Connect with us

Travel Stories

Diving Fiji from Wananavu Beach Resort



The mere mention of Fiji brings to mind beauty above and below water – tropical islands scented with fragrant blossoms and the sound of rustling palm fronds. Divers have seen photographs and video, heard stories from friends of spectacular soft corals and brilliantly colored fish. As with most divers, Fiji was high on our “must-dive list”. It is a long trip however, that carries you across the International Date Line.  Under most circumstances we would have opted for a liveaboard in order to maximize diving and then spent a few days on land. In this particular case though, we could not extend our trip and therefore elected to do a land-based resort. We took the recommendation for Wananavu Beach Resort and found it to be an utterly delightful experience.

We only saw the unicorn fish on a few dives

If one wishes to discuss practical matters first, Wananavu is located on Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, approximately 2.5 hours drive north from the Nadi airport. The distance allows you to see the small villages and much of the varied terrain as you drive slowly behind trailers bearing sugarcane or perhaps stop to allow livestock to be herded across the two-lane road. It became apparent that the idea of getting a car and exploring the countryside on our own in that part of the island would require both a four-wheel drive vehicle and a definite sense of adventure. The resort has a number of excursions that guests can take to local sites. We were not able to avail ourselves because of the timing of the dives, but if you have non-divers along or a “down day”, that would be the chance to check out the famous “Cannibal King’s” village.

As with angel fish, there was an array of butterfly fish such as this Saddleback Butterfly

As for the diving, managers Chris and Victoria Liles operate the in-house Dive Wananavu, a fully functioning dive operation with rental equipment, nitrox, and PADI instruction available. The gear storage area by the lagoon is nicely arranged and it is only steps to the boat dock and the two custom-built dive boats, Nami (Japanese for Wave) and the smaller Nami Lailai. Chris and Victoria’s goal is a simple one and that is, “To provide a land-based operation, with the feel of a liveaboard.”

Clown fish in anemones were so plentiful that it was difficult to choose a favorite

From the moment you turn your gear over to one of the dive staff, you know you are in the hands of people who want to share their passion for diving. While the boats are rated for 18 and 8 people respectively, they try to keep them at a maximum of 16 divers (more commonly 14 though) and 6 divers respectively.  The boats can make the run to the Vatu-I-Ra passage in approximately an hour and there are numerous other sites closer to the resort. As you plunge into the water of whichever site is selected, you quickly understand why this area is referred to as “the soft coral capital of the world”. On one particular site, “Wheatfield”, the mass of golden-colored coral swaying does indeed look like its namesake. There were so many clownfish of all sizes darting in and out that it was not possible to count them all. And as popular as little “Nemos” are, the spectacular colors of the angel and butterfly fish catch your eye with each vivid flash that passes you. Not that my husband, the photographer, didn’t appreciate them, but he was busy capturing pipe fish as often as he could and beautiful nudibranchs. Black-tip and white-tip sharks tended not to linger once we entered the water, usually gliding away within a few minutes.

Aside from seeing banner fish, unicorn fish, and a wide variety of angel and butterfly fish, there were many species that we never did identify nor capture in photo. One was particularly intriguing and another diver told us that we’d seen a dart fish as we described the peculiar shape. In addition to fabulous marine life and underwater topography, most of the sites were simple to navigate as they were pinnacles in one shape or the other and visibility ranged from 70-100+ feet. The pinnacles allowed for multi-level diving with plenty to see during the safety stop. Current was mild to moderate, only strong on the first day at one site.

Beautiful Regal Anglefish were seen on almost every dive

We had both been keeping a very hectic schedule for months and made the decision to dive each morning and snorkel in the afternoon after a leisurely al fresco or beachside lunch. Shore diving is also available although the visibility at the resort itself is only approximately 20-25 feet. Despite that, there are lovely blue starfish and other marine life as well as easy access for getting in and out of the water. Snorkeling happened to work better for us even though several guests enjoyed the shore diving (Okay, the snorkeling part may have had to do with the leisurely lunch including cold beer).

