Vacation Pictures, part 3

28-November, Saturday (Day 1 and Day 2) At-Sea

After leaving Tonga, we spent two days at sea. Because we were crossing back over the International Dateline on a relatively slow ship (instead of an airplane) we had two Saturday, November 28s. It was good thing too, because the first November 28 was cold and rainy. I didn’t take any pictures that day.
The second November 28 was perfectly sunny. The cruise ship held a Country Fair where each unit {Waitstaff, Bartenders, Spa, Galley, Marina} hosted a fair game. It was fun to watch and play.

The Executive Chef, Grant (from Austrailia), with pie on his face.

Marina staff in pool with a waterballoon toss.

With Jean-Michel Cousteau. πŸ™‚

29-November, Sunday Rarotonga, Cook Islands

After two days at sea, we arrived in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. I didn’t dive that day, instead I went hiking. Not as long as I usually do because I didn’t have my back pack and only had one bottle of water. I hiked about 2 hours.

This is where I turned around. The trail got iffy, I was out of water, and since I was by myself I felt it was a smart decision. πŸ˜›

30-November, Monday Aitutaki, Cook Islands

The next day we arrived at Aitutaki, Cook Islands. I went diving again, but because it was rainy the visibility was poor and it was cold. It was my least favorite dive of the trip, but it was still good.

Unicorn fish. Aren’t these the coolest looking fish?

Lion fish, these are pretty neat looking too.

1-December, Tuesday At-Sea

Another at-sea day as we sped towards Bora Bora, French Polynesia on the edge of a cyclone trying to outrun it. We had some crazy rain and waves that day and night. Some waves hit the ship so hard wine bottles toppled over at dinner. It was a bit scary at times, but mostly it was fun. I didn’t take any pictures that day.

Coming up in Vacation Pictures, part 4:

  • Bora Bora, French Polynesia (awesome diving!)
  • Bloody Mary’s (I finally visit the famous bar and restaurant)
  • Taha’a, French Polynesia (Vanilla Beans!!)
  • Motu Beach Day (fun times!)

Vacation Pictures, part two

24-Nov, Tuesday-Suva, Fiji

When I first read the description for this dive, I thought “oh, heck no”. Once I was in Fiji, I got swept up in the group-think and it sounded like a blast. Then I found out I was wait-listed and was a bit sad. Persistence is the key and I got in. πŸ˜›

So what was the dive? A shark encounter. Staff led us down to almost 100 feet where we knelt and watched a diver feed chunks of tuna to giant fish and sharks. We then went up to 30 feet and did the same, just different variety of fish and sharks. For the second dive, we went down to 60 feet and saw several bull sharks, all about 10 to 12 feet long. It was really cool.

This is giant trevally. There were a bunch of them and they were humongous. You can’t tell with the picture but others were estimating them to be in the 150 to 200 pound range.

Reef shark (above), which you see at the higher depths. They are harmless.

Uh-oh, bull shark. These suckers were huge. And a little scary.You see them at the lower depths.

How many bull sharks do you see? πŸ˜›

25-Nov, Wednesday Savusavu, Fiji

Getting ready for the day’s dives. It was rainy in the morning, but cleared up and was sunny later on.

Pretty, pretty coral.

This is kind of funny. A remora kept trying to attach itself to me and clean me. I’d feel it, swipe it away, and it would come back. You can see it on my cheek. I had little marks on my cheek and neck after the dive.

We went to Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Fiji Islands Resort for our surface intervals between dives. Best place for a surface interval (usually you are just stuck on the dive boat). It’s also the place where my friend Dom got married 9in 2005). Isn’t it a gorgeous location for a wedding?

27-Nov, Friday Vava’u, Tonga

The dives I did in Tonga were my favorites of the trip not only because I dove with Jean-Michel Cousteau, but because the the water was so clear, deep, and open. The fish were plentiful and the coral was simply amazing. I would love to got back to Tonga for a month during whale season (it’s right on the path of whale migration) and dive everyday.

Vava’u, Tonga is also the first place on earth to see the sunrise. Isn’t that cool?

It looks like Jean-Michel is speaking to us about something serious like climate change or shark-finning, but I think we were talking about King Kong.

Nancy, Jean-Michel’s girlfriend and me.

Fantail coral. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Coming up in Vacation Pictures, part three:

  • Two Saturday, November 28s! (more International Dateline mumbo jumbo)
  • Rarotonga and Aitutaki, Cook Islands (Hiking!)
  • Cyclones! on way to Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Vacation Pictures, part one

No TWD today. I made the dough for the cookies before I left for vacation, but haven’t had theΒ  time to bake them. I’m not going to have time to make anything until this weekend. In the meantime, I’ll share a few vacation pictures today and over the next few days.

21-Nov, Saturday Denarau Island, Fiji

We landed at the airport, checked into the hotel, had breakfast…I went to the activities desk and asked about dives. There was a dive leaving in 20 minutes. I rushed to my room, changed into my bathing suit, and rushed back to the dock. Within 3 hours of landing in Fiji, I was on a dive boat heading out for my first two dives of the trip. This picture was taken with the dive master when we were heading back to the dock. It was a great start for my vacation.

22-Nov, Sunday Denarau Island, Fiji

The shuttles to take us to the cruise ship were picking us up at 2 pm on Sunday, so I pretty much just relaxed and read on the beach all day. This was the view.

23-Nov, Monday Lautoka, Fiji

Spent the day diving. This was my first shipwreck dive. πŸ™‚

With my good friend and dive instructor on the ship, Dominique.

Looking at the fishies.

On Beachcomber Island, where we went for our surface interval between dives.

The coral was breathtakingly beautiful in Fiji.

Coming up in Vacation Pictures, part two:

  • Suva, Fiji: Shark dive! Dove to 96 feet, my deepest ever.
  • Savusavu, Fiji: Jean-Michel Cousteau! More dives!
  • Vava’u, Tonga: My favorite dives of the trip, more Jean-Michel Cousteau

Native Foods

Right before I left on vacation, I had to go to a meeting in the Desert. The meeting was on Vegan Tuesday, so I stopped at Native Foods for lunch. Native Foods is a small Southern California regional chain of vegan restaurants.

I ordered the Hollywood Bowl: brown rice, steamed vegetables, marinated tofu spears, and peanut sauce. It was light, tasty, and healthy. Gotta love it.

(Today I am in Bora Bora.)