Swimming with the reef shark

Trip Start Dec 22, 2005
Trip End Jan 29, 2006

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Flag of Fiji  ,
Monday, January 2, 2006

Well it's been three days since our wedding and for the most part we've been doing a lot of nothing. Laying on the beach, snorkeling, enjoying a few cold 'beverages', you know all that important beach holiday stuff. Originally we were going to stay here for five days, but we have enjoyed it so much that we added an extra day to our stay. Suzanne had a little girl from New Zealand come up to her on the beach and told Suzanne that she watched our wedding and said that Suzanne looked like a princess when she was being carried on the throne to the ceremony. Suzanne liked that and said it was a lot of fun to be carried that way.
We have gone on a few snorkeling excursions, one was to a reef just outside the bay that the resort is located on. The water was very clear and there was a lot of fish to see. I have never seen so many starfish while snorkeling, they are just everywhere. The most interesting type is the purple ones with most being an orangeish color. Took in another excursion on one of the resorts motorboats to a few of the surrounding islands with a few other resort guests on the Dec 30th. Our first stop was at Honeymoon Island which is on the west end of Malolo Island. It was mostly just rock and palm trees with on a very nice beach. We ended up just snorkeling from the boat here and swam about half way around the island. Again the abundance of fish and the reef was amazing. The trip continued on over to the Castaway Island Resort, but they would not let us land on the beach even though our captain had arranged for us to take a look around the resort earlier in the day, oh well. Next we just cruised around some of the small islands in the area on our way over to Malolo Island Resort. We were allowed to dock here and started to explore a bit. It was quite a nice place, but the drinks here were a lot more expensive (about double) than at Plantation Island, maybe because we were not staying here? The beach was nice but not as sheltered as Plantation Island so the water was a bit rougher here. The next stop was at Walu Beach resort. It wasn't very big or as nice as the other places, but was well sheltered and a few people saw some stingrays while snorkeling. Then we were heading back to Plantation Island, the whole trip took about 3 hours.We took an introductory scuba course when we got back and booked a dive for the next day (Dec 31st).
Headed out for the scuba dive on Saturday morning at 10am. There were just five of us, so not too crowded. Went out to a reef called Sunflower. Spent about 40 minutes under at a depth of about 35 - 40 ft. It was a lot more enjoyable than snorkeling as there is a lot more to see. The colors of the fish and the various corals were quite vivid. I enjoyed it so much that when we got back to the dive shack I booked for two more dives the next day. Spent the rest of the day walking around Malolo LaiLai and exploring some of the other areas of the island. Wandered over to the neighboring Musket Cove Resort. They had a marina with quite a few sailboats, apparently this is a popular place for people to stop at while on their sailing trips to stock up on supplies and fuel at the general store. Walked onward and found a stretch of deserted beach along the channel that separates Malolo LaiLai with Malolo Island. The tide was out so we probably could have walked across to the other island as the water was only about chest deep, but not knowing the tides or currents we decided not to.
When we got back to the resort Suzanne wanted to get two of the kayaks and go out paddling in the bay, so we did that for an hour or so.
As it was New Year's eve last night the hotel put on a great feast with all the decorations at the main restaurant. A lot of people got dressed up and wore the party hats and used all the noise makers etc. There was a bit of dancing to the music of the house band "The Bula Boys".
Today I went off to do the first of my two dives. Suzanne wasn't feeling well this morning, maybe a wee to much celebrating on New Years Eve perhaps? so she did not go diving.
The dive was great as it was only the dive master and myself so he was able to show me a lot more things under water as he did not have to look after a whole group of divers. Again we were down for about 40 minutes at a depth of 40ft. Saw a blowfish but it did not puff up as I had hoped. The second dive was farther away on the outer reef next to a small island called Tavarua that has a small resort popular with surfers. The waves out here were pretty big and this reef is a popular surfing area. The fish out here were a lot bigger as this was a passage out to the open ocean. About halfway through the dive Astunia (the dive master) grabbed my arm and pointed in front of us and there it was, a 5-6 ft reef shark. It was about 30 ft away and swimming across our path, then it turned and headed out to the deep. It was pretty cool to see a shark while diving. I can't wait to tell Suzie what she missed as she is fascinated by sharks. As the boat docked back at the resort, Suzanne came out to met me and when I told her about the shark, she thought I was lying, until Astunia said that we did in fact see the shark. She was very upset that she did'nt go on the dive but maybe next time she will get to see that elusive shark.
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