Monday, 26 January 2009

In Memory of an Ocean Champion and Fearless Friend Vasemaca Rarabici

In Memory of an Ocean Champion and Fearless Friend

Vasemaca Rarabici

Fiji Program Associate, Asia Pacific Program, SeaWeb

May 17, 1975 – December 30, 2008

Vasemaca with daughter Annie

Va Rarabici with her daughter, Annie. Suva, Fiji, April 2008. Betty Oala, SeaWeb

Vasemaca Rarabici joined SeaWeb in early 2007 after a successful career as a journalist in Fiji, where she worked for the three local daily newspapers and rose to the rank of deputy editor of the Fiji Sun and later the Sunday editor of the Fiji Times. At SeaWeb, Va discovered a powerful outlet for her love of her islands and for her well-honed communication skills. Indeed, despite a prolonged illness, Va’s passion and dedication helped build a foundation for SeaWeb’s success in the Asia Pacific for years to come.

For those who knew her, Va’s powerful personality and energy were inescapable. Va was a force of nature­–a bright, laughing, creative, determined force. And that laugh was loud, wonderfully loud, and infectious. Even if you got used to it, it still caught you off guard with its abundance of energy and joy. Indeed, Va was a rare person: intense yet lighthearted, focused yet free-spirited, she inspired the people around her and held our Asia Pacific team together.

Va accomplished much. As the heartfelt messages from our partners in Fiji illustrate (some comments enclosed below), people deeply appreciated her work and her efforts. With Va’s guidance, community leaders, scientists and government officials in Fiji have become stalwart spokespeople for the oceans and for protecting Pacific places and traditions. While SeaWeb as an organization is skilled in communications, we were not experts in the culture of Fiji. When our Asia Pacific Program first began, Va’s understanding of what would resonate in her home islands and her many strong relationships in the communities made this program successful.Truly, Va has helped elevate the discussion of ocean issues in Fiji at a phenomenal pace. We have never seen as much media coverage of ocean issues in Fiji as we do today.

Read full tribute page for Va here: SeaWeb - Ocean Voices

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Underwater Photo Competitions & Contests |

Attention photographers and videographers: the deadlines for the Our World-Underwater and Deep Indonesia contests are this week - 15th January 2009.

With over $75,000 of world-class prizes, major industry involvement, and the opportunity to have your images showcased to the world as some of the best, these competitions can not be missed. Prizes include premium dive travel, underwater photo and video equipment, scuba diving gear and more!

Underwater Photo Competitions & Contests |

Fiji Partners with Sport Diver Magazine | Dive Travel Newswire

The Fiji Islands Visitors Bureau Americas is partnering with Sport Diver Magazine to produce a virtual destination tour of Fiji, which will launch next month. The Bureau has identified the dive market as one with significant opportunities for Fiji and has identified the online medium as one representing a cost effective and comprehensive way of reaching this market.

The tour will be supported by an online marketing program, which will include the following key elements: Virtual Fiji Me destination tour during a 12-month period; Enhanced e-brochure for 12 months; Homepage leader board banner for two months; homepage lead feature for two months and an E-newsletter program.

The program will also be supported by the Bureau’s wholesaler partner plans media and Fiji Matai trade familiarization trips this year and in the first and second quarter of 2009. The virtual destination tour will be hosted on from June, 2008 to June, 2009. For more information, visit

Fiji Partners with Sport Diver Magazine | Dive Travel Newswire

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Fiji’s Tourism industry has been largely unaffected by the recent flooding

20th of January 2009


Tourism Fiji in collaboration with key industry partners including the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association (FIHTA), Society of Fiji Travel Associates (SOFTA) and Air Pacific confirmed that the necessary infrastructure, facilities and equipment to operate Fiji’s Tourism industry has been largely unaffected by the recent flooding with only minor damage reported by member Hotels, Resorts, Transport, Transfer and Cruise Operators, and International and Domestic airlines.

The industry is unified in its efforts and working hard to reassure visitor’s considering travel to Fiji to take advantage of Fiji’s tropical climate, excellent deals and of course to enjoy Fiji’s biggest asset – it’s warm, friendly people.

Key strategies to lure visitors to our shores include wide ranging familiarization visits commencing early next week to key tourism areas by prominent Travel Wholesalers, Travel Agents and Trade Press to demonstrate first hand the experiences Fiji has to offer. This will be followed up by great value holiday deals initially in the key source markets of Australia and New Zealand driven by Tourism Fiji and its partners.

In a meeting with the Minister for Tourism on Monday, the Minister reinforced his support for the industry and assured stakeholders that Government will facilitate road upgrading and other necessary infrastructure works to key Tourism areas as a priority. Government recognizes the resilience of the Tourism industry, its ability to quickly facilitate economic recovery, and its widespread importance to the local community.

The private sector continues to invest heavily in the industry with new hotel developments coming on line this year and new routes being opened up by Air Pacific.

Fiji’s Tourism Industry offers a wide range of Holiday experiences for local and international tourists, and support to Fiji’s tourism industry is critical to generate important foreign exchange enabling assistance to areas that have sustained damage by flooding.

The Tourism industry acknowledges and thanks the support offered by Government and global industry partners and will continue to cooperate closely with key stakeholders to achieve targeted visitor arrivals. The industry also realizes the importance of working with the media and seeks their support in the recovery process.

For further information please contact:

Mr Josefa Tuamoto
Chief Executive Officer
Tourism Fiji
Phone:    6722433   

Fiji The Final Stop -

Fiji – The final stop

I'm playing darts at the Yacht Club in Savusavu, Fiji. It's filled with expats from around the globe. Around me are ex-doctors, ex-bankers, ex-wanderers, a plumber, my divemaster and a bunch of other escape artists who have found their bliss on this South Pacific isle. They have great stories, all with one familiar narrative thread — after traveling the world, Fiji stopped their feet or stilled their sails long enough to put down roots. I've never met as happy a bunch of souls in all my travels. And why shouldn't they be? As I explore the less populated of Fiji's two main islands, Vanua Levu, I meet probably the friendliest people on Earth, a culture that cherishes its family-centric roots. It's a natural wonderland that captivates at every turn — especially at every fin kick.

When I ask about living in Fiji, I'm told one thing matters: freehold property. Most of Fiji's property remains owned by local villages, and that property is leasehold. With freehold, you own it. You can pass it down to family, generation after generation. And, yes, they tell me, "Even Americans can own property here." I come to learn that only about 7 to 9 percent of all of Fiji's land is freehold, but on an island nation as large as Fiji (an archipelago of 330 islands), that's still plenty.

On my way back to the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort where I'm staying, my head spins with the possibility of a life of Gilligan in a tropical Pacific garden. When I head out on the dive boat the next morning, my imagination settles upon every inch of coastline, every small isle, open patches in the rainforest, everything that looks like it might make a dream homesite.

The clincher comes, though, after the giant stride. We've traveled to Namena Island — Namenalala in the local vernacular — about 40 minutes from Savusavu. This private 110-acre island sits in the middle of a 30-mile-long coral barrier reef ring filled with some of Fiji's most pristine dive areas.

We descend through a huge aggregation of swirling barracuda onto Grand Central Station. The site's name must not have come with difficulty. Rush hour pervades the water column and the reefscape. A parade of pelagics — trevally, jacks, dogtooth tuna — fill the area with movement. We spy a large zebra shark napping on the sand under a bright-red, 10-foot sea fan. But our eyes stay mostly in the blue over the drop-off. Gray reefs, a big, king-of-the-world hammerhead and whitetip reef sharks constantly patrol as we dive. Even a lone manta swims by.

