A few weeks back we celebrated Amanda’s 31st birthday and we decided to enjoy a few days away from Suva by visiting Beqa Island. Due to the COVID situation, Fiji’s tourism industry has suffered drastically and with no international tourists being able to enter, Fiji’s resorts and tourist operators came up with the “Love your Locals” campaign. Some resorts slashed their prices by more than half to encourage locals and expats still in Fiji to visit and spend their money in the local economy. The tourism industry has been hit hard and much of the staff has been laid off in recent weeks and months.
After we had a terrible experience with the Beqa Lagoon Resort back in 2015 where they literally made us disembark the transport boat in Pacific harbor after a strange phone call with the manager, we decided to give them another try. Already back then our main motivation was to participate in the Tiger Shark dive we wanted to avoid paying the high hotel costs, so through a contact that Amanda had established on the island during her REPICORE Ph.D. research here in Fiji, we organised to sleep at a house close to the resort and just wanted to dive there.
Loaded with gear, dive equipment, and other stuff we got to the jetty in Pacific Harbor on Christmas Eve (!!) 2015 and the staff packed all of our luggage on the boat. Then the phone rang, an exchange between staff and the then-manager and eventually with us resulted in us being thrown off the boat again “because it is resort policy that we would have to stay at the resort in order to use the transport”. And this was despite the fact that we had agreed to pay it anyway! So there we were, stranded in Pacific Harbor and mighty pissed and disappointed by the last-minute 180-degree turn..
Time heals all wounds or so they say and almost five years later we gave it another try. The management has changed by now so why not we thought. We arrived on the island and moved into a beautiful oceanfront bure with our own little plunge pool – our holiday could begin! I quickly noticed a few birds around the area, such as reef herons, orange-breasted myzomelas, barking pigeons, and other usual suspects, such has mynah birds and Red-vented bulbuls.
The lagoon itself lies on the north-western site on Beqa Island and is about a forty-minute boat ride from Pacific Harbor. It has a nice little beach and some sheltered areas to snorkel right in front of it.
One of our main motivations was to finally to the tiger shark dive to first and foremost see the tiger shark but also to compare the shark diving operations around Beqa. I have dived dozens of times we Beqa Adventure Divers and love their general approach and protocol (read more about the Shark Reef here), had a few dives with Aquatrek as well and now wanted to try out the Beqa Lagoon Resort dive. Amanda and I were indeed the only two guests (!) and this would be the first commercial shark dive in three months they told us. Apparently they had gone out to keep feeding the sharks during staff dives and we were told just four days prior four tigers turned up during a training dive.
Unfortunately, we remained unlucky and no tiger showed up this day. The tiger shark still remains my nemesis but I will not give up 😉 We will get back there some time soon and after that, I will get back with more images and a comparison report between the different shark operators here on Viti Levu in Fiji.
The resort offers a little hike towards some smaller waterfalls about an hour from the resort. Just sitting around can be a little boring (at least for me ;-)) so we packed our cameras and made our way along the dalo and cassava plantations. Being notorious for a lot of rain, Beqa Island was nice to us and showed us its best sunny side. A usual we kept our eyes sharp and tried to spot any birds out here, but besides a Fiji Whiteye in the dense forests, we couldn’t spot any others. The hike itself was great – a little muddy and slippery here and there, but a welcome exercise and it was lovely to see some of Fiji’s beautiful and lush forest areas. Definitely pack enough water and some proper shoes in case you plan to visit the waterfalls and you might want to take some mosquito repellent, too – we didn’t have any and returned with about 600 bites each.
Hi Robert, Fiji indeed has some amazing hospitality to offer! Thanks for sharing your story – it sounds like you had an amazing experience on Beqa! By the way, postal service is working here in Fiji and I have received international mail in case you would like to send something to the resort! take care and best,
Great blog, lovely photos. Our group returned recently from our week stay at Beqa Lagoon. This was our second trip there, and my husband and I are booked again next March. We love the people and their never ending smiles! Don’t you feel like family there? And the beauty…..ah……My ears plugged the last two days of diving in spite of decongestant, but that just gave me more time to explore the island and photograph plants, birds and people. We too love the shark dives of course, a highlight of the trip. We go with a group out of Rockford IL, west of Chicago, but there are folks from other states that join us.
Thanks so much for all the work you put into this blog, I will be sending a link to others from our group as I know they will love it too.
Take care, and safe diving.
Hi Kendra, thank you so much for your kind words! It is indeed wonderful here in Fiji – have you been around much other than Beqa? So much to discover here .. Thanks for spreading the word on the blog 🙂 All the best from a very rainy Suva today, Tom
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.
25 divers from Provo Utah spent an incredible week at Beqa. The host and staff were top notch. Our experience with the local people were the best ever. Ma and her wonderful family invited to their village,as well as Losa.
I have picture of them I wish to send as soon as international mail service begins.
The most incredible take away from this week was the shark dive. Over 25 sharks attended. Bull, Tiger, Black Tip, White tip and a huge Grouper and big as a VW.
I was so over come with the experience that I took of my dive watch and gave it to the main feeder. He in turn presented me with a Bull Shark tooth. All this happening at 70′. I could never experience a better dive. I retired from diving that day at 70′.
I gave away all my dive gear and now have only pucture and memories.