My first ever Scuba Dive in Fiji

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Wow, what a week in beautiful Fiji!
Early in the week I spent a lazy afternoon by the beach at a small resort, drinking beers in the afternoon sun with some Fijian friends. There is a spot not far from where I live, on the coast, which has 4 or 5 budget resorts lined up next to each other. It is all really laid back and casual and so peaceful. The beach there isn’t particularly nice, but it has an amazing sea breeze and all of the resorts have nice pools if you do want to swim.

This is where I first watched the Polynesian dancing and fire dancing on my second night back and they perform there a few nights a week. Most of the guests are young backpackers as the accommodation is budget, although there are also people from all ages. Everybody chats to everybody and it really is just so easy going. That night we watched the dancing again and had some dinner there before heading home. It was the perfect afternoon accompanied by an early night.

On Thursday we planned a trip to South Sea Island so that I could go scuba diving. The last time I tried to dive was a few years ago on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns, Australia. My friend Stacey and I were working up there and our boss decided to take us out to the reef to dive as a thank you. I seriously had absolutely no fears about diving whatsoever. I know that some people are afraid, but I wasn’t, I was just excited to get down there! Anyway, we were in no way trained and basically we put on the dive gear, jumped off the boat and were expected to dive from there. We were to practice our breathing under the water there (which wasn’t calm water, I tell you that) and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I felt like I was suffocating and I couldn’t imagine being down under the water like that. I started to panic and the instructor sent me back to the boat. It wasn’t all bad… I got to snorkel and it was amazing.

So on Thursday when we went in for the dive I started to panic. I was so scared I wasn’t going to get the breathing right and it was going to be a repeat of last time.  So we walked in from the shore and I started to practice the breathing. At first I was in a total panic, shaking all over and feeling like I wanted to cry and couldn’t get it right, but told myself to snap out of it. I wanted to do this so bad so its exactly what I was going to do! I calmed myself down, went underwater and made myself breathe slow, long breaths. And I was fine! So down we went, about 9 metres below the surface and started to swim around the reef.

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It was incredible!! First we found Nemo and he nibbled at my finger. It was so surreal, this tiny little fish, basically wild in the open ocean, not afraid of this huge human who was shoving her finger in his face. Next we found some clownfish, who were equally unafraid. I went right up to where they were nesting and one of them would come right up to my goggles, look at me for a while and then charge at me, giving me a quick tap on the face. It was so funny! I couldn’t believe I was down there, swimming with these fish on this amazing reef and I didn’t have to go up for air! Of course I’ve snorkelled countless times, but this was a million times better!

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We swam around down there for what felt like forever and I loved every minute of it. We saw clams, fish, starfish, sea cucumbers, all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures and a reef shark even swam by!
The rest of the day was spent blissfully relaxing by the beach, sleeping, sun baking and drinking a few beers. We snorkelled a little, slept under a bure and totally chilled out. It was the first day I’ve been out to the islands since I’ve been back and now I remember why exactly I fell in love with Fiji so much! It was the best day ever! That night Romano cooked me the most amazing meal, which the entire family ate on the lounge room floor, sitting on the straw mat and it was perfect. Who needs a dining table and chairs huh? Then I slept like a baby and dreamed about scuba diving. I seriously cant wait to do it again!

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As the week was turning into the weekend the vibe around Fiji was increasing as Friday was Diwali Day. Diwali basically means ‘festival of lights’ and its when the Hindus celebrate sort of like a christmas. Fiji has a huge population of Indians and a majority of them are Hindu, therefore it is widely celebrated. Most shops in town have Diwali sales and you see signs for it everywhere. On the actual Diwali day it is custom to display lights (as you would do Christmas lights) and let off fireworks. Apart from the one day in Northern Territory where you can set off fireworks, nowhere else in Australia allows it so this was quite a novelty to me. Although Diwali is on Friday, people set them off all throughout the week, which makes the build up quite exciting. A cousin of Romanos, Rosie, decided to book a room at a resort nearby so that we and her kids could enjoy the long weekend there. So on Friday afternoon we checked in, went swimming and then went down to Aquarius resort to have dinner. Of course they had an Indian buffet for the occasion and the food was amazing. We ate, while we sat and watched fireworks going off all around the coast. It was such a special sight!
On Saturday I was set to take a bus to a resort near Suva to stay with my host Iva and her son for the night. Unfortunately due to the unreliable company I booked with I missed the bus so I was to stay back in Nadi. As much as it sucked we still had the room at the hotel so at least I could still enjoy that. I spent that day sun baking (which by the way is going very well and I think I’ve reached the brownest I have ever been!) and relaxing in the hotel room. Some more cousins came over that night so we had a few drinks and resorted to another early night.

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Its now Monday and after doing nothing today I am ready for my birthday tomorrow. I wont be doing anything exciting, but I think a few drinks by the pool will be perfect for me. Then later in the week I’ll be heading out to stay a few nights on Bounty Island.

Yay! Heaven here I come!! 🙂

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