the water.
They seem not to be tired because of spinning in what is basically a feast for them. The downside of this underwater ballet is that, obviously, the clarity is not much, precisely because of the amount of food that, after all, is why they come here.
One of the different entrances that open on the reef is known as Eagle Rock, since there is a large rock in its centre and encounters with sea eagles are usually frequent. It is a common area, and with great abundance of life. So, just we start the dive, two shoals welcome us: one of small barracuda, and the other one of carangid fish, prologue of the emotions that we are going to live.
We began the descent to glimpse the great rock. There is little current and do not see many animals. Our dive master, Jon, a native of the area and discoverer of these bottoms, starts to initiate a strange ritual. He takes a small plastic bottle from the pocket of his waistcoat and fills it partially with water. What is happening? Narcosis? We are just twenty metres deep. Once the operation finishes he starts to rub the bottle in his hands.
A dull and heavy sound is spreading across the submerged reef. The rate increases in a kind of frenzied “crescendo”. Suddenly the sharks, magically, begin to appear: first some oceanic white tip shark and then several gray sharks. Sharks undoubtedly are attracted by the sound, as they come very close to us. We can count, first, two, then three, five, even ten specimens.
This technique, as then Jon will tell us, attracts sharks. They come to find out what it is, and originally it was widespread across the Pacific either with shell rattles, wooden instruments, etc. They tried to get the attention of sharks to attract them and to catch them. These days, the purposes and instruments have changed, but the animals are still curious about this sort of ancestral call, a sound outside their silent world.
This is a difficult dive, but it also is spectacular. It is into a large passage that the strength of the ocean has been digging for hundreds of years in the reef. Here, the reef wall has been cracked by the strength of the sea. This way, a passage as a perfect “v” that begins in the lake and ends in the deep blue of the open and wild ocean has been created.
Obviously, the currents in the area are strong, very strong, and we must exercise caution, besides having a good planning and knowledge of the area. We started taking advantage of the outgoing current. We are already under the water and, gradually, the current becomes more evident and pushes us towards the open sea. A hammerhead shark joins us in these early stages. In the area closest to the coast we can see sea gorgonian and soft corals that benefit from the hydrodynamics of the area.
But as we go along, the life on the walls disappears because of the virulence of the water. A tortoise seems to guide us in this oceanic path, which is gathering strength as we get closer to the exit. The walls are becoming steeper and deeper and the blue of the open sea gets an intense blue coloration.
In the blink of an eye we are out and we have to locate the outer wall not to get lost in the immensity of the sea. The surprises in this area are enormous, with numerous gray and white tip sharks, and the distant silhouette of a tiger shark. Large Napoleon fish or huge tuna walk on the area.
We still have time to repeat the experience, but this time in the opposite direction: from the sea to the lake. It is an interesting contrast to see two different realities. In this case it is essential the good work of our dive master to locate the entrance and go to that sort of giant funnel that, with the incoming current, quickly introduces us to the lake, where we can have fun with the great abundance of tropical fish. It is a feast for the eyes, after a frantic dive.
Text and Photos: Juan Carlos García
Friday, 25 September 2009
(21-09-09) Todo el exotismo soñado de los Mares del Sur, se concentra en las lejanas islas de Fiji. Naturaleza exuberante, cálidos lugareños y un mundo submarino espectacular.
Una típica pregunta de colegio era dónde estaban las antípodas de España. ¿Anti… que? Podía ser la respuesta clásica de muchos niños. Con este término nos referimos a la parte del planeta que se sitúa justo en el extremo contrario de donde estamos, pues bien, en el caso de la península ibérica las antípodas se localizarían en las proximidades de las islas Fiji, situadas en medio del Pacífico.
Este lejano y pequeño archipiélago se encuentra a 1.770 km al N de Nueva Zelanda, presenta todos los ingredientes clásicos de los mares del Sur, y por supuesto un buceo de primera, que lo convierte en un destino soñado por todos los submarinistas del mundo.
la isla de kadavu
En esta ocasión vamos a descubrir una de las zonas más remotas del archipiélago. Se trata de la isla de Kadavu que se encuentra a unos 90 km al sur de la isla principal, Viti Levu. Allí se viene realizando desde hace algunos años un interesante fenómeno de turismo ecológico, con la creación de una reserva de pesca “privada”, gestionada por las propias poblaciones locales y en la que el buceo adquiere especial importancia.
A cambio de una autorregulación de los pescadores, éstos cobran un pequeño impuesto a los buceadores que garantiza la buena conservación de los arrecifes. Aquí no son bienvenidas las grandes flotas asiáticas, que siembran de muerte los mares de la región.
El buceo en la zona se articula alrededor del Gran Arrecife Astrolabio que recorre durante más de 120 km toda la costa sur-suroeste de la isla. Grandes extensiones coralinas se alinean como una gran barrera que protege la exuberante costa de las tormentas y tempestades. A la vez que se abren varios pasajes y bajos, que son los más interesantes para la exploración submarina. La fauna es abundante y, sobre todo, espectacular.Full article here: Fiji,_al_otro_lado_del_mundo
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Each year, PADI Diving Society produces a limited-edition Society membership card for more than 175,000 Society members worldwide. In the past, PADI Offices have used photos from internal collections or invited renowned underwater photographers to provide images for each card. This year, the PADI Diving Society is inviting all novice and professional underwater photographers to participate in a photo contest: The winning image will be displayed on the 2010 Society membership card.
