Monday, May 29, 2006
Part 2: 10-days of diving in Fiji with Nai'a
Every day, just after breakfast, we were treated to an educational presentation by Josh. They were excellent! I learned a lot on this trip, but the best part was simply watching Josh and Liz's videos. They are SO good. You can see a sample of their work, called their 'Show Reel' on their website. I have no doubt that we'll be seeing their work on the Discovery Channel, or on the big screen sometime soon. One of their tricks is that they've rigged up a tripod for their underwater video camera. Pretty cool. They have one video (soon to be available for purchase on their website) where they left the camera setup on one scene for an extended period of time. The end result is like watching an aquarium. I think it would be great for a waiting room's TV monitor. And a lot cheaper than a real aquarium! If you have Quicktime installed on your computer, you can see a lot more of their video clips here. What I especially like about this page is the list of keywords at the bottom. If you want to see a video clip of a Clown Triggerfish, just click on the keyword. The only underwater movie I've ever seen that was any better than Liz and Josh's is the Imax movie, Coral Reef Adventure. And, guess what? A lot of that was filmed in Fiji, from the Nai'a! In fact, my favorite dive site of the trip was called 'Howard's Diner', named after Howard Hall, the guy who filmed Coral Reef Adventure. Here's some of what I saw there. Saddle Butterflyfish: Moorish Idol: Lettuce Coral: Table Coral: Tridacnid Clam: We also had lots of fun getting to know the other passengers. 14 people. 9 women and 5 men. Don't let anyone tell you this is a man's sport! One from S Africa, 2 from Britain, and the rest from the USA. One woman, Pru said she works in Washington D.C. We asked where she lives and she said, 'Oh, a little town about an hour away, you wouldn't know it.' Jim said, 'Try me'. Come to find out, she's from Solomon's Island ... where Jim was born! We visited there in 2004, when we first started our RV journey. And, we may just go visit again! How big did you say your driveway was Pru? A couple non-diving highlights of the trip was a visit to SomoSomo Village, and a Kava party on-board. Nai'a comes near some of the remote islands in Fiji during the 10 day cruise and they have a few different villages that they visit. There are only one or two other commercial dive boats in the region, and they don't visit the same places. So this village is only visited by Nai'a, and that only happens once or twice a quarter. It was so heartwarming to visit with these wonderful people and feel their happiness. You just wanted to give everyone a hug. First of all, we had to get into traditional garb. What is called a sarong, or lavalava in other places is called a sulu here. Then we took a skiff into shore. And were greeted by the villagers. They love having their pictures taken. Then comes the kava ceremony. Here's Josh, sitting next to the chief. Notice the wonderful handwoven mats we're sitting on. And Mom and me drinking kava. Notice the beautiful hand-strung, real-flower leis (they didn't call them that, but I don't remember what they did call them). Kava is a drink made from grinding the kava root into a powder, putting inside cloth and putting the cloth into water and squishing it around. It tastes a little peppery and makes your tongue tingly and numb for several seconds. It's supposed to be mildly narcotic. I can't say that I felt any effects, but I *did* have a good time! We were also told that Kava is sold elsewhere in capsul form as an anti-depressant. "You haven't seen any depressed Fijians have you?" No, as a matter of fact, we sure didn't! We also had a Kava party onboard another night. Complete with guitar music and singing. The last couple days of the trip, the sun finally came out! We used the sundeck! What a nice ship! We watched tropical islands go by. We watched the sunset. A fantastic trip! Thanx Mom! BULA!