Our second dive, Chimneys, a trio of coral bommies makes Grand Central Station seem like the sleepy side of town. Here, the colorful compete with the weird, wild and wacky. Soft corals — small thickets of red, yellow, orange and purple — hide medieval-looking blue ribbon eels, banded pipefish, fat groupers and some of the 1,000 resident invertebrates. Gray and whitetip reef sharks meander throughout. I could stay all day atop the bommies immersed in the clouds of purple anthias, which look like leaves caught in a perpetual wind, and carpets of anemones and their resident namesake fish. And this is just the tip of the Namena adventure wand.

Although the week brings piles of great diving and adventures, my search for a perfect paradise is settled during the first two overwhelming hours spent underwater. During my last night at the Yacht Club, everyone gives advice. For them it boils down to a statement made by a Brit expat named Trevor, who sailed in and stayed. "Mate," he says, "it's about life, then, init? A good, simple, remarkable, 'appy and fulfilling life. Just gotta 'ave your priorities on straight then. Right?"

The words brought a round of cheers. And in that moment, I realize that life could be lived in a tropical dream of blue and green, of sand and breeze, of peace and poetic ease. And that such places exist in the world.

Quick Guide
Decide which part of Fiji you want to travel to, then visit to find the closest PADI Dive Center (several dozen are scattered throughout Fiji). If Savusavu is it, check out Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands resort ( Find more information through Fiji's official tourism site ( Learn about residency, citizenship by investment and business opportunities by visiting Fiji Islands Real Estate ( Expat information can be found at

Fiji The Final Stop -

Monday, 19 January 2009

Imagine this could be yours Ad

California Diving News - The Premier Website for California Divers

After being a staple magazine in California dive stores for 25 years, CDN creates a strong online presencewith its newly revamped website.

California Diving News is proud to announce a newly redesigned The newest version will include a searchable database featuring articles dating back to the inception of the magazine over 20 years ago. The new site will also include a searchable database of stores and boats throughout California and surrounding states. The dive boat trip calendar, an immensely popular feature on its previous sites and in the magazine itself, has also become much more user friendly. The site was designed to let any diver, California native or potential California visitor, research dive sites, locate a store or look up a boat trip, all in one place.

When designing the site, CDN wanted to put the most amount of information possible at the diver’s fingertips. “There have been so many good articles published in CDN over the years, we wanted a way to let everybody out there access it,” said marketing director Christopher D. Sheckler. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to learn about the hundreds of dive sites that are along the shores of California. We really believe this is the premier website for California divers. Finally, one website has just about anything you wanted to know about California scuba diving.”

The site also includes past articles about diving techniques, photography, marine life and gear reviews, written by regular contributors such as Bruce Watkins, Nancy Vander Velde, Bonnie Cardone, Ken Kurtis and Dale and Kim Sheckler.

“We also designed the site for our advertisers to market themselves through banner ads. So not only is this a great tool for divers, it’s a great tool for our advertisers to connect to the ever growing population of divers on the web.”

Visit the new California Diving News website at or for more information e-mail:

California Diving News - The Premier Website for California Divers

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Fiji Scuba Diving in Vanua Levu by Adventure Brat

This is Fiji’s second largest Island with several untouched sites for those wishing to venture off from their Fiji diving resort.

There is a lot of great Fiji dive resorts around Savusavu Bay which has great underwater scenery and a diverse fish population.

Experienced divers looking for a good drift dive head toward Nasonisoni Passage. Here you can expect to find a fast drift dive through a narrow current swept channel.

Dreadlocks is a great place to check out tiny underwater critters and can appeal to all skill levels for.

Another heroic Fiji dive spot is Barracuda Point and yes, as the name implies you are likely to spot schools of barracudas around 25 meters.

Fiji Dive Resorts by Adventure Brat

Fiji Scuba Diving In Taveuni by Adventure Brat

Rain forests, waterfalls and all things tropic. Taveuni is often called the garden island for obvious reasons and you can expect the same thing underwater. The Somosomo Strait has achieved Shangri-la status in the diving community from the narrow stretch of ocean that is funneled between Taveuni and Vanua. This Fiji scuba dive area is dubbed rainbow reef and you can expect to find lots of vertical walls. At the beginning of Somosomo Strait you will find one of Fiji’s signature dives called the great white wall. Here you find an incredible wall and drift dive with lots of white coral (kinda lavender) that resembles a snow caped ski slope. Not far from here you will hit Rainbow Passage with features like large reefs and marine life in every color of the rainbow. This is truely a great place to check in to many Fiji dive resorts.
Drift dives are some of the best diving in Fiji and a great experience and the sights are usually a bit more exotic since the currents brig life to the coral from channeling nutrients their way. Most of the Fiji diving resorts keep a close eye on inexperianced divers. When the current flows the corals bloom into their beauty. Drift dives in Fiji usually take place along a large stretch of ocean and a boat follows the divers progression and bubbles. If you have the experience it might not be a bad idea to embark on a drift dive when you are staying at a Fiji dive resort

Fiji Dive Resorts by Adventure Brat

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Indian Ocean - South-East Asian Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding

Fiji: Marama ni Yadua swims on

The 88 cm female hawksbill turtle satellite tagged on Denimanu in Yadua continues to transmit her location after a period of 170 days.

From the latest map illustrating her movements, Marama ni Yadua appears to be a resident of Vatuka reef.
This reef has been under protection over the past six years and is a site which was proposed to be protected for a further 10 years at a recent workshop at Naduri, Macuata.

Her movements indicate a high possibility of it being a home for turtles in the area and authorities are excited at this information.

Marama ni Yadua was satellite tagged on the January 13, 2008 by the National Trust of Fiji in collaboration with WWF, NOAA, SPREP and the community of Denimanu, after having nested on the protected island of Yadua Taba.
Trust officer, Jone Niukula, reported, "The latest map showing her movements will excite the community as they had thought it to be an unforgettable experience and it will be good to know that she continues to swim on around surrounding waters."

It is highly probable that having laid her eggs in January, Marama ni Yadua is now feeding off of the coral reefs within the Great Sea Reef or Cakaulevu an area thought to be the 3rd longest barrier reef in the world.

WWF Marine Program Officer, Sainivalati Navuku says, "This information will greatly assist us in determining areas that can be suggested to the relevant authorities for protection due to its function as a key nesting and feeding area for hawksbill turtles."

Turtles in Fiji are protected through the moratorium now enforced by the Department of Fisheries.

Indian Ocean - South-East Asian Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding

Thursday, 8 January 2009


… was inspired by the finding that at the current rate, common shark species will be extinct
in 10 to 15 years. In large regions, species that were once numerous have fallen to 1% of
their original numbers. Studies of open ocean sharks estimate 80 to 90% of heavily fished
species are gone. Yet these intelligent animals, also called the “Wolves of the Sea” are still
fished intensively, and finned for “shark fin soup.” The oceans have evolved over hundreds of
millions of years with sharks as apex predators, so their loss will destroy oceanic health.


Click To Enter

2009 - Year Of The Shark

2009 - Year Of The Shark


… was inspired by the finding that at the current rate, common shark species will be extinct
in 10 to 15 years. In large regions, species that were once numerous have fallen to 1% of
their original numbers. Studies of open ocean sharks estimate 80 to 90% of heavily fished
species are gone. Yet these intelligent animals, also called the “Wolves of the Sea” are still
fished intensively, and finned for “shark fin soup.” The oceans have evolved over hundreds of
millions of years with sharks as apex predators, so their loss will destroy oceanic health.


