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. 😛

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? 😛

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
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Vacation Pictures, part one

No TWD today. I made the dough for the cookies before I left for vacation, but haven’t had the  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. 🙂

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

Today doesn’t exist for me

Because of travel and crossing the International Date Line…Boarded plane in LAX on November 19th and 10 hours later landed in Fiji on November 21.

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Heading out for a dive, Bora Bora: 2008

This is my third year in a row cruising  the South Pacific; first time to Fiji. On the itinerary this year: 3 different islands in Fiji, Tonga, 2 different Cook Islands, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea, and then finish in Papeete. I’m not a big fan of cruising, but I obviously like this ship. It’s small, 300 passengers, and geared towards activity (diving, hiking, snorkeling, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking).

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Getting ready to snorkel in Rangiroa, 2007

It’s like summer camp because I get to meet up with with friends I met from the years before.

There’s Laksman from Sri Lanka. He’s a bartender on the ship. I met him the first year I was on board and last year we went ran together in the Marquesas and on Moorea.

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Running on Nuku Hiva, Marquesas with Laksman, 2008

There’s the Marina Crew. Martin L. (Montreal) who was my scuba instructor, Robert (Montreal), who was my water ski instructor, Martin B. (Montreal)  and Frederick (France), two more dive instructors, and Emily (Belgium) the travel desk coordinator. (All names pronounced the French way).

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Dominique, Me, Robert: 2007

There’s Dominique (Tahiti) who is the dive master. He wasn’t on board last year, but will be back this year. The crew changes based on contract length and vacations.

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The Marina Crew and Me, 2008

There’s the Engine Room Crew. They are all from Croatia. We would hang out at one of the ship’s bars at night and sometimes meet up on hikes.

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The Engine Room Crew, 2008

There’s Alex, one of the sommeliers. He’s from France.

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Desmond, Laksman, and Alex, 2008

Although I won’t see them this year, I’ve also made friend with other passengers who I’ve kept in touch through Facebook: Patrick from Eugene, Vanessa from Santa Monica, Olivier from France.  I love meeting new people. I wonder who I will meet this year.

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Kayaking in Taha'a, 2007

So what happened on November 20, 2009? Anything exciting?