Fiji diving versus Caribbean - is it better?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by diverrex, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. diverrex

    diverrex Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
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    So far my wife and I have only made dive trips to the Caribbean (Belize 2x, Curacao, Akumal MX, Cozumel 2x, Dominica, Grand Cayman, Bonaire 3x and Saba). We would like to try for some better quality diving in the far Pacific and partly because of the convenience of a direct flight from Los Angeles (because of work I could probably only manage 8-10 days off) we are looking at Fiji. Partly also because of convenience but also because of lots of good reviews we are focusing at first on going to Wananavu. My wife has zero interest in doing a liveaboard so that's out.

    For those of you that have dived the typical Caribbean places like we have and also dived Fiji how does the diving in Fiji compare? Is it better or at least distinctly different enough from the Caribbean?

    Any comments on Wananavu, both its diving and topside features, would also be appreciated from anyone who has been there.
     
  2. gizmo1972

    gizmo1972 Photographer

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    Im based in the turks & caicos islands and have been here for 8-9 years and i love the diving
    But the diving in Fiji will totally BLOW you away it is the soft coral capital of the world ! We did the Fiji Aggressor stunning!
    pacific diving is stunning you will love it simple as that !
    thats one thing on this board cannot disagree with!!!
    Have a great time!!!!!
     
    Wingy and diverrex like this.
  3. bqualls

    bqualls Nassau Grouper

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    Completely agree with gizmo . I've been diving in most of the spots in the Caribbean that you mentioned----Fiji blows them all away. I went to Fiji 5 years ago and am going back this oct.. I have stayed at Wananavu and loved it(although at the time wananavu's dive op was barely ok). But Wananavu has a new dive op that gets good reviews now. Bligh waters diving puts the Carib to shame. This time we're staying at Volivoli resort which is near Wananavu Also spending a week on the Fiji Siren. Since we branched out from the Caribbean 5 years ago, we have been diving in Fiji, Oz, PNG, Komodo, R4, and Bali---and Fiji. Yes , be careful--- if you go to Fiji, you might start something .... All of these places have diving superior to the Carib.--- and superior prices... At least as far as getting there is concerned( but Indo is cheap once you get there ,overall) go for it , but you will have opened Pandora's box.
     
  4. cbm32

    cbm32 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    Lots of places in the Caribbean I have not been to, but I have dove St Thomas and Cozumel. Fiji is in a whole different class of diving.

    Of course I am prejudiced since I represent Naigani Island Resort at the head of the Bligh Waters. A great value destination with some of the very best diving in Fiji. Not sure when you plan on going but airfares are actually down this fall too. Let me know if I can be of any help. I head there again myself the first week in September.
     
  5. ScubaGeared

    ScubaGeared Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Anaheim, CA
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    My husband and I are thinking of going to Fiji in November(DENARAU ISLAND, NADI,) also, and have done the places mentioned in the Caribbean. The price to go to Fiji from CA, US is higher, but it seems like from what we heard, it is worth it.

    Please post more, I am very interested in hearing about Fiji in comparison to the Caribbean. Also, in comparison to Cabo San Lucas. That was another place we were thinking of diving...a bit on the nippy side in Cabo's waters, not so bad in November, but heard it was worth it. Cabo would be "going on the cheap" decision, Fiji would be the place from what I read, "worth the money".

    Thanks.
     
  6. 1erCRU

    1erCRU Nassau Grouper

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    It's been awhile since I've been diving from Denarau, and everytime I've been there it was not to dive, but rather diving was a side benefit. As you know with all the great diving in Fiji, it's not the place for a "dive" vacation. It does have good to occassionally very good sites, and you will find it enjoyable but not remarkable. Not, IMHO worth the effort even from the west coast.

    Wananavu & VoliVoli are about a 2 hour drive up the coast from NAN & Denarau Island. They can and do get out into the Bligh Water but not everyday, it is a longish-haul in smaller boats, so conditions and other diver's skills may limit them to more local diving. Still you won't be disappointed with the diving compared to the Carib.

    In no particular order, Naigani, Kadavu, Taveuni, Matagi, and Koro islands are better choices for consistently excellent diving than the Rakiraki area. Most have a short 45 min connection on Air Fiji or Sun Air, so it could be reasonable in a short vacation to dive two different islands.
     
  7. cbm32

    cbm32 Manta Ray

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    1erCRU is correct. Denarau can be a great vacation, but not a great dive vacation. Denarau is touristy to the point that you don't get the real feel of Fiji while there and you certainly won't find any of the better diving Fiji has to offer there. Frankly, if I was going on a DIVE vacation and had to choose between Denarau and the Caribbean I would go with the less expensive Caribbean option and dive Cozumel or the Caymans or Turks and Caicos.

    But, if you are not limited to Denarau Fiji is the way to go for great diving. Naigani can actually be done without the internal flight, and that is the way I plan to do it this trip. A bus or cab from Nadi to the Natovi jetty is cheaper and allows you to see a lot of the Fijian scenery, while not worrying about the baggage limits on the internal flight.
     
  8. ronscuba

    ronscuba Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    Is it safe to say a live aboard will offer the best diving in Fiji ? A boat like the Naia ?
     
  9. Shasta_man

    Shasta_man Loggerhead Turtle

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    +100 for Fiji diving. Definitely do not do Denaru. Either liveaboard, Bligh Waters area of Northern Fiji or Taveuni. I usually only do liveaboards because I want full time diving and the experiences you have from moving day to day by boat are fantastic. Fiji is fantastic off the water as well as people are great.

    You can probably say a liveaboard will give you the best opportunity to dive the best sites because in places like Bligh Waters, the resorts want a minimum number of divers to go to some more advanced spots. So there is a possibility that you may not get out to the sites you want.