Click To Enter

2009 - Year Of The Shark

Scuba Diving in Fiji, including Beqa Lagoon/Pacific Harbor, Kadavu, Laucala, Nananu-I Ra, Taveuni and Matangi -- an Undercurrent Insider Report

Overview of Fiji

For left coasters, it takes about the same amount of time to get to Fiji as it does to the Caribbean: 10 hours nonstop from L.A. Prices are comparable and air packages can include New Zealand/Australia extensions at little extra cost. Fijians are polite, friendly, modest, and religious, so watch your language, and wear nonrevealing clothes to town. Wetsuits are staples yearround; currents add coolness and in some places they're vigorous, so carry surface signaling devices. In September 2004, American Dan Grenier, the former operator of Crystal Divers, disappeared with another diver while leading divers from Bamboo Reef Resort on Nananu-I-Ra The weather can be stormy June through September; short, heavy showers are possible any afternoon year-round, especially around Beqa Lagoon. The year-round average temperature is 80 or above; nights average 69 degrees in winter.

Fiji Seasonal Dive Planner

Fiji's weather presents a real mixed bag. The choice is often between good visibility and cool water or warm water and calmer seas with less visibility. June through October is the dry season when the water is the clearest, but it's also at its coldest and the winds kick up. Water temperatures can sink into the low 70s during this time of the year, making it necessary to drag out the full wetsuits. November brings a transition period. The water warms up, the winds die down, and the plankton blooms, lowering the visibility. By January and February, the water has warmed back up into the low 80s. The rains pick up and the hurricane season is on (December through March). Counting Tonga and Samoa, the area gets about five cyclones a year. It's a risky time to try to catch good diving weather. Because the winds kick up so much in February and March, some resorts pick these months to close down for repairs. During April and May, the wind, and therefore the seas, become calmer and the water remains warm, but the plankton bloom cuts down on the underwater visibility. Of course, this offers the best odds of seeing large plankton eaters. The best time to go depends on your preferences: warm, calmer, cloudy seas, or clear but cold water.

Scuba Diving in Fiji, including Beqa Lagoon/Pacific Harbor, Kadavu, Laucala, Nananu-I Ra, Taveuni and Matangi -- an Undercurrent Insider Report

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Hiking and National Parks in Fiji

There are over 100 species of birds in Fiji. The main island of Viti Levu has many species of birds, especially around the rainforests along the coral coast and Pacific Harbour.

Kadavu, a large rainforested island in the Southern Islands, has a number of stunning musk parrots as well as unique species of fantails and honeyeaters.

Taveuni in the Northern Islands has a diverse bird life including
parrots and lorikeets. Endangered silktails can be found in the south eastern region of neighbouring Vanua Levu.

There are several small islands that have been declared as Nature Reserves for birds, particularly nesting boobies.

These include the 45-hectare Namenalala Island off Vanua Levu in the Northern Islands,

Mabualau near Toberua Island in Lomaiviti, Bird Island off Vatulele in the Southern Islands and Hatana Island off Rotuma.

Qamea, a large volcanic island off Taveuni in the Northern Islands is another good spot for exploring and bird watching.

Hiking and National Parks in Fiji

Tagging turtles for a wedding - Fiji Times Online

Monday, March 03, 2008,KESAIA TABUNAKAWAI
On the dusky evening of Thursday December 27, to the whooshing sounds of many pairs of legs wading through knee high waters, two tagged 75kg green turtles were released into the incoming tide of the mangrove lined bay of Ligaulevu Village on Mali. 
With cries of 'go turtle go','la'o vonu la'o' and 'moce' we watched the pair flap their flippers free as the hands pulling them along let go. My gaze followed their underwater path through the ripples on the water surface, and once, their pointed heads bobbed out of the water, for a moment, to take in air before going forward.

The tag and release of turtles was a wedding day wish for Leone Vokai of Ligaulevu Village on Mali and Sally Bailey of Saint Brides Major of Wales. This was a show of the continuing passion the couple have to the protection of biodiversity, and turtles in particular. In my mind, it is a mark of young people taking action in what they believe in.
"Young Fijians are travelling and learning new things, gaining more appreciation of the beautiful environment of our country. Some like Leone are taking action personally and encouraging his community to do the same," observed a cousin of Leone's.

To an uncle, a sister's son's wish, especially for his wedding is a mission to be accomplished. Forty-two-year-old Ifereimi Daumaka, Leone's uncle, went turtle fishing for a day and caught the turtles on the wide reef flats of Cakaulevu, opposite Mali Island.

It is suspected that this time is the first time in the history of Mali Island, that turtles caught did not end up in the pot.

"The turtles were caught the old fashioned way," remarked a proud Ifereimi.

"The fishermen cruise the reef tops looking. Once spotted, the boat follows the turtle until it is alongside it, then the fishermen dive in to catch the turtle," Ifereimi added. As I watched the wedding preparation unfold, it became obvious to me that this was also a celebration of the connectivity between the people of Mali and their biological resource. The wedding garments came from the bark of the masi tree, of which a plantation grew nearby; the salusalus, from the inner bark of the vau tree, and the many aromatic flowers, fruits and leaves that abound on the island; the mirror like sheen on the bare shoulders of members of the wedding party was scented coconut oil; the layers of finely woven mats in the wedding house and in the church were from kuta (a wetland grass) and voivoi (pandanus leaves), large plantations of which surround the village. The black design on the mats were of pandanus leaves soaked and cooked in black mud with branches of a local swamp plant.

The wedding feast, a variety of fish and shellfish (some of which came all the way from Wales, pickled) was a display of the bounty of the sea around Mali. I did wonder how many of the big fishes on the table grew in the safety of the marine protected areas within the Mali qoliqoli. It is over three years since the elders of the iqoliqoli declared nine sections of the iqoliqoli as marine protected areas, where no fishing is allowed. I am certain that the rules of use of the iqoliqoli set in place in 2004 had something to do with the sizes and volume of sea food enjoyed during the wedding celebration.

The people of the district or tikina Mali along with people of tikina Dreketi, Macuata and Sasa share a common traditional fishing ground. This stretches from Nakalou Village by the mouth of the Dreketi River to Korotubu Village near Labasa and over the waters to Kia and Mali islands.

On neighbouring Kia Island, a female turtle came ashore in 2006 to nest on the beach in front of the school in Ligau, after a long time with no nesting turtles recorded for this beach. In 2007 a second female came onto a beach on the other side of the island.

In June 2007, Ligau villagers committed Ligau beach as a monitoring site. Additionally, Mokanivonu, a sunken patch reef near Nakalou Village is a resting and sleeping area for turtles, according to the villagers.

I saw what I think was disbelief on the faces of some of the villagers when they realised the landed turtles under the mango trees were to be let go back into the sea.

This is understandable, with the time it took to catch and the cost of the fuel used in catching the turtles.
This act and the questions arising in the minds of the Mali islanders, provided the opportunity to talk about the fragility of the lifecycle of the turtle.

A number of Ligaulevu villagers are now wiser to the choice made by the couple to tag and release the turtles.
The number on the tag is given to the Ministry of Fisheries where a database of all turtles tagged in Fiji is kept.
Our Ministry of Fisheries work with SPREP ( South Pacific Environment Program) on tagging turtles. Fishermen catching tagged turtles are asked to inform the Ministry of the tag number and where the turtle was seen or caught. Today, very little is known about the movement of 'Fiji turtles' in Fiji waters.