As wonderful as the diving is, the resort is designed for relaxation and was exactly the kind of place that we needed. There are no telephones or televisions in the rooms and the internet is extremely limited. The idea of coming to Wananavu is to unplug and unwind.

The buildings are arranged in a tiered fashion with the lobby, gift shop, restaurant and bar at the top of the property to give a panoramic view across the water. The pool, complete with man-made waterfall, is the next level down with a path that winds to the far side to take you to the small spa area. When you book a bure (room), you can opt for garden, partial ocean view, or beachside. Native hardwoods are used throughout and with a small balcony off our partial ocean view room, we would sit at night and watch glittering stars as we listened to the slap of waves against the sand below us. The beach sand is groomed daily and the sunrises and sunsets are lovely. The birdlife is plentiful among the familiar tropical offerings of hibiscus, bougainvillea, and other flowering shrubs that I wasn’t familiar with.

Blue star fish were a feature in snorkeling off Wananavu Beach Resort

It does take a few strolls along the foliaged-lined paths to become properly oriented and at the very lowest level to the left is the lagoon with the dive shop, boats, another beach area, and beach café that is open for part of the day. There was in fact, a black seahorse that had been resident in the lagoon for a while, but it had disappeared a day or two before we arrived.

Fijians are known for their hospitality and warmth and that was reflected among the entire staff. The food plan at the resort includes a large continental breakfast as well as cook to order if you wish. The two course lunch menu provides sandwiches, soups, entrees and desserts and it is expanded to three courses for dinner. Alcoholic beverages are an additional cost and there is a full bar service. There is a buffet every few nights and one night is usually devoted to a “Fijian Lovo” which features traditional cooking and later a “Meke” – story-telling through dance.  A local trio provides music each afternoon and evening though and the “kava bowl” is available if you wish to try this regional beverage made from the roots of the kava plants. I confess that we did not choose to partake, although we most assuredly enjoyed the local beer, rum, and of course Australian and New Zealand wines.

If you plan to attend DEMA in Orlando in November 2013, you can stop by the Dive Wananavu booth and meet the Liles in person. Or you can log onto and access their Facebook Page at for more information and blog posts.


Charlie Hudson is the author of Deadly Doubloons, Islands in the Sand: An Introduction to Artificial Reefs in the US, and other dive-themed novels and non-fiction. She and her husband, Hugh, are both retired Army and live in South Florida where they pursue their “fun” second careers. You can see all of Charlie’s work and access her blog at


Discover Peace and Tranquillity in Egypt’s Eastern Desert and its Amazing Red Sea



There is a dive resort in the Red Sea that is stuck in time; a time when the marine life was not bombarded by modern times. No tourist hotels, no day boats, and very few divers… simply the Red Sea at its best.

That place is the multi award winning Roots Red Sea.

Nestling on the edge of the Eastern Desert beside a mountain back drop, Roots Red Sea offers an idyllic comfortable retreat in the desert making you truly feel at one with nature.

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea is a small friendly resort aimed at scuba divers, snorkellers and those who want a quiet, peaceful, relaxed atmosphere but with the convenience of having the small traditional town of El Quseir on its doorstep. The tag of a camp should not be taken too literally; it relates more to the location than the outstanding accommodations with modern facilities.

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea is managed by British-owned and run Pharaoh Dive Club, who have an unsurpassed reputation for friendly helpful staff delivering great personal service. Owners Steve and Clare have vast experience of the Red Sea, having been working the region for over 35 years.

Roots Red Sea

Their simple mantra is to deliver the holiday the guest wants and treat everyone the way they would like to be treated themselves. There is a distinct no problem attitude and nothing is too much trouble for the team. It’s certainly a winning formula, as testified by their guests. TripAdvisor award winners every year since opening resulting in being accredited to the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.

Roots Red Sea

It’s no wonder that Roots Red Sea boasts an annual 75% repeat guest rate. It’s one of the diving world’s best kept secrets!

But you don’t go to the Red Sea to sit in a hotel, no matter how perfect it is – you go for the diving, and that certainly doesn’t disappoint – starting with the awesome house reef!

