Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fiji 2004

We stayed at the Bamboo Beach Resort in Rakiraki (2 1/2 hours North of the international airport in Nadi). The resort was beautiful. Each couple had their own bure (a Fijian bungalow) with large glass windows overlooking a beautiful bay. Each bure included its own outdoor shower, which was great, once you got used to showering outside! We had air-conditioning that worked almost too good, food that was great (most of the time), night time entertainment that was fun, and resort staff that were amazingly friendly.

To say that the Fijians are a friendly, loving people is an understatement! Within the first day we were there, the staff had all of our names memorized, including the gardening staff. The island was beautiful and totally secluded. This was definitely not your typical tourist trap.

The diving was handled very professionally by Bamboo Beach Divers (formerly Crystal Divers). We had three large dive boats which although they dove in the same general area, were able to take us to three different dive sites, so that we weren’t diving on top of each other. Fiji diving is an amazing experience. Known as the soft coral capital of the world, Fiji offers a bit of something for everyone. Even though we had a wide variety of diving experience amongst the group, we were all able to find diving suitable for every skill level. The amazing sights included forests of soft and hard corals, numerous nudibranchs, flat worms, bright blue colored starfish, crinoids, lion fish, gigantic puffers, sea snakes, eels, white tip, black tip, and oceanic white tip sharks, wahloo, rainbow runners, tuna, jacks, schooling barracuda, and more colorful reef fish then I have ever seen anywhere on the planet! At dive sites called Golden Dreams, Maytag, Circus, Black Magic Mountain, Mellow Yellow, Zig Zag, Cannibal Caves, Instant Replay, Pot Luck and others we did drift dives, deep dives, shallow relaxed dives, night dives, wreck dives, and a few people even managed to fit a little training in during the week. Kennon Sandlin, Steve Tripp and Scott Olcott finished up their Advanced Open Water by the last day there. A few people had to stretch out of their comfort zones, but I think that all will agree that they had a wonderful time both above and below the water.

While at the resort, we got used to being called to meals by one of the resort staff beating on a large wooden drum carved from a log, and having incredible personal service by the staff. All of the meals included our choice of two different entrees, one of which was usually some type of fish and the other usually chicken or beef. A special vegetarian meal was available by request. We ate as a group with all 34 of us in the same dining hall. We were the only people at the resort until midweek when a lone gentleman named Bob joined us, and we made him an honorary Dive Addict! He enjoyed getting to know everyone so much that he asked to be put on our email list so he could join us on another trip! (I guess he didn’t get to know us all that well!)

The flight over and back was not too bad. We flew out of Los Angeles directly to Nadi, which was an 11 hour flight. Flying to Fiji overnight allowed most of usto sleep on the plane most of the way. We left SLC on a Thursday night at 8:30 PM and arrived in Fiji on Saturday morning about 6 AM. (It sounds worse than itwas, since we lost a day due to the international date line.) On the trip back home, we left Fiji at 10:00PM Saturday night and arriving in Salt Lake City at 6:00 PM Saturday night. Who says time travel doesn’t work! Overall the trip included world class diving, and non-stop fun!

Little Cayman

It's Friday, and we had geared up for our final two dives of the trip this morning, however mother nature has is not cooperating with us this morning and we have been blown out! It's not the end of the world, because we have been having incredible diving all week, but it's kind of funny seeing a bunch of gung ho divers relaxing around the pool this morning.

The diving this week has been absolutley superb. Great viz, great weather, uncrowded dive sights, and the Bloody Bay Wall. What could be better. 25 Dive Addicts all enjoying each others company, and enjoying the resort, diving and food!

The reefs have been in absolutley great shape. Hurricane Ivan that passed this way almost two years ago hit Grand Cayman and really did almost no damage at Little Cayman. Consequently the facilitites and the reefs are in great shape.

Almost everyone on the trip has seen new creatures they haven't seen before. (See my fish list below for her personal list of underwater life sighted.) The wall in the Bloody Bay Marine Park is just spectacular. It is as sheer as they come, and covered with an incredible amount of various sponges, hard coral and soft coral. We have experienced sharks, turtles, sting rays, eagle rays, as well as dozens of the typical Carribean characters. It has been just fantastic. We couldn't have asked for a better week of diving!

My Little Cayman Fish List

Juvenille Spotted Drum
Rainbow Parrot Fish
Spotted Scorpion Fish
Green Morray Eel
Spotted Eagle Ray
Southern Sting Ray
Honey Comb Cowfish
Porcupine Fish
Balloon Fish
Princess Parot Fish
Gray Angelfish
Tiger Grouper
Nasau Grouper
Black Grouper
Four-eye Butterfly fish
Banded Butterfly fish
Rock Beauty
Queen Angelfish (juvenille and adult)
Horse-eye Jack
Great Baracuda
Blue-striped Grunt
School Master
Ceasar Grunt
Red Hind
Tabacco Fish
Fairy Basslet
Spotlight Parrot Fish- male and female
Striped Parrot Fish- male and female
Red band Parrot Fish
Blue Tang
Squirrel Fish
Long Jaw Squirrel Fish
Neon Goby
Goldspot Goby
Masked Goby
Briddled Goby
Sand Diver
Trumpet Fish
Peacock Flounder
Yellowhead Jawfish
Black Durgon
Queen Triggerfish
Nurse Shark
Carribean Reef Shark
Spiny Lobster
Brittle Star
Lettuce Sea Slug
Banded Coral Shrimp
Arrow Crab
Flame Scallop
Sea Star
Spotted Morray
Flamingo Tongue Snail
Brittle worm
Atlantic Octopus
Arrow Blemy
Red Spotted Lobster
Urchin Crab