Even though it is the rainy season in Fiji, we have had fabulous diving in the Somosomo Strait between Taveuni and Vanna Leau. The Strait is known for its beautiful soft corals and plentiful sea life. We asked our dive masters if we could try a new beach for our surface intervals today. Our dive leader Eric really wants to do the The White Wall site again, hoping for better conditions and time to photograph. Three of our divers are serious underwater photographers. Zaide, who shared her pictures with me, is a recreational underwater photographer; she did a great job with simple equipment. We also hit some new dive sites-Pandora, named for a horse who fell off a boat and survived here, and Kona (the corner).
We started with Pandora, which I didn’t think much of, and then took a long 2.5 hour surface interval at what our dive master called Cannibal Beach to wait for better conditions at the white wall. I stayed in the water most of time and still got sunburned through the water. It was definitely a prettier spot than Pee Pee Beach which we all have grown tired of.
We didn’t find particularly better conditions at the White Wall, which I have now dove 3 or 4 times. Other than the remora that decided to follow Caitlin around, the dive was unremarkable for me. I am getting jaded. A remora generally attaches itself to a larger fish and feeds off it parasites. I was a little worried to Caitlin. 🙂
However, a special treat was in store for us after the dive, a beach barbecue on a lovely island. Of course it was raining, but that actually created a waterfall effect on the ledge overhanging the bbq pit, making it even more picturesque. After the rain cleared we enjoyed the shell-laden beach with its beautiful sand, lovely setting, and clear waters.
Finally it was back to the boat for our last dive of the trip. Tomorrow we “off gas” before going home-no diving for 24 hours before our first flight. The final dive site was Kona, the corner, and it was everything you could hope for-easy current, beautiful colored soft corals, and plentiful fish. I got to enjoy my Christmas Tree Worms one last time. They pop closed when you disturb the water nearby; the fun part is watching them reopen. I was so zen in the water, the other divers didn’t even want to disturb me to show me anything. This was a true “aquarium dive”.
Our final full day at the resort was for lounging around as we “off gas” before our three flights en route to home. I did some packing and writing, but the highlight was two more trips to the spa for me. First I had a coconut scrub. Bera had freshly graded coconut. She prepared the table with banana leaves and flowers. I was facedown first, the scrub softening my skin and removing some of the sunburn. Then I had to turn over; I was so slick I almost slid off the table. After the second side scrub, Bera wrapped me in the leaves to marinate. The funniest part was when she got to my toes and couldn’t figure out how to wrap the leaves around, so she just stuck the leaves between my toes. I felt like a coconut banana burrito. I returned to the spa later for an end of the trip massage.
That night we had a performance by the staff. The owner told us that this wasn’t something they for all the visitors. The staff came to her and asked if they could perform. We certainly will miss them. They are warm and open and there was a genuine affection between the staff and guests.
It was a wonderful performance with our quiet boat captain, Sio, leading the dancing with his crazy cannibal antics, a hidden talent. This time we were given flower necklaces and grass skirts. It all ended with a conga line around the room with performers and guests all dancing.
The next day we had to reserve our travel process. We set our alarms early, put out luggage and went back to sleep. Because it was unlikely all our bags would make the same flight, we sent the heavier dive gear on the earlier flight; this was all pre-arranged through Fiji Link for Fiji Air. The owners and all the resort staff were on the beach when we left and continued to wave to us until we rounded the shoreline and were completely out of sight. We had to say goodbye to Carl and Sio when we reached Tavenui.
The 180 degree meridian runs through Fiji on the Island of Taveuni. For practical purposes, the international date line waves a little to allow the whole country to be on the same date. (Just as it waves a little to allow Russia and Alaska to be on different dates from each other at the same time as allowing Alaska to be on the same date as the rest of the United States.) On our way to the airport, we made a stop at the meridian. I had to get that photo that shows I was in two days at once.
Then it was layovers and three more flights to make it home. The first flight on that Fiji Link plane to Nadi was pretty rough with the rain and all the cloud cover. People in the back of the plane felt rather sick. Nadi has had a lot of rain since we passed through. One day there was 20 inches, effectively shutting down the city. Our flights experienced no delays due to weather. We transferred from the Domestic terminal to the partially-completed International Terminal. It is going to be very nice when complete. We have the long leg to LAX where we will split up with most of us heading back to Houston.
I traveled with a fabulous group of people to a beautiful warm place with amazing people and beautiful fish and corals. I highly recommend a visit to Fiji and something off the beaten path. Here’s to our next adventure–Natasha.