Thursday, 29 April 2010

Congratulations to Michelle and Michael who both recently became Advanced Open water divers!

Congratulations to Michelle and Michael who both recently became Advanced Open water divers

 
Hope to see you both back for
your Rescue Diver Course soon!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Dive for Earth Day 2010 at Matava and Mad Fish Dive Centre

KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS - 27 April 2010 - Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort and Mad Fish Dive Centre are again proud to have been actively involved in Project AWARE’s Dive For Earth Day 2010.

Project AWARE's Dive for Earth Day
Project AWARE’s Dive For Earth Day 2010
Earth Day has raised environmental awareness on a global scale for forty years. For ten years divers have put the ocean on the Earth Day map. Globally the oceans cover seventy per cent of the planet's surface and contain ninety per cent of the mass of life on earth. Thousands of dive volunteers in more than 115 countries have helped protect underwater environments and educate local communities for Project AWARE's Dive for Earth Day.
 
2010 is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, an international campaign designed to raise environmental awareness on a global scale.

Underwater environments are under numerous threats including pollution, debirs, climate change, overfishing, and coral bleaching. Dive for Earth Day is an extraordinary opportunity to take action and help address the underwater issues that concern you most.

Over the last 10 years, the Project AWARE Foundation have joined this effort to focus attention on aquatic environments, and named this ‘Dive for Earth Day‘.

Why?

With the oceans covering more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and providing habitat for 90% of all life on the planet, one aim is to highlight the issues facing this particular environment, including pollution, debris, climate change, overfishing and coral-bleaching. Human activity is costing the Earth. And despite the oceans’ vast expanse, our marine debris is taking its toll on aquatic eco systems.


Matava and Mad Fish Dive Centre's Efforts on Kadavu, Fiji Islands
 
A very successful rubbish filled day was had by all on Vesi Beach in aid of Project AWARE’s Dive For Earth Day 2010.

10 school children from local Vacalea Primary School joined together with all 13 members of our dive group from Poland along with all the staff from the resort and dive centre at Matava to clean up the beautiful Vesi Beach

Over 10 sacks of marine debris were collected including shoes, fishing nets, plastic bags and even a plastic chair! Then the sun shone for us as everyone enjoyed a BBQ, lolling around in the sea and plenty of touch rugby.

"At Matava, and Mad Fish Dive Centre we are of course both happy and proud to be involved in this global event and  in the South Pacific and indeed the World" said Matava Director, Richard Akhtar. " The educational value to the local scholl children should not be underestimated and they thoroughly enjoyed their day!"

Matava - Fiji's Premier 
Eco-Adventure Resort Mr Akhtar finished by saying "We would like to thank all friends and clients of Matava especially the dive group of Poles who were in-house and participated. They have all contributed to the success of our ecotourism principles and the resort and we look forward to exciting times ahead."

Friday, 16 April 2010

Matava is the First Resort to achieve Shark Safe Certification

Shark Safe  ProgramMatava is the First Resort to achieve Shark Safe Certification

Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort and The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education take a leading role in the world with a major shark conservation initiative in the resort and tourism community.

KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS - 14 April 2010 - Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort is proud to take a world wide leading role in the the international Shark Safe Certification program by becoming the first resort to be certified Shark Safe.
Shark Safe certification program

The mission of the Shark Safe certification program is to protect oceanic ecosystems by encouraging practices that do not negatively impact shark populations. By increasing public awareness of the need for shark conservation, we endeavor to change the way people think about sharks, thereby reducing the sale, use, and trade of shark products.

Shark Safe  ProgramThe Shark Safe certification program uses an easily recognizable logo to endorse restaurants and select businesses that distinguish themselves through their manifest dedication to shark conservation. Establishments earning Shark Safe status may proudly display the logo to attract customers. The logo also serves to engage dialogue from patrons, thereby further promoting awareness of shark and ocean conservation.

Matava Director Stuart Gow said "We have worked hard over the past few years to ensure that all the food, not just the fish, within our resturant 'The Terrace' here at Matava are sustainable and natural"

"Matava, and our on site fishing charters Bite Me Gamefishing Charters, are the first in Fiji to sign up and be awarded certification. We are now actively promoting, coordinating and distributing information about the Shark Safe certification program around Fiji." he continued.

