Thursday, 30 September 2010

Fiji and Tuvalu Dive Reviews: Dive Resorts & Liveaboards

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Dive Review of
Mad Fish Dive Center/Matava Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Matava, Kadavu Island

in 2009/11
an Instant Reader Report
Debbie Pasich, CA, usa
Report Number 5271

N/A means "Not Applicable" or "No Answer" given

Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
 Caymans (all 3), Cozumel, Roatan, Dominica, Belize, Bonaire, San Diego 

Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, cloudy
Water Temp
75 to 77 ° Fahrenheit
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy
Dive own profile?
Enforced diving restrictions
Were desire given depth and time for dives but permitted to dive computer
with buddy.
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2
1 or 2
Whale Sharks
> 2
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars
Small Critters
4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars
Large Pelagics
5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's
4 stars
Shore Facilities
2 stars
Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars
Shore Diving
4 stars
4 stars

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars
4 stars
5 stars
The Diving:
Matava’s newest dive boat delivered just the week prior to our arrival, is
capable of accommodating approximately 14 divers. We were pretty
comfortable with 10 divers plus the dive master, crew and boat captain.
Dive sites were anywhere from a 10 minute to 30 minute ride and surface
intervals were done either in the calmer waters inside the reef or on
shore. (The new boat has overhead canvas bins for dry storage but none of
their dive boats have marine heads nor provisions for large camera
equipment.) Outside the reef there was always an ocean swell (between 2-3
ft). Inside the reef was calm but because the weather was unseasonably
windy we usually had some surface chop. The Astrolabe Reef provides an
incredible display of healthy, colorful hard corals and the diving was
excellent. During our 1 week visit we dove “Manta Reef” twice and as the
name implies – it delivered. We dove with no less than 10 Manta’s total.
“Eagle’s Rock” was a great shark dive: 20 to 30+ white tip, black tip and
gray reef sharks of various sizes schooling together in the reef inlet.
“Japanese Gardens” had a beautiful assortment of soft corals and “Cabbage
Patch” should not be missed. During the week in addition to the manta rays
and sharks (and probably the largest variety of butterfly fish we’ve ever
seen) of note we saw a dolphin, a napoleon wrasse, a sea snake, several
lion fish, octopus, turtles, giant clams, eels, clown fish and stunning
nudibranchs. The dive staff did a great job of understanding the needs of
the guests and DM’s Masau and Ta were informative and fun to dive with.
During briefings we were given dive profiles but for the most part we were
able to dive our computers. Every day the dive staff took care of setting
up our gear as well as rinsing and hanging our suits at the end of the day.
In a nutshell, great diving and an excellent dive staff made for some
terrific memories.

The resort:
With traditional thatched bure’s tucked into the mountain side of Kadavu
Island, the resort is a beautiful place to get away from it all. The
newest (honeymoon) bure at the top of the hill (94 stairs of various sizes
to climb) has an absolutely spectacular view! It’s an eco-resort and a
majority of the power is supplied by solar so leave your hair dryer at
home. The hot water is solar but for cloudy days they have back up
propane tanks for hot showers. The bure’s are cleaned daily and the sheets
and towels are changed every 2-3 days (all laundry is done by hand). To
keep the pests at bay they provide mosquito nets over the beds and mosquito
coils for the bures. The combination seems to work pretty well. Maggie,
the resort host/hostess has a unique style of hospitality that is
entertaining and he makes sure that you feel welcome and have need of
nothing. The staff is Fijian and they were always ready with a big smile.
They have a small area in the main bure for charging batteries from 9am –
5pm daily. My one recommendation would be that you bring your own water
bottle (for use in your bure and on the boat).
Kayaks are available for use at no charge and if you’re up to a 50-60
minute (one-way) hike there is a Fijian Village, School and beautiful
waterfall that is well worth the effort.

The food:
3 meals per day, breakfast was comprised of fresh fruit, toast and eggs.
In addition to these some days they had homemade breakfast rolls, French
toast or banana pancakes. All of their homemade breads were terrific.
Lunches were varied and dinners ranged from satisfactory to quite good with
excellent flavors. Soups were extraordinary! (I believe one of the more
disappointing meals was simply the result of a late supply ship to the
island.) When you arrive you are asked about dietary
restrictions/requirements. This close to New Zealand you will likely be
served lamb for at least one dinner – let them know in advance if you would
prefer something else. They seemed to accommodate the vegetarian’s quite
well. Instant coffee, tea and cocoa are available from 6am – 11pm daily.

Fiji and Tuvalu Dive Reviews: Dive Resorts & Liveaboards