*Information below from early 2000's please let us know of any changes.
If you have a diving accident on Fiji and think that you might need the Recompression Chamber in Suva, please call one of these numbers:
Dr H. Ali - 999 3500 (mobile)
Dr J. Maharaj - 999 3501 (mobile)
Mr Curly Carswell - 999 3506 8850 345
The chamber is located within Suva's private hospital, which intends to provide an international standard of medical care.
For other medical emergencies, phone 911
Diver's Alert Network (DAN) - the dive safety organisation:
USA: +1-919-684-4326 (accepts collect / reverse charges calls) or +1-919-684-8111 (does not accept collect / reverse charge calls)
South East Asia-Pacific Region (S.E.A.P.), which includes Fiji.
New Zealand: +64-9-445-8454
What hazards can you expect when diving around Fiji? Here are a couple that you might want to know about:
There are strong currents in many places around Fiji. These contribute to some of the extraordinary wildlife here, such as the White Wall (made up of soft corals) in the Somosomo Straight off Taveuni; a world renowned drift dive. However, these currents often move faster than you can fin, so it is a good idea to have a knowledgeable local with you when diving.
November to April is the cyclone season and strong winds can whip up the seas at any time of the year. You should always check on the weather conditions before going out in a boat. Most boat captains are conscientious and will have checked, but it is better not to assume that. Call the meteorological office in Namaka (phone 6724 888) before going out.
There have been a couple of fatal shark attacks off the island of Taveuni. Recent ones were in December 2000, May 2001 and September 2003. According to FijiTV, the former occured when a local man moored his boat about 150m offshore and dived into the water to swim to shore. According to newspaper accounts, he was moored only 30m offshore. While he was swimming, a shark bit his leg and he bled to death before reaching shore. In the second incident a lone spearfisherman was attacked while he was carrying his catch. This is not a recommended practice. The third fatality was a 40-year old man wading ashore from his boat at Drekeniwai, Taveuni. According to local police, the shark bit open his abdomen, intestines and genitals. One reason why attacks seem to happen more often around Taveuni is said to be because the pig processing plant there throws waste products into the sea, thus attracting sharks.
There are a couple of species in Fiji waters that are known to be dangerous: Tiger sharks, Oceanic White Tips and Bull sharks. However, I have never heard of them attacking scuba divers here. Apart from that, there are a few other animals with teeth, such as Barracuda and Moray eels, and some of the soft corals, Crown of Thorns sea stars, Lionfish and so on, can give you a nasty sting. Check out the wildlife books or ask a local about the wildlife where you are diving.
If you are light-skinned and come from a country at a higher latitude, the intensity of the sun can catch you out. It is all too easy to get sunburned here, particularly on your head, neck and shoulders. Apply sun screen regularly and take plenty of water with you on dive trips. Your dive boat may have water on board, but you need to drink a lot more than you are used to. If you find yourself getting intense headaches which clear up within a couple of minutes of drinking a glass of water, you may be getting dehydrated. Take lots of water or fruit juice with you and drink it frequently.