Bula – Welcome to Fiji

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By Dive New Zealand/Dive Pacific.

Winston arrived on the 20 February and inflicted extensive damage on many islands and destroyed villages and their communities with some loss of life. Property and material things were destroyed but not the heart of Fiji or the people. With the statement ‘Stronger than Winston’ the Fijian people have shown their resilience and their determination to get Fiji open for business.

This has all been done with a happy welcoming smile that is typically Fiji. Getting things back up and running to welcome tourists was no mean feat, but these people have done it. The resorts are mostly all open and running well. Rebuilding will take time for those that have been completely destroyed – but watch this space.

Tourism is the life-blood of this small nation and it’s what will build it back up again. Villages and small communities were hit badly by this cyclone and it is these people that need help and support. So get organising your winter getaway or even an autumn getaway to these delightful islands now. After all as the saying goes, Fiji is Where Happiness Finds You. Fiji Airways is offering travellers in Australia and New Zealand one-way flights to Fiji at astonishing sale fares at discounts of over 30 percent for travel between March and mid-June.

Manta at a cleaning station.

Manta at a cleaning station.

Fiji reefs offer some of the most awesome diving. You get to dive with schooling fish and large pelagics, cruise along deep walls and see some of the most prolific soft coral in the world. Their amazing colours and variety are what Fiji is known for. With an area of over 1.3km2, Fiji waters have one of the most extensive reefs systems in the world. In the abundance of the soft corals there is movement and colour that is unrivalled. There is also a whole lot more on offer in these underwater surroundings from the tiniest macro creatures such as mantis shrimp to larger marine life such as tiger sharks and manta rays. Divers commonly meet with grey sharks and silvertips that patrol the walls as well congregating in the reef passages.

Gorgonian fan and a featherstar.

Gorgonian fan and a featherstar.

Fiji is also home to spinner dolphins and throughout the year migrating whales visit. Manta rays come in to the cleaning stations and hover there, giving the diver opportunity to capture this amazing creature on camera. The fish life, a kaleidoscope of colour, will amuse you with their territorial patrols. Fiji’s waters have everything for the diver to experience and enjoy.

The dive operators have kept abreast of developments in diving technology and many of the operators offer training for Nitrox and rebreathers as an alternative to air.

Diving in these crystal clear waters has not changed. On inspection by operators and divers who have visited Fiji since the cyclone, the reports are that there has been very little change to the reefs and the dive sites. Being the soft coral capital of the world there was concern that there would be damage but they are just as beautiful as they ever were. The water is clear and warm and the dive operators are ready to take you diving.

We at Dive New Zealand/Dive Pacific will continue to support Fiji and its people as they work on bringing back one of our favourite diving destinations. Just remember that there are a lot of places that are back to normal and you will receive that same high standard of care and service from these smiling happy people. Not even a tropical cyclone can break the Fijian spirit.

www.tearfund.org.nz/cyclone-winston‎
www.redcross.org.nz/Cyclone-Winston

 

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