Today’s update from Fiji:
Everyone woke up early this morning to the warm sunrise. After we enjoyed our Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast, we anxiously got ready for our first dive! Everyone started to get in the habit of being efficient divers at B.A.D (Beqa Adventure Divers)as we boarded the dive boat and geared up. As we approached the scenic beach of Yanuca, several comparisons to Jurassic Park were made. The island was fairly small covered with wild rain forests and surrounded by beautiful, shallow reefs.
To start off, we tested the skills we practiced yesterday in the pool, in the calm, clear and turquoise water. Everyone swiftly completed the skills: regulator recovery, mask clearing, alternate air, and peak performance buoyancy. We were all excited to finally dive in the clear Fijian water, even if it meant doing skills. After the short check-out dive, we had an hour long surface interval. The B.A.D. divers provided us with delicious tea as well as coconut and peanut cookies. To top it off, we captured some greatphotos with our mascot, Babs, after our first dive. As another dive boat entered the shallow cove, we became a bit territorial. As a result, we learned the Fijian word for “Leave”, which is “Lako”. We practiced this word, along with the friendly word “Bula” which means hello.
Once the surface interval was over, the Advance Open Water students were briefed on their navigation dive while the Advanced Divers went on regular dive. The Advanced Open Water students navigated in a square underwater. Also on the dive, they saw an Emperor Angel Fish, which our instructor had never seen before!!! The other group went a bit deeper and explored the incredible coral reefs. Many of us saw some really cool sea cucumber poop, otherwise known as sand. Lindsay calls them the “rhoombas” of the ocean. Other interesting creatures we observed were the Chromis Fish, a neon blue fish, a giant clam, and lots of rainbow parrot fish, and two conchs. Rumor has it, a few divers even spotted Gary the Snail (from Spongebob), otherwise known as a Mollusk. After a long day, everyone enjoyed the long boat ride back to Pacific Harbor.
Once we made it back to our villa, we relaxed with a card game and scrumptious chicken curry, brought to us by the people from B.A.D. Following that, we had our first academic lecture presented by Lindsay, our favorite Vermonter shark biologist. We learned about the history of Fiji and the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, which we will be diving in for our shark dives. While some worked on their first journal entry, group A cooked our dinner. Group A decided to name themselves “Alopiidae” (the scientific name for a Thresher Shark family ), and Group B chose the name,”Bab’s Biddies”. We topped the day off, with glums and glows in which most of us were GLUM FREE! We also enjoyed some ice cream and watched a movie and went to bed happy and tired.