Dec 17, 2009

Matava fully operational after Cyclone MICK - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort

http://www.sxc.hu/pic/m/e/en/enimal/905450_merry_christmas.jpgOn Monday 14th December 2009 Fiji was hit by a Tropical Cyclone, TC Mick. The cyclone passed straight over the main island and just to the East of Kadavu Island. Although the resort experienced high winds and heavy rain, no damage was done to the resort at all, apart from the loss of some thatch from the corner of the roof of the dive centre. The guests and staff spent the whole day playing cards, board games and reading books safely in the Main Bure while Maggie served breakfast, lunch and dinner as normal. Richard has said that the biggest thing he is upset about is that most of the mangoes came down out the big mango tree! No mango jam this year!

By Tuesday 15th December we were once again fishing, diving and trekking as normal, in glorious sunshine albeit with a stiff breeze!

The cyclone passed quickly and was over in less than a day, however Kadavu island, like the main island, did experiences high winds. Kadavu's main Telecom Fiji tower in Vunisea sustained damage and at the moment, all communication (including mobile services) are down on Kadavu.

Unfortunately this means that we are currently unable to communicate directly with our reservations system at the resort. A communications issue such as this would normally be repaired quickly however with the other wind damage to many systems on the main island, it may be a few days before normal communications with the resort is re-established. Please bear with us.

Furthermore, Airports Fiji Ltd was also engaged in an upgrade to Kadavu Airport last week. Although no interruptions to services were expected, the works (now delayed by the cyclone) have now caused short term interruptions to flight services. All flights to and from Kadavu from Nadi International Airport and Suva Airport are currently suspended and we have been advised that the airport will re-open on the 18th December 2009.

We appreciate your patience in these matters, and rest assured that we are all fine and 100% fully operational at Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort.

May we take this opportunity to wish you and your family all the best for this festive season

Richard, Adrian, Jeanie, Stuart & The Team

Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort


Matava fully operational after Cyclone MICK - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Dec 9, 2009

BIRDWATCHING ON VITI LEVU AND KADAVU, FIJI – JANUARY 2009

Bula!

The following notes will provide some up-to-date information for bird tourists visiting Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, and Kadavu (pronounced Kandavu), another Fijian island, as collected during a one week visit, 17th to 22nd January, 2009.

The main emphasis is on endemic bird species, sites and travel arrangements. A few of photographs have been included to illustrate some of the locations and conditions on the islands. F$ refers to Fiji dollar, the local currency.

BIRDWATCHING ON VITI LEVU AND KADAVU, FIJI – JANUARY 2009 pdf

Oct 5, 2009

A unique experience - TripAdvisor

This place makes you forget about the rest of the world. The staff & management are so friendly, the views are amazing, but you have to put in mind that an enviornment friendly resort means its running on solar energy power, so dont expect ACs or fans, just clean pure air !

I'll be visiting Matava Resort again in the upcoming season for sure.

A unique experience - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Sep 27, 2009

The Fiji Petrel went extinct 130 years ago. But then it got better. : Greg Laden's Blog

The last wild Fiji petral specimen collected, an albatross-like bird (as petrels tend to be) that spends much of its time over the open sea, was collected in 1855 fro Gau Island, Fiji.

It didn't really go extinct, because in 1984 one was caught on Gua, photographed, and set free. Subsequently, possible Fiji petrel sightings have occurred now and then, mostly of disoriented or lost immature birds that showed up in one village or another.

So, as you can see, calling this bird truly extinct was never really appropriate, but it was listed as one of nearly 200 birds that may or may not have been extinct at any given moment, with a very small hope returning every now and then wiht a possible or confirmed sighting. But then scientists went out and got serious bout finding some Fiji petrels and assessing their status.

They did this by setting up a lure consisting of 10 kilogram blocks of fish guts mixed with concentrated fish oil. This substance can be smelled by a petrel from half way around the planet. Well, not really but from very far away. Sure enough, on day two of the experiment, a Fiji petrel showed up to inspect one of the blocks which was floating around int he water. Over the next eleven days eight different individuals were observed.

The story is reported here.


The Fiji Petrel went extinct 130 years ago. But then it got better. : Greg Laden's Blog

Sep 15, 2009

'Lost seabird' returns to ocean

by Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

Fiji petrel (Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi )
Up to eight Fiji petrels were seen over an 11-day period

One of the world's rarest and most elusive birds has finally been seen flying in its natural habitat.