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea isn’t just the base for Pharaoh Dive Club, its operated by them too. Unlike the majority of holiday resorts across Egypt, at Roots Red Sea everything revolves around making your diving experience as good as it
could ever be.

Roots Red Sea

The dive operation is seamless, from arrival to departure. All the check-in procedures are on-site, right next to the accommodation, and once completed, it’s just a short walk away to the private beach on Abu Sauatir Bay – Roots Red Sea‘s house reef. On the beach, you will find all you need to while away the hours: sun loungers, parasols, toilets, showers, and the Beach Bistro where lunch is served each day.

Roots Red Sea

Diving with Pharaoh Dive Club is extremely relaxed and flexible. For those with suitable experience, the house reef is open from 8am to 5pm for unlimited unguided diving. Come and go as much as your computer allows!

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea

Everyday, if you want, there are options to go further afield and explore the amazing variety of sites both locally and those which require day excursions. Trips are run by bus to shore locations and by zodiac for the less accessible sites.

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea

Roots Red Sea


There is more than enough local diving to fill the days for many visits, however we do also have access to some of the more renowned dive sites, and offer regular opportunities for our divers to experience them.


Elphinstone Reef is one of Egypt’s most exhilarating diving spots. The summit of a subterranean mountain barely reaches the surface and is abound with rich in colourful corals and fish species, all attracting the interest of hungry barracuda, dolphins and sharks.  This is one of the few places where divers can regularly come in direct contact with the awesome Oceanic White Tip shark.

Roots Red Sea

These encounters are only for experienced advanced divers due to the reef’s location in the open-sea, with its alluring but dangerously deep coral plateaus and caves and its infamous and constantly changing currents. You’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience.


The Salem Express is a wreck to be dived with immense respect for the poor souls who lost their lives in tragedy just an hour away from its final destination, the Safaga Port.
Originally built in the French shipyards of La Seyne in 1964 and known by several different names during the course of its life, the Salem Express was a 100 meter (300 feet) long roll-on roll-off ferry. She is is resting at a depth of 12 to 30 meters on its starboard side with its bow doors wide open.

Roots Red Sea

On descending, the port side of the ship is merely 12 meters below the surface and is surprisingly intact. The lifeboats with the distinct “S” emblem are indications that they passengers didn’t even get the chance to lower them.
The Salem Express is a fabulous wreck dive for all levels of diver with clear waters allowing you to see the complete wreck as you descent to the the port side to begin your tour.


Night diving at Roots Red Sea is constantly referred to by our guests as their best ever. The unspoilt reef around the bay changes completely at night with a whole new cast of attractions. Without a doubt, the stars of the show are the awesome Spanish Dancers and eerie Flashlight fish who dart around the reef face.

Roots Red Sea

They may be the stars, but the reef is also abundant with the resident sleeping Hawksbill turtle, sleeping parrot fish in their mucus bubbles exciting finds, and more. When the dive is over and you are back on the beach, you will undoubtedly be reaching for the marine life ID books, as there are some very strange looking night visitors!



Roots is also the perfect location for diver training, from total beginner to going pro. 


Fancy turning your hobby into a career?  Our PADI Pro training is provided by the best in the industry, namely Ocean Turtle Diving.  Platinum Course Director Kerrie Eade works alongside Elite Course Director Edwin Lodder to ensure each course is fun and enjoyable whilst delivering the highest level of coaching and extraordinary success rates.

Roots Red Sea

Kerrie and Edwin have achieved the highest level of recognition from PADI for their Pro training. They train in excess of 200 professionals each year, yet still deliver bespoke, tailored training to meet the needs of each candidate.

The next IDC at Roots Red Sea will begin on 30th November through to 7th December with the IE in Hurghada on the 9th and 10th December.  Click here for more details or to book:


Have we whet your appetite to come and visit us? Lets make it a simple decision by making a very special offer!

Come and grab some winter sun with our exclusive offer in association with Scubaverse:
Visit Roots Red Sea during the whole of December 2023 through to the end of February 2024, with an amazing 2 for 1 package. Valid for bookings received before 1st November 2023, quoting reference SBV1023.

