Monday, 20 November 2017

New NAI'A Family?

Twenty-five years ago we launched NAI’A in Fiji and she quickly became one of the most well-respected liveaboard dive boats ever. We had a magnificent time exploring Fiji and beyond and we got to know thousands of keen divers, many of whom have become good friends. We raised our family in a beautiful, stimulating and safe environment. But now the NAI’A family is ready for new challenges.

Cat’s and my girls are just beginning their teenage odyssey while Todd and Alexx’s kids are well and truly launched and building their own lives in Fiji. After such a glorious run with NAI’A, it pains us to offer her for sale, but we realize that she, her crew and her many return passengers would all benefit from the energy and vision of a new NAI’A family. If you or your adult children or friends are considering a sea change, this is an opportunity to step into an exciting and profitable turn-key business in a gorgeous, peaceful nation in the South Pacific.
We rebuilt the ship in Suva in 1992 and again in 2010 and have operated her in Fiji ever since. A strong Dutch-built steel ship, NAI’A has proven herself as Fiji’s ultimate liveaboard experience but her success is even broader. She’s already voyaged to the Kingdom of Tonga for 21 extremely popular humpback whale swim seasons. She did the first exploratory expeditions to the Phoenix Islands and has been back several times to support the World Heritage Marine Protected Area we kick-started there. We have also dived Vanuatu and New Caledonia on our extended adventure itineraries.
NAI’A is well respected in the liveaboard scuba diving niche. The company is profitable and always has been despite the many obstacles the world has thrown out. We have forward bookings for Fiji into 2020 and our whale swim charters in Tonga are full through 2021. NAI’A is at the top of her game. If you are intrigued by the possibilities, please contact me for more information.

Best fishes,
Rob Barrel, founder   
Todd and Alexx Edwards, co-founders  
NAI’A Fiji 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

4FJ is a different kind of campaign

4FJ is a different kind of campaign. With so many environmental messages hitting us today, this campaign aims to remind us all what a healthy ocean means to our way of life and then help us do something, right here, right now, to save them.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Step 1: Admit We’ve Have a Problem

Grouper, commonly known locally by names such as kawakawa and donu, are an important source of protein for our communities. Groupers, sought after by urban residents and tourists alike, are also commercially valuable to Fiji’s economy. The fish is just hmm, mmm good. But as our population grows and the demand for both food and income grows, these fish are disappearing all across Fiji.

This is a fish that is a staple of village diets, that has been part of Fiji’s island culture for hundreds of years, and one of a ways rural community can make money for basics needs, is going away. That means the kids in the village will be less healthy with less protein to eat. That means our people will have less fish to sell and support their families. That also means our cultural traditions will be harder to maintain. Can you imagine how your next visit to the village will be if they can’t serve fish?

Bottom line: Unless action is not take to better manage these fish, which help support our villages, our culture and our economy, these fish face a bleak future. True story.

Step 2: Make the Pledge

These fish reproduce predictably every year at the same time. So if we don’t eat the fish when during the time, and let them release literally millions and millions of eggs instead, the fish populations will begin to rebound. So 4FJ is asking people from all walks of life, from our villages to our fish markets to our board rooms to our government offices to take a simple pledge: “I will not to eat, buy or sell grouper from July through September.” These are the months that grouper reproduce.

Step 3: Join the Movement

The goal of the pledge is to let these fish reproduce and fill our fish baskets for years to come. But this campaign wants to do more than just collect names and talk about fish biology. While people are stepping forward to do the right thing, it is important to remind ourselves why this campaign is so important. To remember that 4FJ is not about fish, it is about us. The campaign team will shine a spotlight on the people who are taking the pledge. We want to know why saving Fiji’s grouper is important to you. We want to know what it means to you, your family, your village, your island, your country. We realize that there are so many environmental messages coming at you right now. Save this, stop that. What we often forget in our busy lives is why these issues are so important.

So a key part of the 4FJ campaign work will be empowering ocean champions, who are making the pledge, to tell their story, from community members to business leaders to cultural and political leaders to fishermen to chefs to urban professionals, to mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers.

So visit to hear the stories of why this fish is important to our way of life, share your own and join the movement.

Campaign Team

SeaWeb Asia Pacific, a regional nonprofit organization that specializes in innovative communication initiatives, designed and is coordinating the 4FJ campaign. SeaWeb AP is located at 49 Gladstone Rd in Suva, if you want to come by and meet the team.

But the campaign is built on a dynamic partnership between the private sector, research institutions, government departments, non-governmental organizations and communities. Key partners include the Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish Aggregations, the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network, the Fiji Department of Fisheries, the Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji, Conservation International, the WWF South Pacific Program, Mamanuca Environment Society, the University of the South Pacific Institute of Applied Science and the University of Hong Kong.