Collecting information on the sightings of turtles will tell us how far turtles travel around Fiji and even in and around the Pacific. We know from satellite tagging and titanium flipper tagging, that turtles from Samoa, the Cook Islands and even Hawaii travel to Fiji to feed in extensive seagrass fields within inshore waters. The seagrass beds in the fishing areas along the Macuata coast in particular is a popular feeding ground for green and hawksbill turtles.
The endangered Pacific Leatherback turtle, known to nest only in the 'Coral Triangle' countries of PNG, Solomon Islands and in West Papua, was reported to nest on Vatulele, a couple of years ago. In the past 2 years, there have been sightings of this giant of a turtle in Kubulau.

These magnificent turtles are moving into Fiji may be because they have strayed from their normal route.
I would like to think they are moving to Fiji waters because the conditions here are getting more conducive to their cycle of life.

The 'Coral Triangle' is the world's epicenter of marine life abundance and diversity.

The richness of coral, fish and other species is so high that the region is sometimes referred to as the "Amazon of the Seas".

This triangular shaped region covers all or part of the seas of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

Fiji is part of 'WWFs Coral Triangle Initiative' which also includes the neighboring countries of Australia and Fiji, which contains rich coral biodiversity as well, but with somewhat lower numbers known to science.

Sally is a Marine Program manager with the WWF office in the United Kingdom and Leone is a diver. With both their lives rotating around the ocean they believe in protecting the marine life.

Kesaia Tabunakawai, WWF Fiji country manager was a guest at the wedding.

Tagging turtles for a wedding - Fiji Times Online

Fiji featuring this year at OZTeK'09

OZTeK goes to the Movies
The OZTeK’09 Dive Exhibition and Conference finishes on a high note with, for Conference Pass Holders and Gala Dinner guests, a special screening of Howard and Michele Hall’s latest underwater IMAX spectacular, “Under The Sea 3D”, a movie that’s presently in post-production and that’s scheduled for release in mid-March.
Courtesy of the LG IMAX theatre, the complementary screening of “Under The Sea 3D” will begin at 6pm on Sunday 22nd March, (following the close of the conference at 5pm) and be introduced by OZTeK’09 presenter, Dr Mark Spencer.
Narrated by Jim Carrey, and with some of the most beautiful and exciting images of marine life ever captured in the IMAX format, the screening of, “Under The Sea 3D” will immediately precede the OZTeK’09 Gala Awards Dinner, to be held at nearby, ‘Dockside Cockle Bay’, in Darling Harbour, just one-minute’s walk away from the IMAX theatre.
A superb venue with scenic water views and the perfect place to relax and socialise with the OZTeK’09 speakers and presenters, a highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the OZTeK’09 Awards to celebrate the achievements and endeavours of Australia’s leading Divers and Dive Industry personnel; those people who are pushing back the boundaries of knowledge and exploration, and whose efforts are leading to the development and use of new diving technologies. 
A ticketed event that is open to all, tickets to the OZTeK’09 Awards Dinner cost just $125.00 and includes the special IMAX theatre presentation, followed by a three-course dinner and drinks and the opportunity to win further great prizes in the Lucky Draws.
For further information on all that’s happening at OZTeK’09 – including the Gala Awards Dinner - please visit the website at: , or contact the organisers at:

Monday, 5 January 2009

TRIP REPORT Moody's Namena Resort - October 12-22, 2006

Author: Sue Williams
Location: Fiji
Date: 5/27/2008 1:21:00 PM

Pristine coral reefs.
Beach with Tongan pumice.
Beach with Tongan pumice.

PURPOSE: Experience the world class snorkeling and nature. We were not disappointed.

BEST TIME TO GO: Emailed the resort (in December 2006) and asked the best time to come for optimal snorkeling conditions, we could come ANYTIME. Joan Moody (owner), replied that October was the best month for snorkeling. So, we made our reservations for October.

WEATHER: Was rotten, such is life. 20-30 mph winds and occasional rain for 8.5 days. We had 1.5 days of sun with gentle breezes. When the sun came out and the wind died down it was heaven.

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS: Did it all myself, direct, online, with a credit card. Emailed the resorts to ask questions. Travel was smooth. I like having the print-out of confirmation emails, etc.

Research tools below (dont forget to delete from your browser temporary internet files, cookies, and history, frequently):

try the month long search for the days they fly to Fiji and the cheapest days.

Forums and descriptions (just a sample):

Also compare prices at a few travel agencies to see if they can give you a better deal than you can find on your own.

FLIGHTS: 1. Los Angeles (LAX) to Nadi, Fiji (NAN) on Air Pacific, $1,100 person round trip (RT). 2. Nadi (NAN) to Savusavu (SVU) on Sun Air, $200 per person RT. Made reservations directly with Air Pacific on their website. Joan Moody made the reservations for our Sun Air flight to/from Savusavu. To reach the domestic terminal in Nadi, Fiji, just go outside and it is but a few minutes walk along the sidewalk in front of the terminals. I made our reservations in January 2006 with Air Pacific and Moodys. There was an airfare sale in August 2006 for $798 RT LAX to NAN. That was the cheapest airfare within that 10-month time frame.

1. LAX to NAN (and return) try to get seats where you can lay down to sleep (back of the plane). Took Ambien, it worked but I did not sleep well because I couldnt lie down. If my husband and I can get an aisle and a window together (empty seat between us) we can take turns laying down. We got seats with plenty of leg room, but the armrests did not fold up. Food on airplane was, well, airplane food, barely edible. We had noise-canceling headphones (Bose). We could read and relax. You will still hear things, but it is muted.

2. For the domestic flight, Sun Air, they not only weighed our luggage but they also weighed us! We had to stand on the scale with our carry-on bags. Sun Air left an hour earlier than scheduled, so, check in as soon as you can, and stay close. On the return flight we were bumped, twice, because there were a lot of Namale Resort guests flying to Nadi. But, we were only delayed about 45 minutes. Sun Air brought in another plane, a 9 passenger plane, for my husband and I, and a family of 4. This small plane was actually much newer and nicer than the larger one we flew over on. We had a smoother ride as well. Had to pay for overweight luggage (Sun Air) on return from SVU to NAN, $30 total (this is common on small planes).

Returning home we had about an 8-hour wait in Nadi before our 10 p.m. departure NAN to LAX. Got a day room at Tanoa International. They will pick you up at the airport and give you a ride back (or a taxi ride is $5). We had lunch and went to bed. Got up, took a shower, and headed to the airport about 8 p.m. I highly recommend doing this. We do not like to shop and there really wasnt anything else we wanted to do in that time frame. We had bought Fiji souvenirs on our previous trip in 2000.

Returning home to LAX, we decided to just stay the night and not worry about how long customs would take, making our connecting flight, etc. Stayed at Doubletree Hotel Los Angeles Airport. We highly recommend it. Clean, comfortable, quiet. Food in bar was great. There is nothing like that first hamburger when you get back to the States. BOAT

RIDE: Moodys arranged for us to be picked up at Savusavu Airport (very small and primitive) by taxi and taken to the boat dock. Boat ride was 2.5 to 3 hours in extremely rough seas. The boat captain said it was as rough as it gets, lucky us. That was one wild ride. Take something for motion sickness, you may not need it, but better safe than sorry.

RESORT: Cost for 10 days $2,365 x 2 = $4,730. Gorgeous island with astonishingly beautiful beaches. Because it is up on a ridge the views are fantastic. Lushly vegetated (native and introduced), lots of tall trees. The owners, Tom and Joan Moody, are kind and thoughtful, they take care of everything for you.

The bures are attractive and comfortable. Beautifully maintained inside and out. The towels may not match and some have holes in them, but they are clean. Toilets are flushed with seawater into a standard septic system, water for showers, sinks, and drinking is rainwater collected from the roof and stored in a cistern. Shower and sinks have hot water.

