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The Namena Barrier Reef, 15 mi south of Vanua Levu, includes more than 30 mi of untarnished reef track. Divers are rewarded with swim-throughs, dramatic drop-offs, large and small fish, intricate hard-coral formations and, of course, magnificent soft coral. Jean-Michel Cousteau ranks the site around Namena Island as one of the 10 best in the world. KoroSun Dive also gets out to the Rainbow Reef.
L'Aventure. The Jean-Michel Cousteau resort's renowned operation L'Aventure dives more than 15 sites in the Koro Sea using its 37-foot enclosed-cabin boat aptly named L'Aventure. The boat departs the resort with up to 12 divers each morning around 8:30, sometimes returning at 12:30 and sometimes going until 4 pm with an included picnic lunch. A one-tank dive costs US$80, a two-tank dive is US$133, and full certification costs US$525, not including equipment rental. Call in advance to reserve space. Lesiaceva Point, Savusavu, Vanua Levu. 415/788-5794; 800/246-3454 in U.S.; 613/9815-0379 in Australia. fijiresort.com/diving.shtml.
KoroSun Dive. KoroSun Dive, a PADI- and SSI-certified operation, runs day trips to the Rainbow Reef in Somosomo Strait in addition to trips to Namena Barrier Reef. It uses two 33-foot purpose-built boats with freshwater showers. A one-tank dive costs US$64, a two-tank dive is US$109. Night dives and certification courses are priced on request. 885-2452. www.korosundive.com.
Fiji Dive, Marine Conservation and Culture. For avid (though not necessarily experienced) fans of diving ages 18-35, the six-week program Fiji Dive, Marine Conservation and Culture combines cultural immersion, diving certification or advancement, and marine conservation work. Participants start with a certification or advancement course with KoroSun Dive. They spend a week living in a very basic village outside of town while learning how to conduct Marine Protection Area (MPA) research from the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort's resident marine biologist. The second week or so is spent at Hidden Paradise Guesthouse while they begin research. The group then moves to a house in the area and continues its dive research. The last week or so of the trip is spent relaxing at either the Beach House or Mango Bay Resort on Viti Levu's Coral Coast. The program costs US$3,950. Six-week marine conservation internships involving a longer village stay are also available, as are one-three week luxury packages with an optional marine biology component. 970-7906; 643/357-0580 in NZ. www.diving-fiji.com.
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