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I am considering taking my wife to Garden Island Resort and am wanting to hear some of your experiences with this operation. Specifically diving. I was told that they only offer two boat dives per day, the rest is shore diving. Is this true? And is the shore diving worth the whole afternoon for 15 days of diving? Is the diving regimented on the boat dives and is solo diving allowed? I am concerned that this is too much of a "family resort" and I will have to live with dive guides catering to inexperienced divers, losing the chance for some good dive site experiences.

 

Any advice or experiential feedback is really welcome.

 

Thank you for your help.

 

Joe

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Joe, not sure Garden Island would qualify as a family resort. It's pretty remote and as for things to do other than diving, there's not much there.

 

My recollection is you get 2 boat dives in the package but that a 3rd dive and a night dive are offered for an additional fee. Should be easy enough to find out I suppose on that. It seemed if you instigated a sign up sheet and got the minimum, they did these extra dives.

 

As for the shore diving, that's a good name for it. It's so shallow that at times, my tank was out of the water. LOL! Well, almost. It took me a while to get someone at the resort to admit they have shore diving. It was like, Oh uh, talk to so and so about it. Finally, the head guy showed up and showed me where the tanks were and said just grab one and let the dive desk know you took a tank. Seems to me it was $5 and is probably discouraged so you'll do the extra boat dives. Diving from shore solo wasn't a problem. I was there with Eric, James, Tortuga for the Digital Shootout so, not sure if our diving was less restrictive but the DM's seemed fairly layed back to me. In fact they were good at finding critters so, you'd probably want to follow them off and on just to get some of the more unique things that are usually not seen.

 

Of course the main dive sites there are world class. Soft corals galore and quite a few macro subjects as well. Short boat rides. Currents can be killer. Keep towards the bottom of the reefs near the sand and it makes a big difference. I'd go back there myself so maybe that's the best I can say.

 

Rand

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I was looking for a similar fiji resort, we booked in sept at wananavu resort with kai viti divers, based on recommendations from wetpixelians. check it out

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Joe,

 

Why not a week on the Fiji Aggressor, week on shore?

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We loved Matangi Island resort!!

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Spent a week at Garden Island Resort last March and thoroughly enjoyed it. Managed 21 dives over the week. Great diving, good food, highly recommended. There is a slight charge for tank rentals to go shore diving but there is lots of life at the artificially created "Fish Houses". Definitely worth a visit.

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There is little shore diving at most resorts in Fiji, and some fairly long boat rides, if you want to get out to the better sites. We went to Wananavu and Naigani Island a few years ago and enjoyed both. Naigani was really great and we did a lot of cool dives. See how you feel about a third dive/night dive on a day by day basis, the long boat rides and heat had us only doing a few extra, I know, heresy, but we enjoyed our trip a lot.

 

There's links to photos and a trip report off of my blogsite

Jack

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Joe,

I have been there 3 times. Have enjoyed every time. White wall, yellow tunnel are not to be missed. A number of dive guides for the boat. Did not seem restrictive in any way. Pretty good critter finders or leave you alone if you like. Currents can sometimes be strong, they try not to put you in them; but if real bad you do a drift dive. Other dives you are moored. Boat rides are not very long at this resort.

 

The third dive of the day is based on numbers wanting it and a sign up sheet in the dive shop. you might have to instigate it yourself. It does cost extra above your package price.

 

Request a lower room, just so you dont have to carry your camera up and down stairs.

The rooms are air conditioned and since the afternoon sun comes into your room through a large sliding glass door it can get warm in there.

 

I can not say enough good things about all the staff at the resort, resturant and dive shop. All top notch year after year. The food is very good to excellent. The Fijians are such warm and friendly people.

 

Drop me a personal note if you have further questions or give me a call. I would highly recommend it. :lol:

 

Terry

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I stayed at Matangi Island and Maravu Plantation (lots of steps up to my bure). If you want a taste of Rainbow Reef, it is very colourful: http://www.johnbantin.co.uk/navbar2/fijirainbow.htm

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