Each bure is a self-contained unit. All bures have propane lights (easy to light), some have solar lights, and 2 flashlights. Water pressure was low in our shower, but we had hot water. Your bure has a one-burner propane stove to heat up a hot water kettle for tea and coffee (instant). The floor boards are spaced with a narrow gap in between them (so the bures wont be blown away during cyclones).

To sum up the experience, think of upscale camping with a bed, running water, showers, and flush toilets. Deck around bure for sitting, lounging, tanning, bird watching, reading, and also armchair snorkeling. When on the deck of our bure, number 1, we could look down on the coral reef. I saw a turtle one day, and a giant triggerfish another day. Birds were always flying by, see below for list. Bats fly by in the evening. The wildlife comes to you.

FOOD: Set meal times: 8:00 a.m. breakfast, 12 noon lunch, between 6-7 p.m. dinner. If you get to the dining bure early (before dinner) there is usually a snack chips and salsa, popcorn, cheese and crackers. It is good food (not gourmet), and beautifully presented. John (waiter, etc.) always folded the napkins differently every meal. Mostly Americanized recipes, some Fijian, and some Indian. Lots of variation: Fresh baked bread (white bread) at every meal, fresh fruit and fruit juice for breakfast, eggs cooked to order or pancakes or cinnamon rolls, and coffee. Lunch was soup, sandwiches or lasagna or quesadillas or tacos. Dinner was beef or lamb or fish or chicken, vegetables, salads, and dessert. Ice water with all meals. John is very attentive and always remembers your name, refills your water glass, removes your plate, etc.

COMMUNAL TABLES AT MEALS: There are 2 large round tables in the main dining bure. With a lazy-susan in the center of each table where the serving bowls and platters are placed, and you just spin it to get to whatever dish you want and serve yourself. Everyone sits where they want. My husband and I really enjoyed eating with everyone else and talking. We would compare what marine life we had seen and just visit with each other. The resort was full most of the time we were there (12 guests); one German couple, the rest Americans. Most of the guests were divers. The divers said the diving doesnt get any better than Namena, now we would be spoiled for life. Tom Moody (owner) is a wonderful conversationalist, I enjoyed listening to his stories. Since the weather was so bad this was sometimes the highlight of our day!

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: There is a refrigerator in the dining room stocked with beer, wine, soft drinks, fruit juice, water take what you want (or ask John) and write it down on your running tab on the bar. For my husband and I we would both have a beer at lunch (Fiji Bitter), and a glass or 2 of wine at dinner. At the end of 10 days our bar bill was $196. Very reasonable for a resort. You might want to bring a bottle of vodka, or whatever, if you like mixed drinks (it would be less expensive). Moodys provides the ice and mixers.

Here are some good photos of the resort on

NATURE SNORKELING: OUTSTANDING, despite the weather. Variety and health of coral (hard and soft) impressed me the most. The snorkeling along shore on either side of the dock was excellent. The farther you swim away from the dock (along the shore) the better it gets. There are some cement steps off the dock to enter and exit the water. Also staff will take you in a small boat and drop you off at one end of the reef and you snorkel back to the dock with the current. The coral reef along the shore is very shallow and the drop off is gradual. We had our own snorkeling guide, Jonah, he would stay with us when we went on the dive boat to the outer reef and went with us a couple of times along the shore in a small outboard motor boat. Jonah would help us in the water, help us out of the water, remove our fins for us before we got back in the boat, and stay with us while snorkeling. He made sure we were safe. Yes, we were SO spoiled! Water was cold, wore lycra dive skins, could have used a wet suit on top of that. Could not snorkel the other side of the island (the side with the beaches) ocean conditions were too rough.

Fish, we saw just about everything in the fish guides: Groupers, anthias, cardinalfish, batfish, butterflyfish, angelfish, anemonefishes, wrasses, parrotfish, blennies, surgeonfishes, unicornfish, triggerfish, puffer and boxfish. You might want to bring your own fish identification guides. Went on the dive boat to the outer reef twice. Small platform on back of boat for getting into the water and a ladder for getting back into the boat. WOW! The Grand Canyon dive site was awesome. On one side is a pristine coral reef (at water level).

On the other side, a drop off into the abyss; saw giant groupers and parrotfish, sea snake, white-tipped reef sharks, turtles. I was mesmerized I have never seen such a coral reef, like a garden. We have been snorkeling to: Maui, Hawaii, Akumal, Mexico, Bonaire, and Beqa Island, Fiji. Fiji has the healthiest marine environment of all, and I believe the best snorkeling. Saw lots of sharks! My husband and I had never seen sharks while snorkeling, and we never wanted to see sharks while snorkeling. The very first time in the water I saw a black-tipped reef shark about 2 feet long. Every other time we went in, except once, we saw either black-tipped or white-tipped reef sharks (4-6 feet long). I know it is an example of a healthy coral reef ecosystem (having sharks). As Tom Moody said, it is JUST a shark! They are magnificent animals and I am glad I saw them.

GEAR: We brought all our own snorkeling gear. Dive shop doesnt have anything to sell, it is just for storing the diving gear. Bring anti-fog stuff for your mask.

We tried the McNett Sea Gold anti-fog gel this time and it works the best of anything we have tried:

Also bought new fins, Apollo bio-fin pro. It was a real splurge but so worth it. Especially with strong currents:

Saturday, 3 January 2009

DDNet Trip Report: Garden Isle Resort

DDNet Trip Report
Where: Taveuni Fiji
When: 05/02/2004 - 05/16/2004
By: Tortuga
Type: Land based
Accomodations: Garden Isle Resort
Dive operator: Aqua Trek / Swiss Fiji Divers
Overall photography friendliness: Excellent
Camera tables/prep area: Not applicable
Camera rinse tanks: Average
Charging facilities: Not applicable
Voltage: 220-240 AC

So many new things. I’d never been below the equator. Never crossed the dateline. Never seen soft coral in such abundance. The 2004 Digital Shootout was held on the island of Taveuni in Fiji. This was a chance for me to do these things, meet a couple of DNNers and hopefully learn something about using my camera. Success!

We stayed at the Garden Isle Resort on Taveuni, which was fantastic. The people that worked there knew every one of our names by the second day and would great us with a “Bula!” and a bright smile every day. They had never had a group of this size visit before. There were 50 attendees and maybe 10 staff. A few too many for the resort to handle evidently since one guy had to stay at a resort up the road and they had to borrow 2 boats and crew from Swiss Fiji Divers to handle the diving. But they did it well and with smiles on their faces.

Rand and I were there almost a week early so we were able to experience the resort and dive sites with and without the Shootout crowd. Both were exceptional.

When we arrived there was a full moon, so we experienced the currents at their strongest. Good news for the spectacular soft coral exhibitions – they open to feed during the strong currents - but difficult for photography. As our 2 weeks sped by, the currents lessened until it was relatively non-existent by the last days.

The entire reef we were diving was called Rainbow Reef. Individual dive sites on the reef had names like Great White Wall, Yellow Tunnel, Blue Ribbon Eel Reef, and Jack’s Place. The Great White wall was the most famous and with good reason. Right off the boat, you drop to about 40fsw, and enter a tunnel that lets you out at about 75-80fsw. Here you are on a wall that is totally covered in white soft coral. When the current is strong here, it’s all you can do to just drift and marvel until it takes you around to another tunnel that will return you to the boat. When the current is weak, the top of the reef near the boat is a fun place to explore the hard and soft corals and plenty of little macro critters.

I alternated between shooting still and video on the dives. I tried to access the conditions of the dive and take the video when I thought the currents were strong. I wasn’t real successful at that.