Goals of the Shark Safe certification program:
  • Increase public awareness of the need for shark conservation.
  • Reduce the sale, use, and trade of shark products. Shark Safe certification is designed to give discerning customers confidence that their choices help protect sharks.
Restaurants and businesses recognized as Shark Safe have met scientific criteria and stringent guidelines, and they are awarded the authorization to display the Shark Safe logo. The logo and its associated recognition and prestige will help attract customers to the business.

Since sharks are universally recognizable and tend to attract attention, customers and passers-by not already familiar with the program will still be drawn to the displayed logo and will be inquisitive. Participating establishments can provide literature about the Shark Safe program, explain the basic premises, and direct people to the sharksafe.org website.

Christopher Chin, Executive Director and Founder of COARE and the Shark Safe Ceritifcation programsaid "We're thrilled to be working with Matava. For them, conservation and sustainability are not mere bylines, but a deeply held philosophy. The world would truly be a better place if more resorts were to follow Matava's lead."

Beginning with the city of San Francisco and neighboring towns and cities, COARE and WildAid are organizing a campaign to increase awareness of shark finning and the deleterious effects of sharkfin soup consumption.The   Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE)

The ultimate goal of this campaign is to encourage both communities and the city administrations to embrace a requirement that any shark fins used come from legal and sustainable fisheries.

As part of this project, COARE is proud to offer Shark Safe certification to businesses that distinguish themselves through their dedication to shark conservation.

Bite Me Gamefishing Chartersactively avoids fishing for any species of shark and encourages this practice to be followed by all. By encouraging non-lethal 'catch-and-release' shark fishing fishermen and those sharks inevitably caught accidentally can enjoy their sport while ensuring that shark populations are not further diminished. By promoting sustainable practices of ocean management we hope that sharks will be around to keep our oceans healthy for generations to come.

"At Matava, and Bite Me Gamefishing Charters we are of course both happy and proud to be spearheading this initiative in the South Pacific and indeed the World" said Matava Director and Bite Me Gamefishing Charter Captain, Captain Adrian Watt.

Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort Captain Watt finished by saying "We would like to thank all friends and clients of Matava and Bite Me Gamefishing Charterspast and present who have contributed to the success of our ecotourism principles and the resort and we look forward to exciting times ahead."

The Shark Safe certification program is a featured project of COARE: The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education. COARE is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose purpose is to study our oceans and increase public awareness of the earth's marine environment through educational programs and outreach. To learn more about COARE and our other projects, visit www.coare.org.

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 5 Star Dive Resort as well as a Project AWARE GoEco Operator. With more than 14 years experience in the Fiji Islands, Matava is recognized as a leading educational dive centre. 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.

Bite-Me Gamefishing Chartersis our on-site IGFA game fishing specialists offering the best of superb record breaking blue water game fishing for tuna, wahoo, sailfish and marlin. As an active member of IGFAand The Billfish Association we advocate tag and release of all billfish and Trevally not deemed to be a National or World Record.

Matava is the First Resort to achieve Shark Safe Certification - FIJI SCUBA DIVING - Dive the best of Fiji Diving with Mad Fish Dive Centre, Kadavu, Fiji Islands

Friday, 9 April 2010

LOVE MATAVA - Can't wait to return! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

LOVE MATAVA - Can't wait to return! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

I was looking for a dive trip to the western Pacific and did a lot of internet searching, Tripadvisor searching and talking to people. After much research, I decided on Matava, both at the suggestion of South Seas Adventures (a travel agency I highly recommend) and from the internet info. I was not disappointed. I am a biologist with a keen interest in outdoor activities that have some learning component, such as diving, bird watching, bicycling, hiking, etc. I was traveling solo so I didn't want to end up in a typical tropical resort situation with lots of newly weds only, lots of folks mostly interested in sunning by a pool and sipping expensive drinks and so on. There are places for that, but that's not what I wanted. Matava EXCEEDED all of my expectations.

