This area, which is about 80nm south and east of Port Denarau, is just a fabulous cruise for those who are interested in serious diving.
If you pick your guests up in Pacific Harbour which is about 2-3 hours by taxi or air conditioned bus from Nadi airport, then the only open water passage is 40nm between Beqa and the North Astrolabe lagoon in Kadavu. Actually it’s only about 20 nm of open water from NE Beqa to Usbourne passage, the entrance into the North Astrolabe lagoon before you enter into the lee of the Kadavu reefs.
Guests can also fly into Vunisea, the main village on the north western side of mainland Kadavu. There is a small market in Vunisea, Government stations and a medical centre.
The Beqa area is renowned for its splendid soft coral dives; the easy diving is around about 60ft and there are numerous sites to choose from. The famous bull shark dive and the terrific white water rafting experience in the nearby highlands on the main island are two of the highlights and not to be missed. Beqa is also home to the famous Beqa Fire walkers who can walk bare footed on blazing hot rocks! The Royal Davui is a small up market friendly resort on a small island in the lagoon and is worth a visit for a snorkels and a wreck dive. Although a move to a more protected anchorage is best for the night. Prior permission to visit the island is appreciated.
The surf is very good at Frigate passage and the fishing in the Beqa channel can be productive, hooking yellow fin tuna, Wahoo and Walu.
See Beqa adventure divers, www.fiji-sharks.com for an insight into the bull shark dive, highly recommended, and Rivers Fiji (www.riverfiji.com) who run a fantastic day trip into the interior and a fun-rafting trip down the gorges and rivers. We have taken guests on all the different river trips and they are all great fun! Stop at villages on the way; cool off under waterfalls and take home a DVD of the whole experience. We can organise a private trip for owners and guests with some lead in time.
Tiny Lalati resort in Malumu Bay is also a friendly location inside one of the best anchorages on the NE side of Beqa.
North Astrolabe lagoon is close to some of the greatest diving in Fiji. Here you will see large pelagics, schooling barracudas, turtles, manta rays, and stunning coral.
A sevu sevu of Yagona must be presented to the chief village, Dravuni before any diving/cruising can be done in the area. There is a fee charged for diving the north astrolabe which is under the qoliqoli fishing rights of Dravuni Village. How much, is hard to say as talks are in progress. We used to pay $200 irrespective of the number of divers and for as long as we wanted to stay in the area. There are some nice beaches in the Astrolabe Lagoon mainly at Dravuni, Yaukuve Levu and Namara (deserted island) and there are a few dive resorts further west on the island of Ono and mainland Kadavu. People are friendly and welcoming in the villages. All this is well off the tourist route.
There are great waterfalls on the southern side of the main Kadavu Island in Kadavu Village and fantastic diving and surfing at the most western end of the main island at Cape Washington. Wonderful diving on the Namalata reefs to the north of Vunisea and here as always you would really need local knowledge to hit the best diving and the right time to dive the sites. The southern side of the main island of Kadavu is also great diving so depending on the weather you have some wonderful choices. As always, it pays to carry a dive guide who will also see that the Sevusevu are made in the accepted manner. All Fijian Protocol is therefore managed without any worries for the owners, Captains and guests.
The Village at Cape Washington is one of the best at putting on a traditional Meke. (Fijian Dancing) They are very easy to deal with and even though you pay a small fee for diving and surfing it is all really targeted to put more services into the village and help with the children’s education. We have always donated school supplies and medical supplies where ever we went. There is a great tiny surf resort called Naigiagia on the island off Cape Washington. The owners and staff are very friendly and will point you in the right direction. A very small fee is charged for diving and surfing.
Sevusevu needs to be made in the village of Nabukalevuira. The diving and the snorkelling are undoubtedly some of the best we have found in Fiji outside of the lomaiviti Group!