Eco Tourism at Beachcomber Island
At Beachcomber Island we are committed to to providing long term solutions for conserving and protecting our natural and cultural heritage. With educational programs on environmental awareness and promoting a greater understanding and appreciation for nature and culture, and the well being of our local people and marine life.
HAWKSBILL TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME
We’re a big fan of the Hawksbill Turtle, not only are they beautiful majestic creatures, synonymous with Fijian culture and history, but they are a vital part of our coral reefs ecosystems. We are lucky that they live and breed here in the area and for many years we have been an advocate for the protection of Hawksbill Turtles. Through this programme we have released many turtles back into the wild each year; luckily this is something that has caught on with other local resorts now running similar programmes. When the eggs hatch we place the hatchlings in one of our turtle ponds where we care for them until they are less vulnerable. We then release the turtles back into the wild in small batches between 6 months and 24 months old. This conservation approach is known as a Hatchling Headstart Programme, and we are one of the very few resorts in Fiji that have the necessary permits from the Department of Fisheries to keep turtles for conservation purposes. We ensure the turtles have ample opportunity to develop their natural behaviour so they are adequately prepared for release.
Beachcomber is located 18 kms off the mainland and it is very costly to barge in or pipe water to the island. Due to this we have constructed a desalination plant, which produces 1000m3 of clean water per day. This is salt water which passes through the machine and 75% of salt water is piped back into the sea. We have 3 holding tanks that can hold 100,000 gallons or 400,00 litres of water for consumption cooking, laundry and other things that need water on the Island. The machine makes 25,000 gallons or 35,000 litres of freshwater per day in an hour and it is totally safe for consumption.
WASTE TREATMENT ON BEACHCOMBER ISLAND RESORT
Due to the unavailability of municipal systems of water care on the island, we have our own way of taking care of our sewer water. We have wells built around the island which have their own sump pumps. These pumps transfer everything into a catchment well which in turn pumps all in to a 90 cubic meter treatment tank. The process is biodegradable, non-toxic, environmentally safe, non-corrosive and safe to use. The gray water in turn is used to water our beautiful gardens through sprinkler system and the 1% solid is dried out and packed in bags and sent for manure to farms on Mainland. Nothing is discharged into the ocean and which keeps our surrounding reefs alive with lot of things – like live coral and different fish for our marine environment.
Coral planting is significantly becoming important nowadays with the changes in temperature and acidity in the oceans due to climate change combined with the natural disaster becoming more and more devastating and destroying coral reefs. Along with an increase of anthropogenic activities that whether it be washing away of nutrients in the oceans that cause algal bloom that suffocate corals or the decline in grazing fish species that remove algae due to over fishing. What we know for sure is that coral reefs are being destroyed in a rate that is faster than they can restore themselves. What VESA offers is just a platform to help corals restoration by providing the man power and also by planting branching corals from the tip rather than waiting for their whole spawning cycle to occur. What we do is we use tips from the Acropora species of corals that are well known for being weedy and also resilient to temperature and salinity changes. We fix them onto specially made pegs and this method allows an easy way for the corals to be transplanted after 6-8 months of being grown in a coral nursery straight into the affected areas of the reef where they grow and become new coral colonies.