Tave­uni, Fiji

Daz­zling div­ing

Action Asia - - ISLANDS -

Fiji is the prover­bial sweet­shop for divers, with a mind­bog­gling se­lec­tion of stel­lar spots. The reefs are par­tic­u­larly cel­e­brated though and, in con­trast to that sweet­shop, the riot of colour is very much all nat­u­ral. Ram­pant soft coral growth is the key and nowhere is more pro­lific than So­mo­somo Strait, be­tween Vanua Levu and the much smaller is­land of Tave­uni. The is­lands were rav­aged by Cy­clone Win­ston in 2016 but un­der­wa­ter, the dam­age was quite lo­calised. To­day, most of the fa­mous walls of white, pur­ple and yellow are in ro­bust health again and any dol­lars you spend en­joy­ing them will be much ap­pre­ci­ated as the area’s in­fra­struc­ture bounces back. The vi­brancy and di­ver­sity are the prod­uct of cur­rents that flush an un­end­ing sup­ply of nu­tri­ents past the is­lands. Th­ese are such that be­gin­ner divers clus­ter in ar­eas closer to the Tave­uni re­sorts on the south side of the strait. This area is some­what storm-dam­aged but is fine for im­prov­ing skills be­fore you ven­ture across to the Vanua Levu coast where there is an en­tire shop­ping list of must-do dives. On rest days, turn your sights in­land to the Bouma Na­tional Her­itage Park, a hilly, lushly veg­e­tated re­serve where the ac­cu­racy of Tave­uni’s name as the ‘Gar­den Is­land’ be­comes clear. Bird-lovers will es­pe­cially prize the vivid species read­ily en­coun­tered on the trails here. Take your pick from a num­ber of re­sorts, all with dive op­er­a­tions, though the Gar­den Is­land Re­sort, www.gar­denis­landresort.com, comes highly rated by many.

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