scuba diving pictures

Here are some screenshots from the diving I did with Chris and Patrick a couple of weeks ago at Half-Vatu.

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Sea cucumber!
Sea cucumber!

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vatu-i-ra passage and many suva adventures

It is the beginning of the 2 exam weeks, but I don’t have any exams until the 2nd week. Two and a half week long study break? Fine by me! A lot of USP students get really fuffed about exams here but they don’t bother me at all.

This past week, I went up to Safari Lodge (3rd time is the charm) to hang out/snorkel/possibly do some diving. 9 of us went up and it was lots of fun! I got to snorkel a ton where I saw coral and coral and more coral. Acropora party! Butterflyfish mayhem! I felt nerdy.

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Ever since I did my dive course I really wanted to do dive the Vatu-I-Ra passage. The dive instructors at Safari Lodge have been travelling the world for the past 7 years and diving at pretty much every dive site known to man. They said that these sites were the best BY FAR, so we did it!

Patrick, Chris and I did a two tank dive at Half-Vatu at a dive site called Malaise. It was incredible. The only way I can really describe it is imagine the best coral picture you’ve seen in National Geographic and then imagine better! We got to go through a huge number of coral tunnels and we saw an unbelievable amount of giant coral fans. Everything was just massive and with such beautiful colour. Sometimes we could look up through a few holes and you could see the surface with red fish floating through and 20 kinds of coral at different depths – absolutely stunning. There is no way that I can describe it to you to do it justice.

Lauren went snorkelling at the same spot at the same time and he thought it was phenominal as well. This trip was his first time snorkelling – he is spoiled (as am I!!). Chris took a camera down so I will hopefully post some photos or videos at some point, but the colours don’t really come through.

We also went to Colo-I-Suva this week, which is always a blast. Yesterday a few of us went to my friend Tui’s farm and it was really great. His family owns a great piece of land in Nausori (about 25 minutes away) and we made a lovo from scratch. We made palusami (dalo leaves with onions, fresh coconut cream that we squeezed and either corned beef or tuna), yams, cassava, dalo, and chicken. It was delicious and I really appreciated him inviting us up there. It was incredibly fun and Tui and his father are two really great people.

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Credit: Evan

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Lauren and I are on a ‘strict’ get-back-into-shape-regime involving pull-ups and ab exercises. I did about 3 sit-ups two days ago and my abs still hurt. Our diet has also changed to bagels and bagels alone because Lauren has mastered the art of bagel-making. YES.

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I finally got my netbook in the mail (took 7 weeks when Canada Post says it will take 5-10 business days even to Fiji) and have been installing Lubuntu on it and getting it up to snuff. It’s nice finally have a reliable computer again.

The other day Liz, Lauren and I saw a Hindi movie called Yamla Ragla Deewana 2. I can honestly say that, to me, it was one of the worst $6.50s I’ve ever spent and 3 hours long gone. The plot was typical… two con-men want to marry a girl with money but accidentally gets engaged to the wrong girl, but add in sumo wrestlers that literally fall from the sky, an orangutan that paints and likes to hang out with lady orangutans, an evil person whose ‘lab’ is in the space exhibit of a science museum and a Super Sheik that can blow people away using his mind. Wow.

There are a billion movies coming out that everyone wants to see in the next 2 weeks: Great Gatsby, The Internship, Man of Steel (all this week), and Monsters University and World War Z (next week).

And yes, through the movies and having fun I will be studying. I am at a pretty good place right now with classes which is good because they are all at the same time. I already finished Health Psychology (final mark: A!), and I am going into all my exams with good marks (A+ in Marketing, and B+ in Marine Biology – WHAT!!!). I still need to check my Ethics mark, but I’ll do that today.

I’m also getting ready for New Zealand more and more.. seeing if I can get more job bites and deciding where I want to fly to at first. I also need to figure out how I am going to pack and where I will stay.. all depends on everything really. Lots of options so hopefully narrow that down a bit more before I have to leave. It’s looking like I will try to start work as soon as possible…. I am hoping for some relevant experience but I might do some odd jobs until I can find a job like that.