It does take some effort to get there; it took fully 26 hours from start to finish from California. The overseas flight is only 10 hours, but the various other transfers take time. Still, for some reason, I had no jet lag, either direction. The final leg of the trip is a marvelous boat ride from the airport at Vunisea, Kadavu to Matava. This offered me the first view of that incredible blue and blue-green water, wow.

Matava is a small eco-friendly resort on the eastern (SE) part of Kadavu, perfectly located for easy access to the world-renowned Astrolabe Reef. The grounds and bures are simple and clean and perfectly comfortable. They have everything I needed for a great stay including excellent beds with mosquito netting, great pillows and hot showers. There is some electricity, augmented with gas lanterns. There is however ample electricity to recharge your batteries, laptop, etc.. The staff are incredible at Matava. They really go the extra mile to make you feel welcome and relaxed; I can't say enough about everyone that works there. A particular thank you to Maggie, Lou, Jen, Drex, Tay and I know I'm forgetting people, so please forgive me if you read this! I also enjoyed talking to Richard, one of the owners, as he is an amateur fish taxonomist and helped me out with some of the various fish intricacies I ran across. The resort has a fairly extensive field guide collection too, so you may not need to bring your own.

I have an Advanced Open Water dive card, but hadn't dived in over 10 years; I did take a refresher course at a local dive shop 2 weeks before the trip. Still, I was rusty to say the least and our divemaster was extremely patient and accomodating to my needs; a big thank you to Lou for that! The dive shop carries equipment for rent which is all in very good condition. You might bring your own dive computer though as those are not for rent (at Matava nor in the local dive shops so far as I could tell).

It was March, Fiji summer, and I brought a 3mm wetsuit, booties and mask and snorkel. I rented the rest and that worked fine. I would bring additional neoprene such as a hooded vest to go under the wetsuit as I did get a little cold on the 2nd dive each day (water temp was about 81 deg F, a little cooler than normal possibly due to El Nino). The divemaster was kind enough to loan me her vest and I was comfortable in the water after that.

Now, the best part: the diving is spectacular! I have dived in the Cayman Islands, Hawaii, off California and in Baja and had always wanted to dive the western Pacific. I knew this ecosystem was the richest in the world but you really have to see this in person to know what that means. The coral diversity is amazing - hard corals galore, amazing leather corals and lots of softies as well. The Dendronepthya (carnation corals) are unbelievable in color and abundance. I was really stunned. Our divemaster knew the sites aboslutely cold as she has several years of experience diving this area, so she was able to show us big things, small things and all things in between. She found lots of great nudibranchs, flatworms, small fish, and so forth in addition to the sharks and mantas everyone hopes to see (me included, and we did too). I can't say enough about the quality of the diving and the leardership of the staff. It seemed like every dive was the "best I'd ever had."

The resort is very remote with no roads whatsoever - only boat access. There are no town lights to ruin the sky and the stars are as you'd expect, incredible. Are there other things to do aside from diving and star gazing? There are, but diving was my main goal. There is world-class fishing to be had and I was happy some fishermen were there while I was as it meant some great fresh fish on the table at night! One can snorkel right from the resort into a mix of seagrass beds and hard coral formations mixed with rubble fields further out. Lots of habitats to explore and creatures to view there. There are also a few hikes, both up the hill behind the resort and to local villages nearby, which are very interesting. There is a nice waterfall in the closest village from which many of the staff come as well. There are some endemic birds, though they can be alittle shy and hard to see. The Kadavu parrot, kingfisher and honeyeater were the easiest to see for me. My trip included a kava ceremony which was very low key and interesting. I hadn't had kava before and found it very relaxing and in the low dose I tried, not negative in any way. Very nice.

You may be wondering about the food: in a word, GREAT! Fresh fish, organic vegetables and fruits every day and home made bread. All that diving makes you hungry and the food is plentiful (they keep bringing plates of it until you say stop), varied and delicious. I may bring my own french press and coffee next time though as there is only instant coffee (personal thing, not a big deal).

In short, I cannot wait to go back to Matava. If you are seeking a small resort which caters to divers and fisherfolk and can live without the, imho, overbearing luxuries and attitude sometimes found in other resorts, Matava is for you.

LOVE MATAVA - Can't wait to return! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Maggie at Matava

Fabulous pic of "our" Maggie!