Day 18 – We spent the day at sea traveling from New Caledonia to the Fiji Islands. I don’t remember what we did that day, but I know at some point I worked on Book 2 of the trilogy while Alice sun bathed. At another point, Alice and I spent some time in library playing Yahtzee. Just another relaxing day on board.
Day 19 – We docked in the port city of Lautoka on the main island of Fiji called Viti Levu. From there we boarded a large catamaran bound for the island Tivua, one of the many small islands off of the main island.
During the half hour ride to our destination, I was offered a chance to go scuba diving. I have not been diving for almost nine years and I had been looking forward to an opportunity to dive in the South Pacific. After reviewing my diving certification card and asking a few questions about my diving history and skills, the dive master decided it would be safe for me to dive with him.
Upon arrival at the island, we found a spot to park our gear and for Alice to get some sun while I went diving. Then it was back to the dive shop to get outfitted for the dive. This dive was just what I needed. We entered the water from the shore and waded out to chest deep water. Then it was on with the BC (Buoyancy Commentator) and then down to the bottom and along the reef.
The reef was not very spectacular. It turns out that a typhoon had passed over the island three years before and done quite a bit of damage to the reef. After only three years, the reef was just starting to recover. I didn’t care, however, because I was back in my underwater element. It truly was like riding a bicycle. I was comfortable with the gear and with the dive. We only went down to twelve meters, but that was enough for me.
When we finished the dive, I went back to find Alice on the beach. This excursion included drinks and a buffet meal along with some local entertainment. It made for a pleasant day.
On the trip back from the shore to the catamaran, we had a choice of taking one of the bigger glass bottom boats or one of the smaller skiffs. Based upon the line at the bigger boat, we chose to go on the skiff, and that made for an interesting ride. The smaller outboard driven boat bounced through the choppy waves and drove right up to the loading area on the back of the catamaran. Then it was time to get off. everyone had to stand up in the skiff and then step up onto the front platform before stepping over to the catamaran. This was done one person at a time, with the crew helping guide each person to prevent any accidents. Everything was fine until it was Alice’s turn. She stood up and then froze. The guides had to practically carry her up onto the platform and then over the gap onto the catamaran. Meanwhile, it was all my fault because I left her behind to fend for herself.
Needless to say, Alice made is safely aboard and I was eventually forgiven for my terrible sin of leaving her behind.