    Very easy to get there from LAX - 10 hours on Air Pacific leaving at 11:30 PM arriving the day after (international dateline) at 5:30 AM. Relax day one and then ready to go. Flight back is at 10 PM arriving the same day at 1 PM.
     
  10. Dive Wananavu Fiji

    Dive Wananavu Fiji Angel Fish

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    Thanks for the info Shasta_man, we're always happy past visitors have really enjoyed their holiday in Fiji. Our resort and dive center is one of the dive operations that services the Bligh Water. Our operation was brought in-house July 1 of 2012 because the owner was tired of the negative comments about our previous dive contractors. One of these comments was how expensive it was to hit the Vatu-I-Ra Passage, aka Bligh Water, because the operation wanted a minimum number or a fuel surcharge. My wife and I were brought in to make the necessary changes to make the dive operation one of the best in Fiji and the first thing we did was bring the minimum numbers down from 6 pax to only 2 pax. So technically we do have a minimum number of divers necessary but if a buddy team come diving with us then they meet our minimum numbers. So if you travel with your dive buddy then you're good to go.

    The only thing that keeps us from diving out in the Passage every day has more to do with weather. If the swell is too big and becomes dangerous we can't go that far out for safety. If it's big and just "uncomfortable' we will still make the trip if the guests are OK with the rocking boat and possible seasickness. Those who take anti-nausia meds or are OK with rougher seas generally don't have a problem, but we try to dive out in the passage as many days a week as we can. Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
     
  11. cbm32

    cbm32 Manta Ray

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    The Naia is a great operation. Top notch all the way. But it isn't very affordable for most folks and, I believe that, the OP said his wife would not consider a liveaboard.

    Naigani Island Resort dives a couple of the sites that the Naia frequents and is located at the head of the Bligh waters. Most of our sites are within a ten to fifteen minute boat ride from the resort and seldom, if ever, sees divers other than ours. Plus you get unlimited shore diving on our house reef that, for a while now and hopefully for the foreseeable future, has had black tips and rays hanging out on it.

    There are some really good options for diving in Fiji, but Denarau is not one of them.
     
  12. mike0479

    mike0479 Nassau Grouper

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    Location: CT
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    I will also agree with everyone and say that Fiji has some incredible dive sites. I spent a few weeks at Naigani last Jan and had an amazing time. As cbm32 stated we saw several reef sharks and rays from the shore dives done at the resort. I also did a night dive and saw some cuddlefish and a spotted ray.
    I went on a lot of dives with Las and went to Wakaya. Their local dive sites were within a 10-15min boat ride and were fabulous. Plenty of diverse and incredible marine live to look at. Being close to the dive sites isnt a way for them to save money on fuel it just happens to be that there are that many great dives sites located close by to them. While i was there we never saw any other divers and we saw plenty of reef sharks as well as turtles and many different beautiful things.
    Wakaya was great too but a much longer boat ride. I think it was about 2 hours away. Im glad I did it as we did see a Giant Hammerhead and another large green sea turtle. My wife snorkeled above while we dove.
    Naigani is a great island close to the main island that has so much charm. Dont let the cheaper prices deter you from chosing them. It isnt a 5 star resort by any means but my wife and I loved the charm of the staff there. We were so sad to have to leave and are planning on going back in 2015. There is no other place we would consider to stay at.
     
  13. cbm32

    cbm32 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: I am bi-coastal. Michigan and SoCal
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    Our newest dive boat is now in service and should cut the travel time over to Wakaya significantly. I dont believe the trip should take more than about an hour on the "Rosi".

    mike0479 is completely correct about the bures. Naigani is not a five star resort. If that is what you want/expect you will be disappointed. It is more about a 3 star resort. Large spacious bures that are nice and comfortable but not glamorous.
     
  14. OnTheSpot

    OnTheSpot Manta Ray

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    Diving in Fiji is much better in my opinion. The dive sites around Taveuni are fantastic and that's from somebody who's been spoilt from lots of diving in the coral triangle. Plenty of dive resorts to choose from on Taveuni some with their own house reefs for some nice relaxed diving in between your Somosomo strait day trips. Haven't been to Wananavu, so can't comment on that but from the above posts it sounds excellent.
     
  15. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest

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    The western Pacific blows the Caribbean out of the water IMHO. Although I enjoy diving almost anywhere, several of the Caribbean destinations I've been to had such low biodiversity compared to Asia and Oceania. Add to that the impact of lionfish in the Caribbean and Atlantic (I saw far more of them in the Bahamas than I did in the Philippines) on the native species.
     
  16. ColoDale

    ColoDale ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    Diving Fiji (Taveuni area) is distinctly different than Caribbean (Grand Cayman, Cozumel, St. Lucia, Bahamas) locations I've dived. Soft coral, numbers of fish, and types of sites in Fiji were better than Caribbean in general. All our diving was land based in Fiji.
    Fiji at least around Taveuni was significantly less touristy and had great land based opportunities (Bouma Nat'l Park - Tavoro Falls is a must see).

    Fiji is worth the money. We priced other places like French Polynesia (which we still want to go) and Fiji is cheaper.

    My favorite dive sites in the world are Yellow Wall and Noel's Wall. Great White Wall in the SomoSomo Straights wasn't as good in my opinion but maybe that's just me. Other sites in the SomoSomo Straights were very good. Even diving around Qamea was good.
     
  17. Shasta_man

    Shasta_man Loggerhead Turtle

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    <<it isn't very affordable for most folks>> I'd disagree with that but otherwise agree with the rest. AS for liveaboard, I was thinking they said they had dove Bligh Waters before and wanted more of that, but see now they ruled out liveaboards. Good luck in your quest.
     

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