And as the campaign grows, we hope the campaign partners will grow as well.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

blue o two release a brand new Fiji itinerary!

Project Shark is back! blue o two are extremely excited to announce a brand new Fiji itinerary from 2019.
Dive into tropical waters with flourishing shark populations on their brand new itinerary, Project SharkFiji. The aim of Project Shark is to highlight the global issues facing sharks, with a Fijian focus, as well as enjoying some of the most exciting dive sites that Fiji has to offer. Project Shark in Fiji will include a focus on manta rays as they can also be seen in this destination and are closely related to sharks. Encounters with endangered species allows divers to add a greater purpose to their liveaboard holiday.

On board the beautiful S/Y Fiji Siren, this 10 night trip departing from the Darling family’s Volivoli Beach Resort on Vita Levu takes divers through the Bligh Waters. This itinerary will involve close encounters with sharks, with the possibility of diving with manta rays. Divers will be joined on board for the duration of this trip by our experienced blue o two Project Shark trip host, Dr Elke Bojanowski.
Project Shark is a perfect trip for anyone who has an active interest in the preservation of the marine environment. Divers will not only enjoy fantastic diving with some of the most fascinating pelagic animals on the planet, but will learn about globally endangered marine species and what, as divers, they can do to aid their protection. Dr Elke Bojanowski will conduct seminars giving divers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the biology and behaviour of sharks. During this trip, divers will be able to play a part in adding to valuable research efforts by the ‘Manta Trust’ who work towards the conservation of manta rays worldwide.
Founder of the ‘Red Sea Sharks Trust’, dive guide and marine biologist, Elke Bojanowski Ph.D, began the Longimanus Project in October 2004 and since this date she has been actively collecting underwater photographs and video-clips of oceanic whitetip sharks for catalogue, review and analysis. Since 2012 the project has expanded to become Red Sea Sharks and has increased its scope to include grey reef, whitetip reef, scalloped hammerhead, pelagic thresher and silky shark catalogues.
blue o two are therefore delighted to now expand their Project Shark itineraries to now include Fiji.
Join blue o two on board for Project Shark: Fiji in 2019:
16/06/19 – Project Shark: Fiji – S/Y Fiji Siren (10 nights) – £3760 per person*
*The package includes: Full board on the vessel (incl tea/coffee, juices, soft drinks & local beers), all diving on air, nitrox if certified, 12lt cylinder, weights & weight belt, equipment hire (BCD, regulator, 3mm shorty wetsuit, mask, fins & boots). Given changes in exchange rates the final package price can only be confirmed at the time of booking. The price shown EXCLUDES flights and local transfers although these can be organised on request.

For further details on Project SharkFiji, please contact our expert travel team on +44 (0) 1752 480 808 or visit our website at

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fiji Shark Dive - The Wandering Diver

If you are fortunate to visit Fiji’s beautiful Coral Coast, you are a qualified scuba diver and you have some disregard for danger, then you should consider booking a place on one of the most exciting dives in the South Pacific, and one of the few dives in the world where you are guaranteed to see a bull shark.

Fiji’s amazing Coral Coast runs along the bottom of the main island, about an hours drive from the airport at Nadi. There are many great resorts and beaches along the coast, most of which are affiliated with a scuba diving outfit.
I was staying at the five star Warwick Fiji, which is home to Spad Fiji, a Padi Diving outfit that specialises in Coral Coast diving. I booked my shark dive with them at the resort, paying $395 FIJ for two dives. Diving in Fiji is not cheap, averaging around $125 AUD per dive, but in this case well worth it.
The shark dives are on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, meeting at the shop front at 7:15am. We sorted out gear then were transported ten minutes to a nearby pier where our dive boat awaited.
If you have been following my Fiji trip you will know weather has not been the normal tropical bliss you would expect in October, in-fact it has not been good at all. It has been windy and the sea was choppy to say the least, which made for a rough 40 minute ride out to the site. Worse still for most people is when the boat stops, especially the one hour stay between dives, the swaying got the better of most of the divers aboard our boat. If you are prone to sea sickness, then you will want to select a calm day for this trip.
Once at the site, we were given our dive brief.. basically 18 metre dive for forty minutes, with a safety stop. We were told to stay behind the line and not to approach the sharks.
The water was a warm 24 degrees, our party of six entered the water and met on top of the coral bommie at 10 metres, before descending to the lookout area.
This is a fairly inactive dive with minimal swimming. We were led to the viewing platform, which was a roped off rock wall overlooking the feeding area, and motioned to stay put, which was fine by us. A team is on site that feeds the fish and sharks and we basically looked on.
The show was exciting to say the least. The video I compiled below gives a very good idea of what you see, so you can make up your own mind by watching below.

