Papageno Resort -- Casual Elegance

Located on the island of Kadavu, the fourth largest island in Fiji, Papageno is situated on 350 acres of prime real estate with organic gardens full of different varieties of fruits, vegetables and chickens. We ate salads every day from the organic garden and sat family-style around large tables set with plentiful plates of plain yet nutritrous food. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with colorful tropical plants and pathways lined with orchids and a long, white sand beach.
The bures are beatifully appointed in an eclectic style, set in pictureque, tropical gardens.
Whether diving, snorkeling, kayaking, honeymooning or just relaxing under a swaying palm, Papageno has something for everybody.

Our first dive was Three Sisters with beautiful soft corals and a swim-through. The current was quite strong and fast. We decended to an area with three rocks covered in soft coral, interspersed with beautiful round plates of pastel-colored hard corals. This dive site, as well as several others, is only minutes from the resort, so that the boat dropped us right in front of our bure after each dive. What a luxury!

After a quick shower and a rest in the shade, we were ready for our second dive, called Crossroads. This dive had less current and after a nondescript start, swimming over rubble and sand, we arrived at a rock covered with coral and fish. We saw schools of yellow striped snappers, pendant banner fish and a bandedpipefish swimming along with black and white snappers. Schools of fish swarmed around the bommie. It was so fascinating that we failed to notice the large grinning barracudas until they had almost disappeared from view.

Vo, our dive master, led us to a clearing where two grey reef sharks were circling and then a large spotted eagle ray flew past. After all that excitement, we played with a black polyclad flat worm and then swam to the wall, which was covered in soft corals and beautiful fans. We did another swim-through, very tight and narrow and one when we were down to only 500 psi. At the end of the dive we were entertained by a large green moray eel.

The next day we decided to dive The Wreck. This site is also only minutes from the shore. We went down to over 100 feet and explored the exterior of this inter-island oil freighter, which was bought for only $3,000 and then sunk for diving.

There was a lionfish on its bow and a big nudibranch inside but we did not enter the ship due to my long camera arms and Lynn's fear of small, crampted spaces, so we swam around it, took photos and came up slowly. The water was quite clear with no current and very still at the surface.

In addition to being quite close to the resort, the diving was good. We sampled a couple of the other dive sites including Coral Gardens, Moray Reef, The Chamber and our favorite, Blue Tang.

When we descended into Coral Gardens we immediately saw three grey reef sharks about five feet long each. The water was murky but we photographed like crazy. Then we swam on around some rocks and saw a couple of black and white snappers, squirrel fish and two lionfish hanging over some rocks. They were also some Epaulette Soldierfish.

Then under a rock, I spotted a beautiful yellow-striped Oriental Sweetlips that Lynn photographed along with a lovely coral grouper with turquoise blue spots on a deep orange body. A Chromodoris nudibranch, yellow with purpleish-blue spots and margin, was very cooperative. Everyone was back in the boat when Lynn spotted a lionfish flying around and took some good pictures.

Blue Tang was one of our favorite dive sites and we were able to dive it several times. We descended and Vo played with a Titan Triggerfish (a dangerous thing to do) while Lynn took photos. Then we photographed a bubble coral that contained a transparent shrimp. Yellow fans, more bubble coral and then a swim-through with more Oriental Sweetlips and a clown triggerfish under a ledge. Blue tang went by in a school while we investigated a large beautiful cowry shell that was still harboring a critter, so we left it alone.

There was a lot to see including dart fish, some society worms and a Morrison's Dragonet, including a very small, two-inch long camouflaged orange fish. As we were surfacing, a large barracudas circled overhead.

The unspoiled island of Kadavu, lush and colorful Papageno resort grounds and the spectacular underwater world, combined to make this location one of our favorite Fiji destinations. With only an occasional motor boat to break the natural silence, we were at peace with the sounds of the sea, the breeze and the birds. Yet we were only minutes away from exciting diving.

The beautiful setting is one reason why so many couples choose to get married here on the beach. As we were only days away from Christmas, the wedding we witnessed included a Fijian choir singing a combination of romantic island and Christmas songs. No tuxedos here. After exchanging vows at the water's edge with a Fijian minister, the happy couple departed barefoot down the beach. After dinner, under a full moon, we played around a ceremonial bonfire on the beach and took kayaks out into the calm, moonlit ocean.

The Papageno experience has been crafted to provide a lifetime of memories for all. Add to this wonderful diving with an almost never-ending variety of sea life. The beautifully manicured tropical grounds, organic gardens and beach forms a perfect backdrop for a vacation. Papageno Resort is a place with a very special casual elegance.