116 divers take over Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon for one of the world’s biggest diving fundraisers: The International Gay & Lesbian SCUBA Jamboree.
Pacific Harbour, Fiji: This week Fiji played host to the 2022 Diving For Life Gay & Lesbian SCUBA Jamboree, a huge event attracting over 100 divers, largely from North America, to have fun, enjoy Fiji’s underwater world and raise funds for health charities that support the LGBTQ community.
Diveplanit Travel facilitated the event, coordinating all the Fijian service providers, from ground transport to accommodation and diving. A mammoth operational task that involved:
- 116 delegates with 96 divers in the water every day for five days.
- 4 dive boats and 12 dive guides operating morning and afternoon dives each day.
- 216 tanks filled each day and over half a tonne of lead dive weights
- 96 shark dives at Beqa Lagoon’s world famous ‘The Bistro’.
The event was held at The Pearl South Pacific Resort & Spa, with diving managed by Aquatrek Fiji, and ground transport provided by Tourism Transport Fiji.
Diveplanit Managing Director Simon Mallender is full of praise for all the Fijian operators who contributed to the event. “Natalie Marletta and her team at The Pearl were outstanding, hosting flawless events each night to entertain guests, while Aquatrek’s head of diving operations, Jona Baro, pulled off an incredible feat, coordinating 96 divers every day without a hitch!”
The week-long event kicked off on Fiji Day, where delegates joined The Pearl staff in celebrations, with parades, singing and dancing on the resort grounds. Each night the Pearl hosted guests for themed dinners including a South Seas dinner, Bollywood Night, and a Fijian Meke and Lovo Feast.
On the final night, A Gala Dinner was held: the ‘Time Travellers’ Reunion’, so themed to highlight the fact that many of these divers hadn’t seen each other in over two years due to Covid-19 border closures. The most important events, a silent and live auction, raised USD 110,000 for medical research that supports the LGBTQ community.
The event is four years in the planning and was originally scheduled for October 2020. Organisers Matt Kaine and Tracy Taggart are delighted the event was the success it turned out to be. At the end of a busy week, Matt Kaine had this to say to delegates:
“Today we say goodbye to Fiji and the Pearl which has been home to our group all week. And what a week!! Thank you to the staff of the Pearl and Aqua Trek for showing us the wonders of this part of Fiji. We also had a very successful year raising funds for health charities that support the LGBTQ community. It was a week of new friends, old friends, and amazing memories.”
About Diving For Life
Founded in 1992, Diving For Life is a not-for-profit organisation that sponsors The International Gay and Lesbian SCUBA Jamboree. The Jamboree is a fund-raising event that offers a fun filled week of SCUBA diving with 100 – 125 or more LGBTQ divers attending. Thanks to Diving For Life Jamborees, LGBTQ Scuba Divers from around the globe have helped to raise over $1.5 million dollars, which has been donated to charitable organizations that support the health concerns of the LBGTQ community.
About Diveplanit Travel:
Diveplanit Travel is a specialist scuba diving travel agency and wholesaler. It’s founders, Deborah Dickson-Smith and Simon Mallender, are scuba divers and passionate ocean advocates, whose main mission in life is to encourage more people to see first-hand how incredible the underwater world really is, and hopefully care more about looking after it.
In 2018, the fast-growing company acquired established dive travel wholesaler and agency Diversion Dive Travel. Diversion Dive Travel has been taking care of divers' travel needs for 23 years and have personal knowledge of all the dive resorts and liveaboards they recommend to customers, either from personal experience or from feedback gleaned from their many returning customers.
Specialising in tailor-made diving holidays and group tours – the Diveplanit Travel team pride themselves on finding the best travel combination for each client, taking care of everything along the way, from airfares and accommodation to dive equipment and transfers.