Fiji Shark Dive - The Wandering Diver

Saturday, 20 May 2017

What Is Project Baseline?

Project Baseline empowers passionate citizens to observe and record change within the world's aquatic environments in a way that fosters public awareness and supports political action.

Project Baseline is a grassroots, environmental conservation initiative. Our organization exists to support people who are invested in water quality and availability by providing a platform that gives voice to otherwise under- or undocumented aquatic areas. We started as an organization built around underwater cave and open water divers.

Project Baseline encourages people to use pictures and dive logs already being collected for personal records, and upload that data into our database. Observations that are cataloged in an accessible, defensible and consistent manner can be used over time to gain a deeper understanding of each place visited by everyday adventurers. We are thrilled to be part of the Citizen Scientist movement that, when managed effectively, can be extremely influential in any number of scientific or public policy applications.

Project Baseline:
Global Underwater Explorers:

Nonprofit Diving Group Supporting Underwater Conservation In Fiji

The project, called Project Baseline, is documenting coral reef ecosystems in Fiji to better understand the health of Fiji’s deep and shallow reefs and how they may be changing due to climate change and population pressures.

Global Underwater Explorers began with a group of divers whose love of underwater exploration grew into a desire to protect those environments. In 1999, they created a nonprofit organization dedicated to high-quality diver education with the goal of supporting aquatic research that advances conservation and safely expands exploration of the underwater world.
A team of GUE technical divers from the United States and New Zealand is working with marine biologists from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Florida-based Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in a Triton 1,000-meter submersible. The team is working from the motor yacht Ad-Vantage and will be supported by her crew along with submersible pilots and engineers. The Ad-Vantage’s owners donated the vessel for the duration of the project.
The project’s primary objectives are to collect photographic and video surveys of coral reef and deeper ecosystems in water depths between 5 and 1,000 meters (16 and 3,281 feet) at several sites near the islands of Kandavu, Beqa, and Viti Levu. Scientists will use the surveys to establish coral and fish species distributions and densities. The project began on May 13 and is expected to run through May 27.
Nonprofit Diving Group Supporting Underwater Conservation In Fiji

