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Kadavu

Written by Cathy Siegismund
June 2003


Felicity was now comfortably anchored in front of the Dive Kadavu Resort with an increasing number of boats from the New Zealand Rally joining us.

Kadavu Island group and the location of the Dive Kadavu Resort

Everyone assumed we were also part of the rally, and must have wondered what sort of supersonic 31 foot boat we had to arrive with the 50-60 foot boats, which arrived the same day we did; though no one actually asked us this.

Some of the larger rally boats anchored off the Dive Kadavu Resort

The anchorage became increasingly crowded topping out with over 25 boats. It was a little crowded but was well protected from the swell by the surrounding reef and the weather remained settled during our stay. We had seen a few of the rally boats before, but didn't know any of them. We did meet some of the cruisers and some of their crew members from the larger boats. We enjoyed a few afternoons around the beach bar and had dinner one night in the restaurant. We also enjoyed being spectators at the rally's big party night with a "P" theme, which had people in costumes as pirates, pimps, prostitutes, patients, painters, pajamas, etc -- you get the idea.

Beach bar at Dive Kadavu Resort

One of the more unique features at the resort was found in the bathroom. This is where we found the world map as it should be, according to our friends down under.

Southern Hemisphere World Map

We met some interesting folks who worked at Dive Kadavu including that manager Dave, an Aussie, who had until the bombing in Bali managed quite a large resort there. We later learned he returned to Bali as tourism apparently is back on the rise. We also enjoyed spending time with a North American couple, Cindy and Fred, who were both dive instructors and who had recently started work at Dive Kadavu. They had spent several years working in the Caribbean diving, so we enjoyed talking about diving and travel.

Our main reason for stopping in Kadavu was to dive, and we took full advantage of it. Ken hadn't been diving in about a year and I had only been once in NZ, so we wanted to log some bottom time before our big Aggressor trip. I also wanted to practice with our new underwater video camera housing, as I had only been in the pool with it once and been diving with it once in NZ.

We had about a week in Kadavu before we had to leave for Nadi and our Aggressor trip. We didn't really have any specific plans about staying in one place or exploring more of the island, however, we ended up staying exactly where we initially dropped the hook because we were having such a great time diving. Despite an anchorage full of 25 boats, Ken and I had the dive boat all to ourselves four out of the six days we dived. We found the diving really quite exceptional despite a few rainy days and we settled into doing a two-tank dive each morning at 0830. This made for pretty mellow evenings but we had a great time. Part of what made our Kadavu diving experience so wonderful was our dive master, Joeli Vatu. He had been working at the resort since 1996, and was still brimming with enthusiasm to show us every sea creature that lived along the reef. He is hands-down one of the best dive masters I've ever dived with, not to mention his warm personality and great sense of humor.

Joeli showing us something on his slate

Joeli having some fun, blowing air rings up at us as we did our safety stop

Jolami driving the dive boat

This particular day, we were diving with a cruising couple Ian and Annie from the UK.

We were joined one day by Ian and Annie from the UK

The boat was also dropping a group of snorkelers off who would use a kayak as a marker until the dive boat returned for them. With all of the people and dive gear, we had to tow the kayak, which kept flipping over. Joeli, finally decided to prevent this, and have some fun, he would ride in the kayak.

Joeli being towed behind the dive boat minutes before he flips it by trying to stand up and surf on it!

Our dive routine was to do our first dive, then beach the dive boat where we would have tea and biscuits, spending an hour or so talking with Jolami and Joeli, and then go out for our second dive. I was quite impressed one day, when after only a few minutes of walking the beach Joeli returned with letter-shaped coral and spelled out my name on the beach.

My name spelled out in coral

     

Cath & Ken diving in Kadavu

Clown (aka anemone) fish

To view an excessive number of photos from two newbie underwater shutter bugs see: Kadavu Photo Gallery
Note that this photo gallery has many pictures and will take awhile to load.

As it was usually just the three of us diving, we also got to be pretty good friends with Joeli, Jolami, our dive boat driver, and Mini, the second dive master. Our new diving friends were as interested in cruisers as we were in Fiji. They asked if they could come out to see Felicity. We had them out to the boat for some afternoon snacks and to watch some of the dive video I had taken. All of them lived in Kadavu and were from the surrounding area, yet they had never been sailing, so they had lots of questions about every bit of gear on the boat. We gave them all Felicity hats and then they kept teasing us about when they we were all going to sail away as they were now crew -- with the hats.

Ken, Joeli, Jolami, and Mini in Felicity's Cockpit

The diving in Kadavu, Fiji has been the best we've done in the South Pacific. The hard and soft corals are simply amazing, there is an abundance of wildly different reef fish as well as the bigger exciting things like rays, sharks, eels, and turtles.

We really enjoyed the time we spent on Kadavu, and would have stayed longer and explored more of the island if we had not had our deadline to reach Musket Cove and our upcoming dive trip aboard the Fiji Aggressor.

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