Bula! A little over a year ago a friend of mine sent me a link to a Groupon for a 12 day trip to Australia and Fiji. I was a little skeptical at first because I had never done a trip through Groupon, but my friend was a seasoned veteran. As a scuba diver, I knew that diving in Fiji would be an opportunity of a life time so after about two days of thought, I bought the Groupon and we had our trip planned, YOLO right? Not to mention I’d be turning 30 in two different countries, go big or go home!
Let me just say that Australia was AMAZING, I didn’t get to do any diving there but we had a jammed packed 3-4 days including a helicopter ride, Bondi Beach, bus tour and the Blue Mountains. You can read about our Australia adventures here on my friend Lauren’s blog. I was most excited to visit Fiji, but only for the scuba diving.
Having Groupon book our hotels/flights was amazing. It gave me a lot more time to pay attention to the more important things, like where to dive and how many dives I planned to do. The original plan was for my travel companions to get certified before the trip, but they were slackers and didn’t get to it ;). But as it was, I was on my own for my diving.
I started my planning by searching for dive shops on the Coral Coast. We were staying at the Bedarra Beach Inn (an amazing resort with an amazing cook) and they had a link to a local dive shop from their website. I contacted Diveaway Fiji well in advance and they were incredibly helpful with making sure I would get to do plenty of dives while I was there.
I also wanted to look into some shark dives. I have to be upfront, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t end up doing a shark dive, I also didn’t get to see any sharks while I was there. There are two big charters in Fiji that do shark dives. I read a lot of mixed reviews for both companies and ultimately decided that it was not the best type of dive for me. While feeding sharks is a great way to guarantee a shark citing, i’d much rather see sharks in their own habitat. So I decided to stick with doing my dives with Diveaway Fiji and I did a total of four while I was there.
Our first day in Fiji we were sitting at breakfast and the two girls weren’t quite sure what we planned to do for the day. I knew I wanted to get into the water sooner than later so I made a call to the dive shop to see if they could fit me in. I also inquired about discover scuba, which would allow for my compadrates to do an uncertified dive. Within an hour the owners wife was picking all three of us up to take us on our excursion.
For discover scuba there are a few requirements. They learned about their gear and how to use it and then they did some learning in the pool. This is helpful for understanding the gear in a safe environment before hitting the big seas. The next obvious step was heading to the ocean. They both later confessed they had minor moments of panic breathing underwater, but for the record, they both loved it! You can read more about their experience here. Discover scuba is an amazing way to try out scuba diving, especially while you’re on vacation. It’s also a way to get your friends hooked for life, trust me, I know!
Since I was the only certified diver on my trip, it meant diving alone with one other dive master from the scuba shop. This was the first time that I ever got to dive by myself with just one other person and at first I was a little nervous. Of course, once I hit the watere, I didn’t care anymore. And let me tell you, if you’re looking for nemo, I found him and all of his cousins. I also found a few Dory’s and some Gils, side note, am I the only person who identifies fish by their names on Finding Nemo? #sorrynotsorry.
I also got to see several turtles on each dive. I’ve seen turtles before, but never so many at once. Watching the way they glide through the water is just breath taking. The second day I got to see dolphins. And I LOVE dolphins (not as much as sharks, but they are still awesome). They followed our boat out to the dive location and stuck around for a minute to say hello, then they were off. The Coral Coast is teaming with life and is one of the most active reefs I’ve ever seen, which isn’t saying much cause I’m still a noob when it comes to diving. I was incredibly impressed with the professionalism of the dive shop and their employees. The staff was incredibly friendly and remembered my name the next day. They gave us suggestions on where to eat and other activities to participate in and on our way back to our resort, the owners wife took us to a local gift shop where we could buy some souveniers.
Other Fiji Adventures
While I enjoyed seeing the dolphins, it also meant bad weather was coming. The next two days were full of rain, rain and more rain. After being so active in Australia and the first two days in Fiji, it was nice having some time to relax. We spent the morning in the Spa getting pedicures and massages and we spent the afternoon lounging and reading. We even watched Beauty and the Best on my ipad one evening again, #sorrynotsorry. Our resort also had a happy hour where we got to meet some of our other resort stayers.
The last day our flight did not leave until 9pm, so we signed up for an excursion that took us back into Nadi for a village tour, temple tour, mud baths and to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. The Village was my only complaint about Fiji. At the end of the tour, the locals had tables outside with different jewelry and crafts that you could purchase. I found these wooden salad tongs that I really loved. I barterred a little and got a good price and I was very happy with my purchases. However, when I got home, I took the tongs apart and there was a ‘made in Tawain’ sticker! It makes me laugh, but also irritated me, I thought they made those things by hand! Luckily I got a good price for them so I won’t complain too much, but just buyer beware.
Our last stop before the airport was a mud bath. We had to rub ourselves in mud then crawl into a muddy pit to clean most of it off. From there, we made our way to the termal pool which was basically a natural hot tub or equivalent to a hot spring. It was relaxing and the perfect end to our perfect vacation. I will say, we weren’t completely prepared for the lack of showers before getting on a 12 hour flight, but it was totally worth it!
If you’re going to Fiji I highly recommend the Bedarra Beach Inn and Diveaway Fiji. The Coral Coast was beautiful, but just a word to the wise, August is apparently a rainy season. It did rain a lot, but it didn’t hinder us from being able to experience some awesome food, meet increibly nice people and do some diving!