The Fiji petrel, a seabird that once "went missing" for 130 years, has been sighted flying at sea, near the island of Gau in the Pacific Ocean.

The culmination of a meticulously planned bird hunt, Birdlife International researchers sighted the birds 25 nautical miles south of Gau.

Up to eight individuals were seen and photographed over 11 days.

The 30cm tall dark-brown Fiji petrel (Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi) is one of the most elusive of all birds.

To see such a little-known bird at such close range was magical
Expedition member Mr Tony Pym

Originally, the species was known from just a single immature specimen, collected in 1855 on Gau Island, Fiji.

But then the bird "went missing" with no further confirmed sightings of it for almost 130 years.

Then in 1984, an adult was caught and photographed on Gau, then released.

Since then, there have been a handful of reports of "grounded" birds that had crashed onto village roofs on the island. Most were immature birds, of which a few died.

Due to the extremely limited number of sightings, the bird is also inferred to be one of the rarest of all bird species.

It is one of 192 bird species which are list as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Stinky lure

But while there have been ten unconfirmed reports of the bird at sea, with the latest a possible Fiji Petrel sighted around 400km north of Bougainville Island, until now there has been no confirmed sightings.

That was until in May, when scientists and volunteers working with Birdlife International and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, a partner conservation organisation based in Fiji, set out to find the bird in its natural habitat.

The search for the elusive petrel is described in a paper in the latest Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club.

The researchers lured the bird with a specially made food, made from finely cut fish offal mixed with very dense fish oil.

Fiji petrel (H.Shirihai)
The Fiji petrel once "went missing" for 130 years

These were then frozen into 10kg blocks, which persist for over an hour in the water, creating a pungent oil slick which attracts petrels from some miles away.

On the second day of the expedition, the first Fiji Petrel appeared, approaching the chum slick from downwind, slowly zigzagging over the slick, and suddenly changing direction to drop onto a floating morsel.

In all, the expedition team believe they saw eight individuals over eleven days of observations.

"Finding this bird and capturing such images was a fantastic and exhilarating experience," says ornithologist Hadoram Shirihai, who lead the search team.

In 2008, Mr Shirihai also rediscovered the Critically Endangered Beck's Petrel (Pseudobulweria becki) a bird that was also only known from two sightings in the Pacific made in the 1920s.

"To see such a little-known bird at such close range was magical," added fellow expedition member Mr Tony Pym, describing his joy at seeing the Fiji petrel flying over the waves.

More surveys in 2010 are now planned to to locate the breeding area of the Fiji Petrel, says Dick Watling of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti.

"Once we know the location, we can assess what needs to be done to turn around the fortunes of this species," he says.

BBC - Earth News - 'Lost seabird' returns to ocean

Sep 6, 2009

Matava is Fiji's first Resort member of The International Ecotourism Society - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Matava recognised as TIES first ever resort member in the Fiji Islands
Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort is proud to announce that we are Fiji's first Resort Business member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES).
The International Ecotourism Society

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel.

A common question asked is what EXACTLY is ecotourism? Ecotourism is: "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990)

TIES promotes ecotourism, which is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people," by:

  • Creating an international network of individuals, institutions and the tourism industry;
  • Educating tourists and tourism professionals; and
  • Influencing the tourism industry, public institutions and donors to integrate the principles of ecotourism into their operations and policies.


The International Ecotourism Society "Uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel, TIES promotes responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."
To achieve and maintain membership of TIES Matava must abide by all the Principles of TIES and Ecotourism.

Principles of Ecotourism:The Great Astrolabe Reef in Kadavu, Fiji

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
  • Minimize impact.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
  • Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate.
"At Matava, we are of course both happy and proud to be a Resort member of TIES, the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association." said Matava Director, Mr Richard Akhtar.

"We also see this as a great step forward and opportunity for all Fiji resorts, both on Kadavu and in the Fiji Islands, to move forward in their standards to achieve truly world class service and capabilities required for this membership level and to do it in the true spirit of ecotourism."


Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort Mr Akhtar finished by saying "We would like to thank all friends and clients of Matava and Mad Fish Dive Centre past and present who have contributed to the success of our eco resort and we look forward to exciting times ahead."

