Dive Fiji Fiesta 2011
Making my way through security at LAX, all I could think about was Fiji. I've helped many dive travelers get there, but now I was going. Although this was going to be a "business" trip, I was still going to have as much fun as I could. And man, I was going to dive!
We arrived in Nadi, Fiji about 5 a.m. It was actually one-and-a-half days later than I left, because we crossed the International Date Line. I left on Thursday and when I woke up on the Air Pacific 747 flight, it was Saturday. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a lovely local woman who placed leis around my neck, while another handed me a cool drink and a warm towel to refresh myself. Now that is a welcome. I couldn't get over how nice Fijians were. My skeptical mind kept telling me: "This is just for show." But man, was I wrong. Throughout my nine-day journey, I met so many great people. Wherever we went, everybody -- I mean, everybody - waved to us. Fiji definitely has the world's nicest people.
After landing in Nadi I had another nine hours before catching my connecting flight to the neighboring island of Kadavu, so I went to the Tonoa International Hotel -- as was arranged for me as part of the package - for a nice shower, breakfast, and a nap. For my three days in Kadavu, I stayed at Pappagenos Resort, Matava Eco-resort and Matana Resort. All three were great, as each had its own different feel. The diving all around the island was incredible. I saw incredible coral formations and black-tip sharks, white-banded sea snakes, rays, you name it. In Fiji, nothing - from the islands and resorts to the dive sites themselves - is identical. But the people's friendliness was constant. I visited several local villages and experience a local "kava" ceremony, which I'll always remember.
My next stop was the Fijian capital city of Suva, back on Viti Levu, for visits to several resorts along the Pacific Harbor area, including the Pearl, Lalati Resort, Beqa Lagoon, and the Waidroka Scuba and Surf Resort. That was a piece of paradise. The staff was wonderful and the diving around Pacific Harbor and Beqa Lagoon was tremendous, as I saw amazing soft corals (including some in colors I've never seen on a spectrum chart!) and phenomenal wildlife. I'll never forget my time in Fiji - and I can't wait to go back.