The Great Astrolabe Reef is still the jewel in the Kadavu diving crown and is a reef now well known among divers throughout the world. The reef is about 100 km long, making it the fourth largest barrier reef in the world. It stretches from the south side of the island near Vunisea, and runs along the south coast before looping around Ono Island and ending off the east coast of the main island.
The reef boasts a variety of stunning hard coral outer reef slopes in wonderous colours, and steep soft coral drop-offs. The dive sites here exhibit a tremendous variety with several passages, submerged pinnacles and manta ray cleaning stations adding to the reasons why Kadavu is a great spot for several days diving.
The fringing reefs of Kadavu are becoming as recognised as its barrier reef and, along the north coast, the reputations of Namalata and Tavuki Reefs are growing in reputation. Here are more soft coral pinnacles and great areas for the student or less experienced scuba divers as conditions are often easy and the sites varied. To the south west of the island, South Sea Reef too has hard corals and steep walls. Its reefs are also in prime condition and the numbers and variety of fish life is enormous.
The majority of the dives in and around Kadavu have easy access by short boat ride and see little more than gentle currents. All around the coast of the island are innumerable bays that provide an idyllic setting for sea-kayaking, swimming and snorkelling.
No matter your standard, no matter how low your boredom threshold is, there is such variety in these dive sites, wonderful untamed reefs and reef-life, that you will join the ranks of scuba divers who think Kadavu makes a perfect Fiji vacation.
Eagle Rock is one of The Great Astrolabe Reef's signature dives. Sunken boulders, pinnacles, narrow channels, sheer walls and a rugged, rocky sea floor combine to provide some of the most interesting topography you are likely to see. The dive takes place in and around one of 5 entrances to the huge reef amid boulders, huge leather and hard corals that can thrive in the nutrient-rich current conditions.
There is a great chance of seeing spotted eagle rays and there are other sights to watch out for such as large groupers and Napoleon wrasse, but it is the simply astonishing collection of hard corals here which makes this Kadavu diving site exceptional.
Naiqoro Passage is found just south of Kadavu Island and is a marine sanctuary, and with good reason. Anemones and soft corals abound in the early stages of this dive where orange pink and purple reign supreme. Large numbers of Potato cod come here to breed and are accompanied by various types of sweetlips and snapper.
Current can be strong and you can see it bending branches of soft coral trees that cover the sea floor and walls as it surges through the channel. In the right conditions this site is a glorious example of what Kadavu can offer: healthy colourful corals and plenty of meaty marine life.
Seafan Alley is located beneath Nagigia Island at the far western end of Kadavu and it enjoys some of the finest visibility that divers are likely to see underwater. Once down a healthy slope where turtles rest among the hard corals and hawkfish perch on soft coral branches, the terrain slopes away dramatically.
Here you can see black and white banded sea kraits in the crevices. Seafans reach their gold and green branches out into the rich current, and triggerfish and angelfish swim around near the reef. Further beneath you there may be hammerhead sharks in the depths and schools of blacktailed barracuda in the blue.
Broken Stone is a dive site typical of the area called Alacrity Rocks, a gleeful name for this eastern section of Kadavu's Great Astrolabe Reef which features caverns, swim-throughs and channels and tunnels. The ever-changing topography is the star of the show here.
The central cavern features a shaft of light from above, making an awesome centrepiece for photography. Expect to linger here for a while if you are diving with a camera. Otherwise you can explore and investigate all around this maze-like structure, to your heart's content. The exterior of the bommies are sufficiently colourful and life-filled to keep you amused as you slowly ascend the whole way to the surface.
Dive The World Fiji Recommendations: Seafan Alley and Eagle Rock.
More detailed information available on the Kadavu dive sites (on our www.dive-the-world.com website).
Kadavu has something of a north/south divide. On the south side of the island is the Great Astrolabe Reef with its hard coral splendour and current bringing in pelagic creatures. If you like large creatures, hard corals and simple resorts then the south is probably best for you.
The north has easier scuba diving around soft coral bedecked pinnacles, and holiday resorts with all mod cons. So the dive sites here are more colourful, less adrenalin-filled but very pleasant.
Not sure which is for you? Why not try a short stay in the north and in the south and get the best of both underwater worlds!
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The season to dive Kadavu runs all year round. November to April sees the most rainfall. Northerly winds at this time of year mean its generally drier and calmer on the south side of the island. Top visibility is during Fiji's winter months of August to October when the surface can be a choppy, particularly on the windward south coast, and potentially as cool as 24°C. During the November to April summer months, water temperature can reach a tropical 30°C.
Great for: Large animals, reef life and health, visibility
Not so great for: Snorkelling
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 15 - 40m
Currents: Gentle to strong
Surface Conditions: Mostly calm but can be choppy offshore
Water Temperature: 24 - 30°C
Experience Level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: >60
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 10 days