It didn’t take long for the DMs to realize 3 things: We were all pretty good divers, we moved slowly, and we all were basically solo and just wanted them to be spotters. They were very accommodating. The briefing quickly became a sketch of the reef and the direction of the currents and maximum depths. We pretty much dove where we wanted and came up when we were done. Most of the time, we would stay in areas protected from the current and then do a safety stop at full current – 2001 space odyssey style. It was a little disconcerting at first to be tumbling alone in space in the open sea for 3 minutes or so but as I got used to it, it was fun. Once you came to the surface, the current was gone, and the boat would travel around picking up the divers scattered all over the ocean. There were never any swells, so it was easy enough to see the divers.

Another fun thing was going to a beach for our surface intervals. We could walk the beach, play with splits, snorkel, or eat cookies, papaya, and oranges. We usually did a little of each.

My only regret was that I didn’t bring a good laptop. Had I thought more seriously about the contest, I may have invested in one but as it was, I only had an old beater that had no screen resolution to speak of so I couldn’t even see my pix well enough to tell the good from the feeble. We were allowed to enter 12 and I only entered 5. Of those, there were three that embarrassed me when I got home and saw them on a real computer. But what do I know. One of those won an honorable mention. Go figure.

Here at home, when I load my kayak on the beach, I often have people see my camera system and ask if I am a professional photographer. On the boat at the Shootout, when the DM asked which camera was mine, I would have to mumble meekly, “It’s the little one in the corner.” Everything is relative. At first, I was asking everyone about their fancy dSLR rigs and contemplating a new purchase. Then, after a few days of seeing and hearing about the equipment problems they were having with those complicated buggers, I felt a little better about my 4 year old, simple Ikelite system with the ancient compact G2 inside. When I took a 2nd place with it, I was feeling a lot better. Not that I don’t still want a dSLR, I just feel better about waiting for them to get the bugs out and bring the price down.

Bottom line: Great time. Learned a lot. Wonderful locals. Helpful Shootout staff. Interesting group of photographers. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll do it again!

Welcome to!

Marine life grows in protected areas - Fiji Times Online

Marine life grows in protected areas

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Fiji's commitment to establish a Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network covering 30 per cent of the country's in-shore fisheries by 2020 could be realised earlier than expected.
This commitment made in January 2005 by the Government has resulted in more than 200 marine protected areas within Fiji's 410 customary fishing grounds, known as i qoliqoli. That's more than 50 per cent of the total target accomplished within just three years.
Conservationists are excited about the increase in the number of MPA's or fishing grounds that have been declared taboo by traditional owners. And they are targeting for more. Already surveys have shown that fish numbers and other marine resources are increasing in these taboo areas and many have dispersed to other areas, leading to increased catches and improved livelihoods especially amongst coastal communities, which makes up 60 per cent of Fiji's population.
Government's partnership with non-government organisation and the community to protect its marine environment for a sustainable future has challenged other pacific nations to do likewise.
This includes the "Micronesia Challenge" undertaken by Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands to protect 30 per cent of near-shore marine resources and 20 per cent of terrestrial resources on their islands by 2020.
More recently Kiribati has become a global conservation leader by establishing the world's largest marine protected area an ocean wilderness of pristine coral reefs and rich fish populations threatened by over-fishing and climate change.
In one of the first studies of its kind, The Nature Conservancy has worked with leading academics on a study that conclusively proves that marine protected areas (MPAs) can help alleviate poverty.
A MPA is an area of ocean or coastal water recognised by both government and society as having specific conservation value.
Measures are put in place to preserve the quality of marine life including restricted access for fishing, diving and other potentially harmful activities.
Governments around the world are wrestling with questions about whether investments in conservation benefit the lives of extremely impoverished people. The "Nature's Investment Bank" study provides new evidence that these investments do bring about measurable economic and quality of life benefits.
Co-authored by Nature Conservancy policy advisor Craig Leisher, Dutch economist Dr Peter van Beukering, and social scientist Dr Lea M. Scherl, this study found restoration of local resources be they fisheries or coral reefs increased fish catch and economic opportunities, improved community health, and directly enhanced the lives of local residents.
"When marine protected areas are developed with government support, scientific data, and are managed primarily by local communities that take pride in the management of their natural resources, significant improvements in quality of life can be seen," said Craig Leisher, co-author of the study.
As a Fijian community leader from Waiqanake Village, outside Suva, Weku Ratumainaceva said: "The marine protected area is like a bank to the people. Opening more branches of the bank in developing countries can contribute to coastal poverty reduction. By conserving marine resources, people will reap higher returns in the future."
The study findings demonstrate that opening more branches of the "bank" in developing countries can contribute to coastal poverty reduction. The study team conducted more than 1100 interviews within poor communities in four countries using rigorous scientific methodology endorsed by several leading environmental economists and social scientists analysed the effect of marine protected areas at four very different sites Navakavu a locally managed marine area outside Suva; Indonesia's Bunaken National Marine Park; a community marine conservation area in the Solomon islands and on Apo Island in the Philippines.
According to Nature Conservancy, the worldwide poverty crisis has risen to the forefront of global issues, and with nearly three billion people around the world living on the equivalent of $US2 a day or less, millions are forced to make decisions that damage their environment in order to feed themselves and their families.
"When poverty increases, fish stocks are depleted. Fishermen are often driven to use destructive methods to catch what little is left, damaging the reefs and fish habitat that produce the food local communities depend upon for survival. With every 5 per cent loss of coral reefs, 250,000-500,000 tons of fish are lost as well, threatening food security for millions," Nature Conservancy said. "This study highlights the importance of protecting these ocean habitats, to both preserve essential marine life and reduce poverty in coastal areas not only in Asia-Pacific but across many impoverished coastal communities around the globe."
Working in partnership with local non-governmental organisations and universities, the researchers talked to over 1100 local people about the changes they had seen in the quality of their life since the creation of the nearby marine protected areas. Across the four sites surveyed, there was clear evidence that poverty had been reduced by several factors:
- Improved fish catches. Fish are now "spilling over" from the no-fishing zones of marine protected areas, leading to increased catches and higher incomes for fishermen at three of the sites.
- New jobs, mostly in tourism. The marine protected areas' greatest boost to household incomes came from new jobs, especially in eco-tourism. In Fiji, tourism has surpassed fishing as the largest source of income.
- Stronger local governance. Involving the community in management and decision-making of the marine protected area gives the community a more united voice and frequently reduced conflict within the communities and with neighbouring communities.
- Benefits to health. Greater fish catches led to greater protein intake and a perceived improvement in children's health in particular.
- Benefits to women. Marine protected areas helped empower women economically and in some cases socially. The development of alternative livelihoods to fishing, such as seaweed farming and basket weaving, provides new income opportunities for women. As a result, they gained a stronger voice in community meetings.
"By focusing on potentially positive examples, we aimed to identify key factors for success that could be replicated elsewhere," explains Craig Leisher, co-author of the report and a senior policy advisor for the Conservancy.
The Conservancy hopes governments will use these study findings to harness the full benefits of marine protected areas to improve the well-being of local people while conserving marine life. The study recommends key strategies for strengthening the creation and management of MPAs that include:
- Committing to financial investment in protected areas, both in the initial set up and in subsequent years.
- Developing a network of smaller, ecologically connected MPA sites, each linked to a community, to increase local access to benefits.
- Empowering local communities in the decision making and management of the marine protected area. "Marine protected areas and local communities need each other. Without the support of the local community, marine protected areas will not succeed," says Leisher.
"Similarly, by preserving marine life, we can help the communities that depend on the bounty of the sea for their survival. We should not artificially separate conservation and poverty reduction in the places where we work they are almost always inextricably linked."
- Ms Rarabici is a Communication Analyst with SeaWeb. SeaWeb is a Communication Company that helps the media, NGO's, policy makers and businesses promote a healthy ocean.

