Fiji Scuba Diving

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Fiji scuba diving highlights include a fantastic variety of colourful soft corals, over 1200 species of fish, 12 species of whales and dolphins, lots of specialist scuba diving resorts and live aboard dive charters as well as excellent snorkelling off the beach. Fiji dive sites offer good variety and easy access.

The Fiji archipelago is encircled by a huge reef. Within its protected waters are shallow lagoons, steep drop off's, and thousands of scuba dive sites. Most areas are easy to get to with plenty of resorts offering scuba diving scattered around the islands. Sea temperatures are incredibly warm - typically 25C in winter (May to Nov) and up to 30C in summer at depths of 5 metres. Visibility is also excellent with depths of 40metres not unusual. The best diving conditions are early morning before the winds pick up. Heavy rainfall in the summer can obscure visibility off the main islands with river run-off.

Many of the Fiji scuba diving operations around the islands will be independent companies operating from the premises of the hotel. The majority are active members of the Fiji Scuba Diving Operators Association and agree to be bound by the Associations code of practice and thereby support the Fiji Recompression Chamber Facility. A few cowboys do exist at the backpacker resorts so it's wise to check credentials before committing yourself.

PLEASE NOTE - No dive can be undertaken 24 hours prior to flying (local or international flights).

The following provides a quick guide to the different regions:

Mamanuca Islands
The compact nature of the group means that all dive sites are accessible from all resorts. Each resort has its own certified PADI dive concession with prices for a two-tank dive starting at F$120 and an open-water course with 4 dives from F$540. Rich nutrients carried by strong south-easterly currents feed the Malolo Barrier Reef, a ten mile long system along the south-eastern side of the group which extends to Castaway Passage. This nutrient flows create the most spectacular setting for marine life in the Western side of Fiji with over 400 species of colourful reef fish as well as dolphins, sharks and turtles. Hard and soft corals, fans, caves and pinnacles set as the backdrop. Unfortunately, such is the popularity of the Mamanucas and resort-diving that many divers are either novices or recreation divers with little consideration for the protection of the reef or the marine environment. Shark and fish feeding is common to make the dives more appealing, look but don’t touch practice is often overlooked and the popular dive sites can be overcrowded. For a more peaceful environment, dive the Outer Reef around the islands of Tokoriki, Monuriki and Vomo where large pelagics are common and some unusual sites make diving for beginners and experienced divers a more fulfilling experience.

Southern Islands
World famous Astrolabe Reef on Kadavu in the Southern Islands (45 minutes flight from Nadi) has excellent hard and soft corals and excellent marine life. More soft corals along the north and south coast with some excellent caves and deep drop-off's on the western tip of Kadavu. Good all-round diving centre but south-easterly tradewinds can make diving difficult at times. On calm days, visibility up to 150 metres. Beqa Lagoon to the north of Kadavu includes numerous soft corals, reef bommies and passages. Small secluded dive resorts accessible only by boat. Lush rainforest and tropical beaches. Humid and wet at times. Very traditional Fijian lifestyle and culture. Beqa Lagoon is accessible by boat (1 hour plus) from Pacific Harbour on the main island of Viti Levu. The famous shark feed with many species of sharks including hammer heads is right off the coast from Pacific Harbour.

Northern Islands
World famous Rainbow Reef in Northern Islands (1 hour 20 minutes flight to Taveuni lies between Taveuni and Vanua Levu and has lots of scuba diving experiences including the Great White Wall (all white soft corals) and advanced drift diving through channels. Numerous smaller reefs around Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Qamea, Laucala and Matangi Islands with abundance of soft and hard corals and excellent marine life. The Northern Islands have been developed for Eco-tourism as well as diving and the regions outstanding mountains, rainforests and waterfalls are all relatively accessible with tours and trails to the major attractions. Humid and wet at times.

Lomaiviti Group
Two separate barrier reefs between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu in the north east of Fiji are assessable from Nananu-i-Ra and the Lomaiviti Group. Rich area fed by tradewind currents with excellent marine life including Manta Rays and hammerheads as well as bommies and pinnacles in the lagoons. A handful of small island resorts, some luxurious. Also accessible by charter dive boats that explore some of the unexplored areas of these huge reefs including the up-and-coming E6 reef. Shipwrecks can be explored around the old Colonial capital of Levuka on Ovalau.

Diving Emergencies
In cases of emergencies, divers will be taken by sea, road or low flying air to the Fiji Recompression Chamber Facility in Suva. Charges vary according to circumstances so it is best to have adequate insurance cover. At some of the smaller budget resorts cowboys do exist, so choose carefully and if you're a beginner, don't jump to the chance of diving without proper PADI certified instruction.

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