Today’s update from Fiji was co-written by Patrick and Holland:
Greetings from Fiji! This morning, rather than waking up to the beautiful sun as usual, there was only rain. After an early breakfast we trotted through the rain to the dive shop as usual, squeezed on our wetsuits and hopped onto the boat. After a chilly 10 minute ride, we arrived at Shark Reef Marine Reserve, which, even in the rain is gorgeous! Despite the gloom above water, we had perfect visibility and there was no current. This made for an absolutely perfect day of diving.
If possible, the sharks were even more energetic than usual, snapping over every tuna head. Fabi, the shark feeder dropping tuna from above had the sharks closer to us than ever, which made for a thrilling experience! Next, we ascended to 10 meters where we were met by our old friend the gigantic Moray eel, mouth wide open waiting for food from Papa. There were so many Blacktips and Whitetips around him that he didn’t even notice the eel! After a safety stop, we got back on the boat for some delicious tea and cookies during our surface interval and got ready to go down again, only this time thinking about topics for our upcoming research project. For the project, we will bring down slates and take down data depending on our topic. The next dive turned out to be even more exciting than the first! There were 45 hungry Bull sharks waiting to be fed. The second dive of the day always includes a combination of hand-feeding and aerial dumps for the sharks. But this time, they were more excited than ever, all crowding around the trash can full of tuna.
After 30 thrilling minutes, we ascended and got back on the boat. The perfect way to end this exciting dive was Papa’s animated story about his close encounter with a Scarface the Tiger Shark. We won’t tell you all the details since we have to have something to tell you when we get home, but it included fending off the shark with a trashcan, the destruction of a camera, and Papa showing his courageous side with a strong kick to Scarface’s head! This got us all super excited for this weekend’s trip to Beqa where we will stay with villagers, drink some more kava, and, of course, hear more of Papa’s stories. After diving, we came home for lunch, worked on our projects, and had a guest lecture by Andrew, the manager of the dive shop about the history and significance of BAD (Beqa Adventure Divers). Then, Babs’ Bitties made a delicious stir fry and we got ready to settle in for a movie and ice cream! We are having an amazing time learning both about sharks and Fijian culture as well as making great friends. Everyone here is super close and can’t believe that the trip is already halfway over!
Instructor’s Note: We will be away on Beqa Island until Sunday afternoon without internet, and once we return from our island adventures….we will post updates!