Participants can submit up to three photos* showcasing their best underwater or dive lifestyle images and all entries must be received by 22 September 2009. Judges from PADI Offices and affiliated PADI Diving Society publications will pick the top images and open this select group for final public voting in October 2009. Look for opportunities to participate or vote at padi.com, the PADI Blog, MySpace or Facebook pages. The winner will be announced in November 2009 and will receive photo credit, a certificate of recognition, global exposure and bragging rights!
How to participate:
Submit up to three photos* of your best underwater or diving lifestyle photos as high resolution images minimum 300 dpi; in a horizontal digital image in proportion to 9.56 x 6.4cm or 3.75 x 2.5 inches.
How to Submit Your Entry:
1. Email all entries (maximum of three photographs) to your affiliated PADI Diving Society office with subject header: 2010 Society membership card entry. – Society office details below
2. Include your name, mailing address, contact number and Society membership number, if applicable.
3. All entries must be accompanied with a signed Photo Release document. – Available from your Society office
To find your local office- visit padidivingsociety.com and look for the 2010 PADI Diving Society membership card icon or link. Or find your office below!
PADI Americas/ Sport Diver Readers:
Visit www.padi.com/societyphotocontest for details or email email@example.com
PADI Asia Pacific/ Scuba Diver AustralAsia Readers:
Click here for more details or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PADI International/ Sport Diver UK Readers:
*All entries must be accompanied by a signed photo release. Deadline is 22 September 2009.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Ultimate Eco Escapes - Sport Diver Magazine Sept 2009 - FIJI SCUBA DIVING - Dive the best of Fiji Diving with Mad Fish Dive Centre, Kadavu, Fiji Islands
Matava named as an Ultimate Eco Escape in Sport Diver Magazine
Sport Diver Magazine - September 2009
Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort is pround to be named as one of the world's Ultimate eco Escapes by PADI Diving Society's SPORT DIVER Magazine in September 2009.
Ultimate Eco Escapes - Sport Diver Magazine Sept 2009 - FIJI SCUBA DIVING - Dive the best of Fiji Diving with Mad Fish Dive Centre, Kadavu, Fiji Islands
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
WIN A SEVEN-NIGHT TRIP TO MATAVA—FIJI’S PREMIER ECO ADVENTURE RESORT IN 2ND ANNUAL OCEAN IN FOCUS CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST
Project AWARE Foundation and SeaWeb’s Marine Photobank are joining forces to host the second annual Ocean in Focus Conservation Photography contest that seeks entries showing the destructive impact on marine environments in order to inspire conservationist actions. Photographers of all experience levels, including conservationists, scientists, divers, travelers and students are encouraged to compete for the contests’ Grand Prize: a diving vacation to Fiji, including a seven-night stay at Matava—Fiji’s Premier Eco-Adventure Resort. Prizes also include sterling silver coral-inspired necklaces from Hannah Garrison, beautiful Bob Talbot prints and carbon offsets from NativeEnergy. Photographers will compete for prizes in two contest categories: Species of Concern/Ecosystem Decline and Humans and the Ocean: Impacts and Solutions.
“This photo contest is geared toward advancing ocean conservation through the power of imagery,” according to SeaWeb President, Dawn M. Marin. “There are many problems to be addressed in the ocean. Anyone who holds a camera in their hand has the power to change the hearts and minds of people around them through the images they capture and the inspiration those images can provide.”
Tourism Fiji July 2009
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Matava is Fiji's first Resort member of The International Ecotourism Society - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort
As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel.
A common question asked is what EXACTLY is ecotourism? Ecotourism is: "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990)
TIES promotes ecotourism, which is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people," by:
- Creating an international network of individuals, institutions and the tourism industry;
- Educating tourists and tourism professionals; and
- Influencing the tourism industry, public institutions and donors to integrate the principles of ecotourism into their operations and policies.
Principles of Ecotourism:
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate.
"We also see this as a great step forward and opportunity for all Fiji resorts, both on Kadavu and in the Fiji Islands, to move forward in their standards to achieve truly world class service and capabilities required for this membership level and to do it in the true spirit of ecotourism."
Mr Akhtar finished by saying "We would like to thank all friends and clients of Matava and Mad Fish Dive Centre past and present who have contributed to the success of our eco resort and we look forward to exciting times ahead."
Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, 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 the Fiji Islands. Matava - Fiji Premier Eco Adventure Resort is a PADI Dive Resort as well as a Project AWARE GoEco Operator. Matava offers accommodation for up to 22 guests in lush tropical surroundings in traditional thatched Fijian 'bures' with hardwood polished floors, louvre windows and private decks offering privacy, comfort and superb ocean views.