Oh and lastly, here is a picture of Christine after her Diablo act at the USP Talent Show. She won second place and won $600! We were all very proud of her. Also, she is awesome. She has inspired me to take some circus lessons at Circus West in Vancouver (where she goes too). Hopefully I will have enough money to do this because I think I would really like to enjoy it. I would love to do the main-en-main course, or a silks course. But main-en-main would be awesome! PS: Diablos are really fun

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And a Stomp-esque group:

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nananu-i-ra island

While Liz, Evan, Christine and I were doing the dive course (and Kat was hanging with us up there!) we decided to make one meal each instead of all bringing our own food. It was awesome! We ended up eating peanut butter and and banana french toast, sushi, omelettes and chickpea stir fry. YUM!!!

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Nananu-I-Ra was just as beautiful as the last time I was there. (You can read about that here and here). We had a full 8-bed dorm to ourselves, including a giant kitchen, eating area, and a huge porch over-looking the water.

Evan's photo
Evan’s photo
Christine's photo of Liz
Christine’s photo of Liz

Homework and pre-studying for scuba was not as exciting.

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Oh! Katelin’s (my roommate) birthday was on the weekend while we were gone so we decided to bake a cake for her the day before we left. Though Evan and I may have to thank Ms. Crocker and Mr. Oreo, it was quite delicious.

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Evan’s photo

open water diving course

Last last last last weekend I took the beginner scuba course up at Safari Lodge. It was awesome beyond great!!! The weekend greatly surpassed my expectations, and those were already really high. There were 5 of us up there, all together. It was a beautiful awesome spot with great awesome people and superb diving. (One of the top two places in Fiji to dive)

Nananu-I-Ra island has the most healthy coral I have seen so far in Fiji, it’s colourful and awesome pleasing to the eye. My plan before I left Fiji was to get certified here, and while I’ve been here I decided that I wanted to do it somewhere where there was no pool and had awesome diving, so I could save money in the long run.

I was a bit nervous (ok, a lot nervous) about some of the skills I knew I had to do, like take my mask off with my eyes closed (contacts suck) and not scraping myself on the bottom. It all turned out okay, though! I did the course with two friends, Liz and Alden. Christine (from SFU) did her advanced course at the same time. They were all just as excited as I was! Kat was there as well, and you can read about her Safari Lodge adventures here.

The coolest things I saw were a big coral fan, a plethora of giant clams and huge schools of fish (mmm sardines). Everything else I (technically) have seen before while snorkelling (you can see A LOT from just snorkelling) but it was way more awesome cooler and a lot easier to do while diving.

The divemaster took down a camera with us so we have lots of awesome pictures.

I found diving very easy after the first two dives. It took me a while to figure out how many weights I needed and I was over-weighted the first 3 dives. I would go from floating at the top to rocketing down to the bottom, and vice versa. We decided that I have dense bones and Liz is actually a bird (hollow bones)!

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rub a dub dub – Liz, me, Evan

A zillion pictures after the break…. Continue reading “open water diving course”

nananu-i-ra island

Last weekend, USP students had a long weekend so 12 (mainly) international students decided to head up to Nananu-I-Ra island. It is near Rakiraki, just off the North coast of Viti Levu. I ended up going for four nights.

I had an amazing time on Nananu-I-Ra and staying at Safari Lodge. The lodge was so home-y and the family that owns it and the staff that works there were so nice. It was not uncommon for an extra dessert to “fall off the table” into our hands, even though we cooked almost all meals. I really liked it there, I might go back and do my dive cert there.

The trip there was an interesting and fun adventure. We took the bus in the evening, so it got dark as we were on the bus. They are doing a lot of road improvements on that route so we had to take a lot of detours. Most of them were because they were fixing the main bridge and had a secondary bridge set up to get past the rivers. They were.. narrow.. small.. and..sketchy looking. We all survived, though sometimes I felt like the bus was bigger than the bridge.

Most of the weekend was spent snorkeling off the beach near the lodge, on the North side of the island and from a boat on an outer reef. Snorkeling there was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was amazing!! The coral seemed to go on for ages and ages. Think football fields after football fields of coral.

The beach in front of Safari Lodge
On the first and second day we hiked over the island to the North side to do some snorkeling
Beautiful beach with no one on it. Called “One Beach”
Papaya tree!
Laurel, Adrienne, Rachael, Courtney and Marty

Mmm.. fresh coconut
Feeding the fish our moldy bread