Marine life grows in protected areas - Fiji Times Online

Friday, 2 January 2009

ScubaRadio-The worlds first radio show devoted to diving with Greg The Divemaster. Powered by NavQuest.Com.

ScubaRadio is radio talk show with a diving theme. Pictures are painted of the underwater world as listeners and guests share their diving adventures.  
Every diver has a story about the perfect dive, destination, or encounter with some amazing sea creature. ScubaRadio provides the forum. It's like hanging out at a Tiki hut and sharing fish tales with friends. 
The presentation is light hearted and entertaining as to not alienate non-divers from joining our little on-air dive club. Listeners have compared hearing ScubaRadio to watching "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel. It's compelling entertainment whether you're a diver or not. 
What do we talk about?
ScubaRadio covers all aspects of diving, including the best dive sites, dive gear, live-aboards, shark diving, and much more.
Each week you'll hear interesting people known throughout the dive industry, such as Jean-Michel Cousteau or Captain Slate, a Key Largo-based character who has a knack for feeding fish with his face!
We lean on a wealth of information provided by guests, sponsors, and callers to entertain and inform ScubaRadio listeners. Plus we give away more stuff than just about any other show on the radio...from CD-ROMs and dive gear to free scuba lessons and exotic dive vacations!
How did we come up with the idea?
While programming a sportsradio station in Orlando, Diver Dick and Greg The Divemaster had a conversation about one of the perks of their managerial golf! Unfortunately, Greg doesn't golf and said, "wouldn't it be nice if we could dive free instead?" Dick looked to Greg and said, "let's do a dive show!" So ScubaRadio was literally started as an excuse for Greg and Dick to go diving on company time. 
Shortly thereafter, the DEMA (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association) trade show took place in Orlando. They attended the event and discussed their idea with exhibitors. The response was extremely positive. Many felt this would be a unique new way to promote the sport and encourage current divers to stay active. After realizing that ScubaRadio could do more than just get them a few free dives, Greg and Dick adopted this noble concept as their mission statement. They also discovered that no one had ever attempted a radio show of this type before. Hence, ScubaRadio...the world's first radio show devoted to diving, was born.
How long has ScubaRadio been around?
ScubaRadio began airing on the last Saturday in March of 1997. (the anniversary is celebrated every April Fools day) Dick and Greg had over 30 years of radio experience at the time and knew they had the skills to pull it off. However, they really didn't know how listeners would respond. The answer came quickly as the positive reviews poured in from all over Central Florida. They had definitely tapped into something special and ScubaRadio was taking on a life of its own.

Within a couple weeks, Skin Diver magazine, DAN, and PADI signed on as official sponsors of ScubaRadio. Their passion for diving (and hope of getting a few free dives) had transformed an hour on Saturday mornings into the one of the most profitable hours on the entire radio station.

To say Greg and Dick were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. They were 30 days into a new radio show and sold out on advertising! No free dives yet, but they were making contact with some truly unique characters within the dive industry, the same people Dick and Greg had read about in the dive magazines for years.

While ScubaRadio's first focus was fun, Greg and Dick felt a responsibility to make the show a successful promotional vehicle for the dive industry as well. Besides, what could be more fulfilling than turning people on to this wonderful activity.

After a few months, they began approaching their radio station management about doing broadcasts from a various diving events/destinations. Unfortunately, the management wasn't very enthusiastic about giving them the flexibility to accomplish these goals.

After a year and a half, changes were made at the radio station that left Greg the option to produce ScubaRadio full time or be re-assigned within the company. He decided to take ownership of the show and quickly began syndicating ScubaRadio to other stations throughout Florida. In about a year, 8 Florida radio stations were airing ScubaRadio. Radio networks were beginning to take notice and shortly thereafter, ScubaRadio was added to a weekend line-up of lifestyle programming available on the Business Talk Radio network. This meant clearance on about 25 radio stations throughout the country!

Dick and Gregs' first ScubaRadio press picture!Things had been going very well and then lighting struck in February of 2000 when Diver Dick was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach Cancer. He passed away on October 9th, 2000. Obviously, this was a major blow to the show and the future of ScubaRadio was uncertain. However, Greg persevered knowing the friend he had lost wanted ScubaRadio to continue. Greg credits the amazing support he received from listeners for getting through a very difficult time and making ScubaRadio the success it has become today.
Where are we now?
Listeners can hear ScubaRadio via radio, satellite, and the Internet.
Approximately 50 news/sports talk radio stations currently air ScubaRadio throughout the US. This translates to an estimated reach of 500,000 radio listeners per week.
ScubaRadio can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio Network (Channel #122)...this provides quality sound to over 7 million subscribers nationwide. The Sirius signal extends over 200 miles off shore as well making it an ideal listening option for boaters/island destinations.
In addition to the radio and satellite broadcast, we also cybercast worldwide over the Internet at You can listen live or to archives of past ScubaRadio shows. is evolving into one of the largest on-line communities for divers on the web.
While reaching a over a million listeners per week may sound impressive, it's truly just the beginning. ScubaRadio is still in the infancy stage of it's growth process and the future looks very bright.

ScubaRadio-The worlds first radio show devoted to diving with Greg The Divemaster. Powered by NavQuest.Com.

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Fiji - Where to Dive
Diving Fiji's underwater reef system is unlike anything you've ever experienced. Known the world over as the soft coral capital of the world, Fiji's underwater world offers an amazing array of fish life to observe as well, with well-over 1,000 species of fish. With such an explosion of color, there are reefs that will excite and challenge both novice and experienced divers. There are two distinctive marine environments in Fiji, a very large lagoon and the Malolo Barrier Reef.

For more information about diving Fiji visit and

The Big W's
If you are looking for a thrilling dive with lots of big fish, this is the dive to do. Located on the edge of the Barrier Reef, manta rays, sharks and whale sharks are known to make an appearance on this reef. Ranging from 45 to 120 feet with excellent visibility.

The Fish Factory
A good dive for the newer diver with gentle currents and calm surface waters, this dive begins on the rising tide on Taveuni's Vuna Reef. Starting at about 32 feet, the dive leads you to a sandy bottom where, if you like, you can stay and see a multitude of coral bommies, abundant and colorful fish life –and the occasional pilot whale—without ever descending to the sloping bottom of 82 feet.

The Supermarket
Located inside the Malolo Barrier Reef, this dive site is famous for shark encounters. Here you can find grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks and blacktip reef sharks. If you're lucky you may get a chance to dive during a shark feeding – an experience some say is a thrilling adrenaline rush. Starting at only 29 feet and sloping to a depth of 110 feet, this is one of the most thrilling Fiji dives.

Jackies Reef
This shallow and easy to dive reef has been used for over 35 years as a fish feeding ground by area resort staff. It's thought that because of this feeding, it has brought about one of the most diverse reefs in the region, with both large and small reef fish as well as large varieties of schooling fish passing through.

Vomo Island
This site has two separate reefs. Ronnie's Reef offers canyons, gullies and diverse sea life; and Vomo Caves offers caverns and swim-throughs, featuring luminous fingers of light breaking through the cracks of the formations. At depths of 50 feet-plus, you'll see dramatic and colorful coral formation.

Barrel Heads
There are amazing hard corals and sea fans here as well as resident reef sharks and turtles. You may also see larger sharks, yellowfin tuna and various pelagic species. A huge pinnacle rises from the depths of more than 196 feet making for a majestic backdrop.

