You will be based on Caqalai island, approximately 1 hour by boat from the Viti Levu Mainland and a further 45 minutes to the capital, Suva. You will be working on nearby islands and coastal reefs around the base. In order to travel independently around the area on your days off you must pre-book water taxis with the staff; there is usually a water taxi each morning and afternoon to and from the mainland. Costs will vary based on destination, but would normally be between $60-150FJD return. You will have time off and be free to travel in the local area on the weekends, usually from around 14:00 Friday, coming back to base by 17:00 on Sunday. In this time you could do daytrips such as visiting the old colonial capital Levuka, on nearby Ovalau, or trekking up the mountains there. You can also go snorkelling or scuba diving, relax for a night or two in a nearby resort or go further afield on Viti Levu.
Accommodation is in shared (mixed gender) huts with shared bathroom facilities at the field station. There is rain water available for cooking, drinking, and washing. Ground water is pumped for other ablutions. Careful water conservation is necessary and water may be rationed during droughts. Basic flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share base duties, including cleaning and other chores. You need to bring your own mosquito net and bedding for example a thin sleeping bag liner.
If you need to stay additional nights before or after your project you need to book these separately, ask your travel consultant for help.
An airport transfer will meet the following two flights arriving in Suva on Fridays. You will be picked up at Suva Airport and dropped off at Pisces Hostel.
Please double check the times below as there may be seasonal changes.
1. Fiji Airways (FJ7)
Departure: 08:30 Nadi International (NAN)
Arrival: 09:00 Nausori International (SUV)
2. Fiji Airways (FJ21)
Departure: 18:30 Nadi International (NAN)
Arrival: 19:00 Nausori International (SUV)
Please note that if you choose to fly at a different time, you will need to make your own way to our meeting point.
You can also take a taxi from Nadi Airport. This is about 250 FJD dollar (110 EUR), and takes 4 hours to get to Suva Center. There are several taxis outside the arrival terminal of Nadi International Airport. Should you choose this option, you will need to make your own way to Pisces Hostel.
Meeting Point on Start Date (Saturday)
The pick-up point for your transfer to the project is at 11:00 in the lobby of Pisces Hostel.
If you are flying out on a Saturday, you will be dropped off at the airport in Suva on Saturday at around 10:00. Please make sure that you book flights from Suva to Nadi after midday 12:00 to allow yourself enough time to check in and catch your flight. If you are using other transport options to get to Nadi, we will drop you off at Pisces Hostel.
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is a very basic, mostly vegetarian diet. Breakfast could be porridge, fruit or toast, lunch is beans, vegetables, pasta and sauce, etc. and a typical evening meal may include lentils, pasta, beans, rice and vegetables. Please note, no alcohol is permitted on base.
During our summer months November to April, the water temperature rises to a very comfortable 27-30°C. Past volunteers recommend 2mm short suits for these temperatures and although this is cyclone season, this time of year is known for calm seas. However, the higher temperature does increase the oceanic plankton growth reducing visibility to around 24-26m. Winter is May to October, when water temperatures are 24-27°C. 3 or 5 mm steamers would be recommended. This time of year is known for fabulous visibility of up to 30m.
Dive Equipment Rental
If you are renting dive equipment locally, pick it up before meeting the team at the pick-up point on Saturday (project start date) and transferring to the project.
You will have limited access to long-distance communications whilst on the program, so make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Mobile/cell phone reception is available on base, although it can be poor at times. It is possible to purchase pay-as-you-go Fijian SIM cards for unlocked phones in Nadi pre-departure. There is no general internet access for volunteers on base. The SIM and credit must be purchased prior to island deployment. It is possible to purchase a pay-as-you-go mobile internet USB stick or WiFi modem, however, internet signal can be poor at times.