The International Ecotourism Soceity (TIES) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism. Founded in 1990, TIES has been in the forefront of the development of ecotourism, providing guidelines and standards, training, technical assistance, research and publications. TIES' global network of ecotourism professionals and travelers is leading the efforts to make tourism a viable tool for conservation, protection of bio-cultural diversity, and sustainable community development. Through membership services, industry outreach and educational programs, TIES is committed to helping organizations, communities and individuals promote and practice the principles of ecotourism. TIES currently has members in more than 90 countries, representing various professional fields and industry segments including: academics, consultants, conservation professionals and organizations, governments, architects, tour operators, lodge owners and managers, general development experts, and ecotourists.

Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, is an eco adventure getaway offering you a fun and unique blend of cultural experiences and adventure activities in the environmentally pristine and remote island of Kadavu in the Fiji Islands. Matava - Fiji Premier Eco Adventure Resort is a PADI Dive Resort as well as a Project AWARE GoEco Operator. Matava offers accommodation for up to 22 guests in lush tropical surroundings in traditional thatched Fijian 'bures' with hardwood polished floors, louvre windows and private decks offering privacy, comfort and superb ocean views.

Matava is Fiji's first Resort member of The International Ecotourism Society - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Jul 30, 2009

The Fiji Petrel Expedition 2008

This year's mission to try and observe the Fiji Petrel at sea unfortunately had to be aborted after three days due to mechanical problems with the boat. Two chumming sessions on the journey to Gau, the island where birds have been grounded in the past, produced four Kermadec Petrels (only the second record for Fiji waters), a White-necked Petrel (though possibly a Vanuatu Petrel), 20+ Tahiti Petrels, four Collared Petrels and one probable, though brief, Providence Petrel. Of special note was a small 'Cookilaria-sized' dark petrel seen by three of the team, which flew under the Kermadec's giving a direct size comparison.
On the second day at sea we chummed some 16 miles southeast of Gau. Two Polynesian Storm-petrels (the first confirmed in the Fiji and Samoa biogeographical region for 132 years) were observed plus two more Kermadecs. Tahiti Petrels numbered about 16 over a three-hour period and two Collared Petrels were distant. Once more, a small dark petrel was seen momentarily, only to fly into the sun's glare.
Following the boat's technical problems the group decided to fly to Taveuni in the Fiji Islands and try for seabirds there (and the endemic landbirds in any spare time). We could charter only a high-speed sports boat and chummed the first day 18 miles offshore and the second day at the Vuna seamount. The highlight was a White-bellied Storm-petrel (a species never reliably confirmed from Fiji waters) on the first day and three Gould's Petrels on the second. Day totals were 50+ Tahiti Petrels, one Collared Petrel on the first day and 30+ Tahiti Petrels on the second - on our return to the quay at dusk we had a gathering of an additional 50+ Tahiti Petrels, waiting to return to their breeding burrows ashore.
Supplementary species seen during sailings were many Red-footed Boobies and Crested Terns, flocks of both Brown and Black Noddies, Lesser Frigatebirds, a couple of Black-naped Terns and a lone Bridled Tern.
We had two cetacean species; a pod of about 10 Pantropical Spotted Dolphins off Viti Levu and a Dwarf Minke Whale, feeding in the chum off Taveuni.
It is evident, from the records above, the real possibilities for groundbreaking research in this marine area and it was most frustrating for us to have to leave the region prematurely. Indeed, for some species of seabirds our research, and discussions aboard - for example, on identification and taxonomic issues - raised many more questions than answers.
Another sailing next year is already in the early planning stages, and most likely will be from mid to late July, with 10 days intended at sea – this time frame we believe the best for success with Fiji Petrel, based on ageing of the available specimens and grounded birds. We shall have the best type of boat for working these waters and have found a new chum mix that works extremely well with the tubenoses. Already Hadoram Shirihai and Dick Watling have confirmed they will again be on the voyage.
We shall announce more over the coming months for those interested in joining us in 2009. Please monitor the seabird newsgroups or contact me direct (Tony_Pym@hotmail.com). Participants will share equally all onboard costs and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (www.naturefiji.org) will support the expedition. This continuing seabird survey we believe will confirm yet more exciting species in the local seas and provide further insight on the mysterious Fiji Petrel itself.
Some photographs taken on the 2008 expedition
(Thanks to Hadoram Shirihai for the © photos!)
Left - Tahiti Petrel
Above right - White-bellied Storm-petrel
Below left - Gould's Petrel


FijiPetrelExpedition