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

PADI Freediver kickstarted in Fiji

Fiji is one of those holy grail freediving locations where you have perfect conditions for depth training and stunning aquatic ecosystems to play around. I was surprised at the health of the coral and the marine life in general. The local Fijians were so welcoming and accommodating, just as they’re reputed to be. It’s become a place I’ll always return to”.  
– Adam Stern, PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer and PADI AmbassaDiver
Freediving in the Blue
PADI AmbassaDiver Adam Stern visited Fiji for the first time in early April to train PADI Freedivers and kick start training in the area. 13 PADI Instructors from around Fiji came together to complete some training with the 4 x Australian record holder.
The Instructors completed their PADI Freediver and Advanced Freediver courses, gaining additional training and tips to meet the prerequisites to apply for their PADI Freediver Instructor rating.
PADI Freediver Instructors
Adam was joined by 2 other Instructors who assisted on this programme. Bryan Bailey and Mitch Bennett.
Here is what PADI Advanced Freedving Instructor Bryan Bailey from one of New Zealand’s Freediver Centres, Blenheim Dive Centre, had to say about the training:
“Bula! I would like to congratulate and thank Jen Clent and PADI for organizing Fiji’s first PADI Freedive Instructor program which took place on the beautiful Coral Coast of Viti levu, Fijis main island. I enjoyed immensely instructing alongside Adam Stern and freediving with the Fijian instructor candidates in the warm crystal clear waters with sharks, dolphins and turtles. The freediving ability of the Fijian candidates was already very high having grown up swimming and diving in such perfect conditions. With the extra skills they have been passed on they will make excellent freediving instructors. Bula Vinaka”
Freediving in the reef
Mike Agnew had this to say about the course:
“It really started way back with the movie The Big Blue. For decades, there was a niggling thought in the back of the mind that I really was meant to be a dolphin. Then came PADI, promoting their Freediver courses, and I was hooked. 
Our Regional Manager Jen Clent organized a Freediver Instructor programme for Fiji. The course itself was brilliant. No other word for it. Adam was the ultimate professional, reminding us again and again to keep within our comfort level and enjoy ourselves. Our skills improved remarkably over the 5 days. He was an instructor to emulate, performing amazing feats with some of us students that had difficulties in some areas.
His two assistants for the course, Bryan Bailey from Blenheim Dive Centre and Mitch Bennett continued Adam’s calm philosophy of staying within your comfort zone and enjoying yourself, and were both fish-like compared to most of us clumsy, brick like swimmers.
So now my descent line is marked, my safety lanyard is made, and I can’t wait to get my hands on my first students!
Vinaka Adam, Bryan and Mitch!”
Divers on the Line
Jodie Bly –  “The course was exhilarating, scary but within my comfort zone, challenging and rewarding, practical and physical, seriousness with fun, competitive camaraderie. Adam and his team were awesome being both encouraging and patient, with lots of sound advice and suggestions.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be and being able to hold my breath for 3 minutes and 10 seconds was amazing, I never thought that would be possible for me.  Loved every second of it”.
Divers on the line and above
Ashwin Pal – “The first time I heard there would be a PADI Freediver course to be held in Fiji I was very excited and could not wait to start the course. I have always done freediving and spearfishing but have always wondered what I can do to extend my breath hold times and depth. The first day of my PADI Freediver course I learnt the different techniques of breathing to extend breath hold times. I would say I was an average student but with Adam, Mitch and Bryan’s help I could easily reach my goals. The entire PADI Freediver programme was very interesting and loads of fun. Now I can teach PADI Freediver courses, gain teaching experience and can’t wait to move on the next level of PADI Advanced Freediver. A big vinaka vakalevu (thank you) to Adam, Mitch and Bryan for taking the time coming to Fiji to help us Fijians becoming a PADI Freediver Instructors”.
Bryan ascending
Lani & Josh – “We loved the PADI Freediver programme. Adam is wonderful, very knowledgeable and extremely infectious. I found the training very challenging but in a good way. As a scuba diver I have always thought I was connected to my body but the freediver course taught me to develop this much much further. The techniques Adam taught us really helped build on our experience, understand why our bodies react in certain ways and how to communicate this to our future students.
Scuba diving for me is amazing, but less challenging as time goes on, I feel as though this course and certification has really opened up a whole new world, one that is just really taking off, I am so excited to be a part of it. It’s a new reason to get in the water, to view the underwater world from a new perspective, an exciting new way to challenge myself and a rewarding sport to teach”.
Karen Koens – “Super human Adam Stern, was strongly supported by Bryan and Mitch, who are both outstanding humans and Instructors themselves. The generosity from them to ensure PADI Freediver was brought to Fiji, and to give the locals a once in a lifetime opportunity was enthusiastically received by those of us fortunate to attend the course. Since then, my company Subsurface Fiji has become a PADI Freediver Centre. We are looking forward to help Fiji develop as a recognised and respected Freediving destination”.
Stefan Janjic – “Before starting the course I only had experience in “aggressive snorkelling” as Adam phrased it throughout our training sessions. I had managed to reach a maximum depth on a breath-hold dive of roughly 15 meters. With two days in a pool, and my second day in open water I went from being able to reach 15 meters as a difficult max to comfortably descending 26.5 meters, with only the reef as the limiting factor. I was even able to make a rescue from 15 meters, my former maximum in a calm and comfortable manner. The essential knowledge and skills I learned to train my mind and body to go deeper, coupled with how to deal with any potential risks in the sport gave me the confidence I needed to teach freediving. I am incredibly excited to start teaching this new water sport, and add to the list of ocean activities that we can offer at Kai Wai Ocean Sports”.
With such enthusiasm and passion for Fiji and it’s beautiful underwater paradise I can’t wait to see this destination develop and be added to every freedivers bucket-list!
After the training concluded Adam and Bryan spent a few days exploring the islands. Adam created a short video of his adventures on one breath which you can watch here.

PADI Freediver kickstarted in Fiji | PADI Pros Oceania

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Oxygen Seizures at PO2 ≤ 1.6 Bar: How Rare? - Shearwater Research

Interesting read, something not commonly taught...

beware of CO2!  If PO2 ≤ 1.6 bar and a diver is breathing easily, the risk of CNS oxygen seizure is extremely low unless the scrubber breaks through

Oxygen Seizures at PO2 ≤ 1.6 Bar: How Rare? - Shearwater Research

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Best Hotels For Diving in Fiji

Tokoriki Island View | Courtesy of Tokoriki Island Resort

The Best Hotels For Diving in Fiji

"Plunge into a colourful scuba diving holiday in the Fiji Islands by staying at a dive resort. Fiji is famous for its scuba diving sites – warm, clear waters with an abundance of tropical fish and colourful soft coral. Dive resorts are designed with the scuba diver in mind, bringing guests the best spots in the South Pacific. Here’s our guide to the best hotels for diving in Fiji.


The Best Hotels For Diving in Fiji: