Fiji

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Fiji is one of many small countries in the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji is somewhat east of Australia, southwest of Samoa, and north of New Zealand. Tonga, New Caledonia and Vanuatu are also nearby.

Fiji is made up of over 300 islands. The two main islands are Vanua Levu to the north and Viti Levu to the south.

The capital, Suva is the political, business and cultural centre of Fiji located in the south on Viti Levu as is Nadi (pronounced Naandee), where most visitors arrive. Main facilities including two airports are located on Vita Levu which has more infrastructure than Vanua Levu and rather more than the outer islands.

About

Underwater adventures in Fiji

Fiji's clear waters are renowned as among the best in the world for diving and snorkelling. An archipelago of over 300 islands spread over 200,00 square miles, Fiji offers hundreds of diving sites to please everyone from novice through to experienced diver. The ocean is warm all year round even at a 5 metre depth, and visibility is usually excellent, often at more than 50 metres.

Scuba-dive and snorkel amongst gloriously hued reefs of soft coral at Beqa Lagoon, Rainbow Reef or the Somosomo Straits, and be amazed by the abundance of stunning tropical fish and dolphins and manta rays throughout the islands. There are some superb underwater caves, walls and drop-offs up to 100 metres and 30 km drift dives. For the experienced diver, Vomo Caves' intricate caverns and unforgettable swim-through passages are not to be missed! Investigate the Salamanda Shipwreck, now a breeding ground for shrimp, crabs and sea anemone, or explore the intriguing remains of a submerged B26 bomber plane. And for a truly magical experience, try a night dive.

If you're fearless, visit the world's most infamous shark spotting area, known as the Supermarket and home to grey reef sharks and white and black tip reef sharks. Or, to enjoy more peaceable aquatic creatures, visit Korovou Bay, famous for its turtles.

Throughout the islands, coral reefs are accessible either directly from the beach (ideal for snorkelling) or just a short boat ride away. Many of our charter vessels have scuba equipment for guests and trained divers in the crew who can assist with all your underwater adventures. Many resorts in Fiji offer PADI dive courses.

Other water-based activities also abound in Fiji; game fishing, surfing, waterskiing or swimming. Or try your hand at kayaking, jet boating, windsurfing, parasailing, even bamboo-rafting in a bilibili along Fiji's streams and rivers.

Fijian Culture

There's nothing wrong, of course, with sitting by the pool with a drink in your hand, but sometimes you want to get to know the culture of a place. Here are our tips for getting a taste of "real Fijian culture".

Tip one: get a local guide (and who better than the friendly crew of MV Surprise?) They can show you their own country from the inside and take you places tourists don't usually get to see.

Tip two: get out and see the outer islands. Again, taking a charter is the perfect way to do this. You will be able to access remote islands and visit villages for a taste of local traditions, as well as seeing some really unspoiled natural beauty.

Some important traditions in Fiji you won't want to miss:

  • The Lovo is a great feast, cooked in the earth for about two hours. It's like a barbeque, only a little more smoked. Traditionally, the food will consist of cassava (tapioca), kumala (sweet potato), yam and taro and these days often red meat, chicken or fish.
  • The Meke, or traditional song and dance, tells of legends, love stories, history and spirits of the islands. It can vary from a blood-curdling spear dance to a gentle and graceful fan dance. The orchestra (Vakatara), sit on the ground, play percussion instruments (hardwood gongs, bamboo tubes, beating sticks etc) and sing or chant for the dancers (Matana). Performers wear garlands of flowers (Salusalu), the men wear full warrior costume and the women, in traditional clothes, glisten with scented coconut oil.
  • Yaqona (pronounced yangona) or kava is Fiji's national drink. It's made from the pulverised root of a member of the pepper family. It's believed to have medicinal qualities (apart from making you feel mellow and numbing your mouth). There are traditions around preparing and serving the yaqona and then often a lot of relaxed chatting follows.

Trip Review

"Cruising Fiji - what a life! - The only problem in Fiji I could see was keeping the Fiji Bitter could enough!" (referring to the local beer).

Allan Jouning, prominent Super Yacht captain (ex M/Y Itasca, ex S/Y Freedom of Flight) took his family - wife Daphine, son (age 19) daughter (22) and her partner sailing on the Sealestial, a 37 year old Ocean 71. The Sealestial was a well known charter yacht in the Caribbean during the 70's and 80's, was captained by Allan from 1977 for a few years, and is also known through the books William F Buckley wrote at that time - Atlantic High and Racing Through Paradise. Allan has had annual use of the boat since he sold it three years ago. What a blast from the past this trip was for Allan and Daphine, who first met on the Sealestial in St. Thomas (in the Virgin Islands) in 1980.

Climate

Fiji has a comfortable and warm tropical climate making it the perfect destination for holidays on the water. Fiji's climate is world renowned for it's blue sky's beaming sun and crystal clear waters. The team here at 37south travels to this exotic paradise regularly and our favourite time to charter in Fiji is from late March to early December... sometimes late December for Christmas!

The maximum temperature in Fiji rarely goes above 31ºC and even in the cooler months the maximum temperature during the day rarely goes below 26ºC. This makes for a very mild climate with few extremes in temperature. A pleasant trade wind blows from the east south-east for most of the year which helps to cool the skin during those long periods of sunbathing!
Although the Fiji climate is very pleasant for the majority of the year, there is till a wet season. This normally starts around November and finishes mid to late April. The season is charecterised by brief but heavy local showers and contributes to most of Fiji's rainfall annually.

Best time to visit Fiji: April/May/June/July/August/September/October

Annual Rainfall:

Main land: 2000mm - 3000mm on coastal areas.

Smaller Islands: Dependent on size and height 1000mm - 3500mm

 

Sample Itinerary

7 DAY ITINERARY – Non Diving
For this itinerary most of the travelling is done in sheltered waters inside the reefs with short
distances. Here you are likely to see few boats; it is still unspoilt with good safe diving and great
snorkeling. Fishing in the area had something for everyone.
Day 1
Depart Denarau Marina and head for a remote beach on the North Western side of Mana Island.
Very Good snorkelling.
Depart after lunch for Soso on the southern end of Naviti. On the way we will take a small detour to
visit Monuriki a small island where the Tom Hanks film Castaway was filmed.
We will spend the first evening in Soso Bay. Once we arrive you are welcome to go ashore and
attend a Sevusevu ceremony at the village.
Day 2
If the tide is right i.e. High we will depart for an anchorage by the Tokatokaunu Pass where the
Manta Rays feed. Those who are interested can snorkel to witness this amazing event. This event is
seasonal as the Manta Rays only grace us with their presence between May and October every year.
Depart for Blue Lagoon anchor in front of Nanuya Island Resort for the night. This is a very sheltered
anchorage and as a result is a good base for a few of the activities in and around this area.
Ashore in the evening to Fanny & Otto’s place for a Lovo. A traditional Fijian feast cooked in a hole in
the ground.
Day 3
Make our way north toward the top of the Yasawa’s stopping at Liku Beach a.k.a Champagne Beach
for lunch. This beach has been voted (in some magazines) as one of the best beaches in the world.
After lunch we will make our way down to Sawa-i-Lau for the night.
Day 4
After breakfast we will snorkel in the caves (more like cavens). This is an awesome experience.
Stay at Saw-i-Lau for lunch before heading back down towards Blue lagoon for the evening but stop
off at the village of Malakati for a Meke.
A meke is a combination of a formal kava ceremony followed by traditional Fiji music and dancing.
Not to be missed.
Day 5
Start heading south down towards the top end of Naviti. Visit Clara’s place and snorkel an old air
force plane wreck in shallow water just off the beach from Clara’s place.
Have lunch in a narrow pass between Naukacuvu Island and Nanuya Balavu Island. This is a
beautiful pass with shallow turquoise water and pristine white beaches.
Spend the night in a bay at the bottom end of Naviti.
Day 6
Head out after breakfast toward the Mamanuca Islands stopping at the beautiful (kidney shaped)
islands of Vanua Levu and Navadra Islands for lunch.
Day 7 – Head to Malolo and anchor in one of the many calm sheltered anchorages in this area.
Spend the day relaxing, swimming and playing with the water toys.
Day 8- Head back to Denarau as time permits.

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