Namotu Reef
Amazing visibility will be found here with abundant marine life and coral formations. Here you'll be rewarded with manta ray, hammerhead and dolphin sightings. The site is just off Magic Island.

Salamanda Shipwreck
A 130-foot cruise ship, intentionally sunk in roughly 90 feet of water. The Salamanda is covered in soft corals and anemones with filled with masses of shrimp and crab. With crystal clear visibility, this is a prime location to get that shot you've been waiting for. An easy penetration dive, the wreck has been stripped for divers' safety.

Vuna Reef – Coral Gardens
This Taveuni dive has a gentle current, great visibility and offers a dive suitable for a variety of divers with depths from 16 to 98 feet. Here you'll descend over one of the three lava fingers that make up the site, and then begin your search for the many small residents hiding in the overhangs and crevices. With a diverse underwater landscape and a variety of depths, the area attracts larger species like hammerheads, manta rays, barracuda, snapper and yellowfin tuna.


DDNet Trip Report: Jean Michel Cousteau Resort

DDNet Trip Report
Where: Pacific Fiji
When: 07/07/2007 - 07/15/2007
By: otarala
Type: Land based
Accomodations: Jean Michel Cousteau Resort
Dive operator: L'Aventure Dive Shop
Overall photography friendliness: Good
Camera tables/prep area: Not applicable
Camera rinse tanks: Good
Charging facilities: Good
Voltage: 220-240 AC
(with thanks to Gilligan whose trip report Ive nicked as a template)

Arrival Point
Nadi, Fiji. Stayed overnight, then took small plane connecting flight in morning to Savusavu on Venua Levu, where a van from the resort picked us up and took us straight to the resort. We flew with Air Pacific with the flights arranged via travel agent. Air Pacific has recently taken over the domstic airline ‘Sun Air’. This means your weight allowance is identical for both the international flight and internal, previously the domestic flight was limited to a 15kg baggage allowance, maiing for surprised upon arrival. So weight limit for all flights was arranged as 20kg+5kg hand luggage. I was able to take my camera, housing and laptop on in my Lowepro bag as hand luggage for the international flight, but had to check it for the small plane flight, where we each got weighed individually.

Jean Michele Cousteau offers packages that include room and meals, which we did. Diving is purchased separately at their in-house dive shop ‘L’Aventure’ – it seems to be a separate operation but operates from inside the resort, its 30 feet from the restaurant/pool area. All ‘rooms’ are standalone bures. Rooms have fans, mosquito nets on request, mini fridge and hot water, and were quite beautiful in my view. The child care options are outstanding (ie nannies and club) and the child care staff were excellent. The area has separate pools for toddlers and older children, and a separate pool that’s ‘adults only’ in front of the main eating/socialising area.

The food there is outstanding, particularly for Fiji, where it can often be pretty uninspiring in my experience. Service in general was great, people very friendly.


Normally they do two dives per day at approximately 8:30 and 10:30am, but are very flexible, I did a few afternoon dives. Night dives are based on request and are just counted as a single dive– I did one as the only participant, would have done another but ran out of time. Business was pretty quiet, it might be a bit more structured at other times of the year, but manpower availability seemed to be the only limit on what was possible. A significant number of dives had me as the only participant, for no extra cost, including two shore dives where I puddled around the snorkelling area at ~5m for a few hours.

Diving can be done as a prearranged package, but they were happy to combine dives into the cheapest package after the amount of dives were totalled up rather than deciding beforehand. They separately charged me $10 a dive for the two shore dives I did, but I might have got lucky there. I am not sure the listed charges on the hotel site are current, I was charged in Fiji dollars rather than US making comparison difficult, but this worked well for me personally as the Australian dollar skyrocketed in the week I was at the resort. It seemed pretty close in practise but Im not sure it would have been without the dollar change.

A rinse/soak tub was provided for me on the boats for my camera. There were also rinse tubs at the shop, but I generally just used the tub in the boat. The dive guides, boat operators, hotel staff and tank/gear crew were all very attentive and efficient. Photographers arent their main trade, but they made me feel extremely welcome, rather than a pain. Their marine biologist 'Johnny' in particular tried very hard to find me interesting subjects, and does photography himself.

All your gear is locked up overnight. Most of the rental gear seemed fine, but the regs looked a bit long in the tooth, and I didn’t like the look of the first stage metal wool, it was awfully green. My own reg had problems (first stage pressure too high, making it slowly freeflow out of occy and primary), and the staff tweaked it free of charge, but weren’t able to completely fix it – they had parts for common makes (Scubapro etc), but not mine. Serves me right for having something a bit unusual (Cressi).

The limit on dive time was generally what people lasted to, I was allowed to noodle around at 5 m several times, once for about 90 minutes – the only limit was if too many other finished divers were waiting above. Nitrox was available but I didn’t use it, so don’t know the price.

Dive Sites

Approximately twenty dive sites are within fifteen minutes or less of the resort, and very easy dives as they were well sheltered by the island/bay, the only site I dived twice was the one I did as a night dive as well. There was little or no pelagic life at most of these sites, although a couple of Manta rays were seen on some of the wall dives, invariably while I was somewhere else, and one very fast turtle. All of these dives were done from a smaller boat, with a basic cover. Most of these dives were fairly vanilla Fiji, most coral OK, with some beautiful soft coral, although some looking pretty bleached/battered. Given we were pretty close to Savusavu, and a lot of fishing goes on, I wasn’t too surprised.

Trips to Namena Island are arranged once or twice a week depending on numbers, there is a one off marine park fee of $25 that is valid for 12 months. The trip takes approximately 60 minutes one way by their large boat ‘L’Aventure, and two dives are done while at the island. There are both wall dives and bommie dives at the site. There is one wall dive in particular that I found fairly spectacular, where you follow the wall with a 300m dropoff until it opens into a large amphitheatre area. At this site, I saw a large Groper, Barracuda schools, Grey reef sharks, batfish, trevally schools, an Oceanic white tip was seen while I was taking a picture of the groper (grr!), the biggest coral trout Ive ever seen (as in I thought it was another groper at first), and abundant other fish life.

The island was only made a marine park 6 years ago. One of the people diving it was someone who used to work as a dive guide in the area 8 years ago, he says the amount of recovery since then has been immense, so presumably it will be even better in future years.

While visibility is fairly high, there was a fairly high amount of large white particles in the water at times, making wide angle photography a bit tricky at times. It was also quite cloudy in the sky during most days we were there, which given this is ‘winter’ isn’t too surprising.


You can go into Savusavu, but theres not much to do. There are also waterfalls, river kayaking, village visits and a variety of other activities available, arranged via the hotel. Many of them felt pretty expensive for what they offered, and my focus was on the diving, so there were probably other options I never found about.


Marine Life
Overall marine life was very similar to what I saw in the Mamanuca’s. Coral close to the resort was pretty variable, with more damage and bleaching obvious, given we were so close to the mainland and town, hardly surprising. There is a pier to snorkel off that I got to do shore dives off as well. I found some of my favourite pictures there, thanks to having lots of time to noodle around.

Baggage Limits
If you’re not travelling with Air Pacific, you might want to check your baggage limits for any domestic travel. I'm not sure what they do if you’re not doing the entire trip with them – they’ve only recently acquired the domestic airline so things might be a bit up in the air.

Fiji is on the 240-volt system.

Overall had a great time, but it was ultimately a 5 star resort with a dive shop in it, not a ‘dive resort’ in my view. Great for going to with family who aren’t divers, but there are other more dive dedicated resorts in Fiji, ie Tavanui etc. Given its that though, it was great in my view, if pricy.

Welcome to!