Roots offers all the amenities you need to recharge your batteries without any animation to disturb the peaceful ambiance.
For more information, contact us:
And don’t forget to quote SBV1023 before 1st November 2023 to take advantage of our exclusive Scubaverse 2 for 1 package if you come and dive with us anytime from the beginning of December 2023 until the end of February 2024!

Continue Reading


Join Murex Resorts in North Sulawesi and embark on a Passport to Paradise!



Are you planning your next tropical diving holiday? With literally the world at your feet and so many different types of diving to choose from it can be tough deciding where to go…

The Indonesian province of North Sulawesi lies in the heart of a marine rich region and offers incredible wall diving in the Bunaken Marine Park: wreck, critters and reef combinations in Manado Bay; colorful coral reefs surrounding Bangka island; and the world’s best muck diving in the Lembeh Strait. So how do you begin to choose which region to allocate your holiday time to?

Whilst many divers have heard of these world class diving destinations, many may not realize the close proximity within which they are located. Taking a scuba diving holiday in North Sulawesi does not mean that you have to choose between locations – you can see all that is on offer and explore the areas which appeal to you – IN ONE TRIP!!!

Bunaken Marine Park was one of the first Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia – and it shows! The dive sites around this small island are characterized by staggering coral walls which are teeming with life. The resident population of green sea turtles has grown from strength to strength and at some dive sites you’ll lose count of the number of turtles you see in a single dive.

North Sulawesi, Nord Sulawesi, Celebes Sea, Murex Manado

Manado Bay is home to wide ranging marine life and diverse dive sites. Manado Bay is becoming increasingly recognized for its black sand, muck diving sites, which are home to a plethora of unusual critters from numerous cephalopod species through to seahorses, nudibranch and crustaceans. The Molas wreck is an exciting wreck dive and also offers a myriad of fish and critters. To the South of Manado Bay lays Poopoh – a record breaking site where 385 different species of fish were recorded in just one morning.

Bangka Island is as beautiful underwater as it is on land. This white sand, paradise island is surrounded by kaleidoscopic, soft coral reefs. Schooling snappers, passing reef sharks, occasional dugongs and an array of reef fish and critters have all made Bangka Island their home. Bangka offers phenomenal diving coupled with the chance to completely get off the grid on this stunning, remote tropical island.

The Lembeh Strait is home to the highest concentration of rare and unusual marine life on Earth. Exploring Lembeh’s world famous muck diving sites is akin to opening a treasure chest of critters. Even the most seasoned of divers can’t help but be impressed by the species found here: eight different species of frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, wunderpus, mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, bobtail squids, harlequin shrimps, tiger shrimps, three species of pygmy seahorses, countless species of nudibranch, bobbit worms, Ambon scorpionfish and rhinopias – just to name but a few!

The idea of moving from resort to resort can seem arduous and result in wasted diving days – but in North Sulawesi this does not need to be the case! Stay with us at Murex Manado (for diving Bunaken and Manado), and smoothly transition to Murex Bangka and then on to Lembeh Resort too. You can choose the number of nights you wish to stay in each location and transfers between resorts are by boat and include two dives along the way! No wasted diving days, no logistical planning, no drying and packing gear and your dive guide will stay with you from start to finish. Dive your way, hassle free, from one place to the next. Two resort combinations are also available.

For those of you who want to experience the full diversity of Indonesia, choose from up to 150 dive sites and maximize your diving opportunities – a Passport to Paradise is the dive trip of a lifetime.

For more information or for enquiries:

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!


Jump on board the newest addition to the Emperor Fleet! Seven Seas is a very impressive liveaboard boasting 12 spacious cabins. It offers 5-star service and is perfect for exploring the waters with its spacious dive deck and 75HP zodiac tenders fitted with ladders. Enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic introductory special offer.   Price NOW from just £1625 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including: Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage 7 nights in shared cabin 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees Free Nitrox Airport transfers More information on Seven Seas Booking deadline: Limited availability at this price! Subject to availability. Alternative departure airports are available. Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email More Less

Instagram Feed