Despite the political upheavals and the discouraging -and unneccessary- travel advisory warnings and after a frightening dip in dive bookings in early January, the year started with a bang as we were named Fiji's Best Dive Operator, a wonderful surprise and a great honor. Like last year's glowing report by the Lonely Planet, the AON Awards are not based on often questionable self-promotion but are instead a true peer review by other local Tourism Operators.
On the Conservation front, we were finally able to expand the protected area of Shark Reef Marine Reserve by signing on yet another local community, the huge village of Deuba with their enormous fishing grounds. We've named the resulting 30-mile protected coastline the Fiji Shark Corridor and are very confident that it comprises most of the territories of our smaller Reef Sharks and Bull Sharks, but probably also those of our resident Tiger Sharks.
And, to my utter surprise and delight, we're likely to post our first ever small profit!
This despite having decided to secure our uncompromising quality standards by replacing our 3-year old engines and most of our dive gear, hiring a high-profile Dive Instructor and paying out a whopping 15 grand in bonuses to our loyal, incomparable BAD boys and girls.
Also, Village payments are likely to top $ 35,000.-, more than double last year's.
That all was only possible thanks to you, our loyal customers!
Along with scores of diving VIPs, more than 3,000 intrepid sharkaholics braved the doomsday scenarios and their very own personal Angst to pay a vist to our toothy friends and thus make a valuable contribution to Shark Conservation.
Thank you so much for that!
Many of you then took the time to post your experience on the web, often a funny and exhilarating read, let alone fabulous footage and photos.
Did I find a single complaint? Of course not!
Here's a small selection of what's out there, well worth having a peek at:
- Personal reports:
. Kevin Baldacchino
. Sam and Andy
. "Blue Legend"
. Tom Huck (......!)
. Darren Frost and Kerry Stephens
. Greg Davis
. Minna and Justin
. Michael Patrick O'Neill
. "Home or Away"
. Aidan and Danni
. Emma + Mark
- Group Reports:
. Shark Diving International
. Academic Treks
. Dive Site Directory
. Dive the World
. Underwater Australasia
. XRay Magazine
. The Independent
. NZ Herald
. Brunnschweiler, Earle
- Images (just one of many many many....)
I wish you a prosperous and adventure-filled 2008!