Naigani Island Resort Fiji

Situated about one hour north of Narsori Airport by taxi is the landing that leads you to the small island resort of Naigani. Located off the eastern coast of Viti Levu in the Lomaiviti Group Naigani has excellent views of the main island and that of Ovalau to the south. It has coral reefs adjacent to the island and is in close proximity to some of the best diving in the Koro Sea.

We flew from Nadi which shorten the travel time by about two hours. Once we reached the landing, our water taxi was waiting to take us on the 25 minute ride to the island. Naigani is a palm covered island with two soft sand beaches. Without a jetty, at low tide, we wadded across the sand to the beach and were greeted by the traditional guitar and voices of the local Fijians. At high tide, the boat backs up directly to the beach.

This little island is packed for fun. To unwind from our day of travel, we checked in to our bure and decided to hike around the island to get the lay of the land and to stretch our legs. Several trails are maintained allowing access to many of the areas and sights of the island.

We climbed up behind the resort and took the nature trail up to the lookout. The inland forests contain some of Fiji's rarest and most culturally useful trees. Coconut palms line the shores. The well preserved mangrove and coastal forests contain over 70 plants that are useful to the Fijian people. Nawanawa, Mulomulo and Dilo trees are rare and valued for their beautiful wood grains used in carvings.
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The island resort had been in operation for many years primarily as a timeshare that caters to large family vacations. The dive program was started only two years ago and now opens up reefs that have never seen divers. The 25-foot open-hull boat handles about six divers. Frank, the only divemaster uses this small boat to reach the island's fringing reefs. When there are more than four divers, longer dive trips can be planned that use the larger and faster water taxi.

Dive sites were first located in 1999. Now there are about 25 sites within easy reach. One of the most spectacular and furthest dives sites is "The Wall," about 35-45 minutes, weather permitting. With the fast twin-hull boat, further dive sites including E-6 and Hi-8, in Vatu-i-Ra Channel, can also be reached in under one hour.

On the outside of the reef a short distance from the resort, is the Nursery. It consists of a pinnacle that comes within 15 feet of the surface and drops down to an 80-foot sandy bottom. This bommie is encrusted with hard corals with some growth of brilliant red soft corals. The shallow reef has little current and a multitude on small fish making this a very easy dive and one that is used for training. There are large growths of anemones with the Dusky anemonefish easily recognized by their large white strip and dusky red color.

The hard coral gardens are a mixture of large brain corals and leather corals. Several different kinds of nudibranchs can be found. Within the leather corals, floral wrasses dart quickly, challenging the photographer. Everywhere you look are lots of basslets, butterfly fish and wrasses of every color and size.
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The area has not been established as a marine sanctuary and consequently there is some damage on the top of the bommie due to anchor use instead of buoys. The rest of the pinnacle is in excellent sharp and is a spectacular dive with even more fish than Namena.

Another exciting dive is Shark's Cave also a large bommie covered with several types of leather coral. Surround this large bommie are several smaller ones where we searched for sleeping sharks. Frank knows their liars well and we poked our noses and cameras under rocks pestering the sleeping sharks.

After chasing some sharks, we got bored and ascended to the top of the bommie. The sharks returned to their caves for another rest. The leather corals at the top was teeming with life. We spent the rest of the dive trying to photograph individual fish in a mosaic of swimming color.

We had only two days to dive this area and as we were the only divers on the island, we were not able to arrange a trip to the outer dive sites including the Wall. Missing E-6 and Hi-8 was not a problem as we had dove them before with Crystal Divers and planned to dive them again on the Fiji Aggressor. We were sad that we could not dive the Wall as we heard that it is a spectacular dive full of brilliant soft corals, larger fish, giant clams, turtles and lots of sharks. This dive site will just have to await another day.
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Naigani has 18 bures, a few directly on the beach. Each bure is very large with high ceilings able to accommodate large families. Many people stay for weeks and cook in the well equipped bures. A limited supply of groceries are available but do not have a grocery shop as the self catering option is offered only to the timeshare guests.

The restaurant serves a full complement of three meals and posts the daily selections to choice from. We were there at Christmas and the resorts catered elaborate poolside buffets featuring meats and seafood as well as many local specialties. We sampled some of the freshwater oysters and fernhead greens but passed on the slimy sliced sea cucumber.

In the evening, a local Fijian band played and sang around the traditional Kava bowl. Eating under the stars, the warm tropical breezes swaying the coconut palms and with soft sand under your feet, is what makes Naigani such a wonderful experience.

We are continually impressed on the sincere and friendly Fijian people. Here too their smiling faces were everywhere you turned. Upon our departure, our dive master Frank picked up a guitar to wish us safe journey in song along with the staff and guests.