Fiji Travel Update 2

Comments Off on Fiji Travel Update 2

The Fiji trip is now getting on the bus (11:55pm) at Melbourne airport so should be arriving back at the College at approximately 12:35am tonight.


Fiji Travel Update

Comments Off on Fiji Travel Update

The flight from Fiji has just landed (10:45pm). We will attempt to update this post with an estimated time of arrival at the College later this evening.

Fiji Day 17 – Our Last Night in Nadi

Comments Off on Fiji Day 17 – Our Last Night in Nadi

Today after a sleep-in we all ate breakfast and were briefed on the day ahead. Our destination was Votua Village and Votua Village water treatment plant. We hopped on the coach and settled in for a 1 ½ hour trip on some bumping pot-hole plagued roads as well as smooth highway. On arrival at the village we donned our sulu’s and headed to the community hall for a welcoming kava ceremony. After introducing ourselves and going on a swift tour of the village we were treated to a traditional Fijian meal.

Then our team of champions was broken into 2 groups, the hiking group and snorkelling group. The division of the groups was dependent on preference.

The snorkelling group of six ventured to one of the village’s protected reefs, where we beheld the beautiful reef life below us, and planted some coral. The current was rather strong (especially for those of us without flippers), but it was a really great experience.

While the snorkelers were planting coral the hiking group was trekking through lush rainforest. We were aiming to hike all the way to the dam which gives Votua Village its clean water supply. The unique water treatment system this village has is the only one of its kind in any village in Fiji. Our first stop on the hike was the filtering station where huge slabs of land were built to use plants to filter the nutrients out of the water pumped into them. Then it was a long refreshing walk up a hill to the dams.  Unfortunately we were pressed for time and had to leave shortly after arriving at them. We all left the village with a greater understanding of the challenges facing villages and their needs for clean water and treatment methods.

Then it was back to the Hexagon to shower and pretty ourselves up for the firewalking show at the Novotel. The show was amazing and we all joined in for a dance with the performers, which was very amusing and a lovely way to end our final night in Fiji.

As this is our last blog entry, we will give you a brief insight as to what is happening tomorrow: we check out of the hotel, then we hop onto the local buses into Nadi for some much needed retail therapy. Then it’s back to collect our bags and catch the plane home! We hope you have enjoyed reading all about our Big Experience!

Isobel Toogood, Nat Chicoine

Fiji Day 16: Heading Back to the Mainland – A day of travelling

Comments Off on Fiji Day 16: Heading Back to the Mainland – A day of travelling

This morning we packed our belongings and bid farewell to the lovely staff at Oarsmans Bay Lodge. We had such a great time with a magnificent coral reef in our front yard. In groups we boarded small boats to the Cheetah Flyer and boarded this Power Catamaran. What was meant to be a 4 hour ride took us 7 hours! We arrived back at Denarau and then got our luggage and headed to the buses – tired and hungry at 8:30pm.We reached the Hexagon hotel and ate dinner then unpacked and went to bed.

Day 15 – A Day in the Rain

Comments Off on Day 15 – A Day in the Rain

Today after a short sleep in we all gathered for breakfast to find torrential rain outside. The licensed scuba divers were all prepared for a fish feeding dive. The group left in their gear through the rain leaving the remaining non-divers to stay under shelter and play quiet rainy day games. They had crab races and played various board games till lunchtime.

Crab racing

While the games were being played, our bravest bunch ventured out to dive with sharks. After a short boat ride they arrived at the dive site and flipped in and swam to the bottom where a guide rope was in place to help them stay on the bottom. The dive went for a total of 50 exciting minutes. The dive master dropped a wheelie bin full of fish scraps from the restaurant into the water. We soon saw fishes of all shapes and sizes including bull, lemon, white and black tip sharks. Because it was raining it was extremely cold (23 degrees) in the water. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget.

David and Paul diving at Oarsman's Bay

Once the divers arrived back the other group of divers left for their dive. While the second dive was happening we watched the Blue Lagoon and played card games. After lunch, the second group of divers returned and it was time for the whole group to snorkel in Oarsman’s Bay and do the reef survey. The transect that was measured was the same 100m of reef that has been measured each year for the past eight years.  This included us recording corals, algae, rock or rubble. Each group collected data for a total of twenty metres. This information is sent to Reef Watch and is compared to results from previous years.

It is clear that over the time St Leonard’s students have been here there has been a significant improvement in the quality of the reef.

After a buffet dinner of barbecued meats including fish, steak and sausages, we gathered for a trivia/games night run by the teachers. It included trivia questions, guessing heads or tails and memory games.

Brad Potter and Nathalie Chicone

Also here’s another phot from day 14 that we forgot to upload:

Fiji Day 14 – The blue lagoon caves

Comments Off on Fiji Day 14 – The blue lagoon caves

Today we woke up, had breakfast and had a lesson on Fijian history and politics from Greg. We then had a short briefing on the cave we visited today, as well as on the reef survey we will conduct tomorrow. We got ready for the day – packed our bags and hopped on the boat.

We took the village boat all the way to Sawelau Island. We got off the boat and met the lady running cave programme.  After a short safety briefing, we headed down the stairs to the caves themselves. You had to duck your head to prevent yourself from hitting your head on the overhanging rocks. After jumping into water that was much colder than we were used to, we swam around and experienced the caves for over an hour. This included swimming through a short underwater tunnel to get to another section of the cave which was much more enclosed and was quite dark. We heard a myth about why the name of the second cave was called a pregnancy cave: apparently if a girl can’t fit through the tunnel to get to the pregnancy cave, she must be pregnant.

Diving in the Caves at Saweilau Island

After the caves we took the boat back and got some time to relax. We were in for a special treat when the staff of Oarsman’s Bay Lodge presented a traditional Fijian dance  called a “Meke”.  We all got involved in a conga line! It was great! Then we had a traditional dinner called a “Lovo”. It was a lovely buffet of fish, lamb and vegetables. After dinner we had some time play card games.

Valentina and James

Day 13 – A Day of Snorkelling, Surveying the Reef and Diving

Comments Off on Day 13 – A Day of Snorkelling, Surveying the Reef and Diving

Today’s morning started with a delightful breakfast of chocolate croissants and bacon. Then we had a long and tiring briefing where we learnt about invertebrates – porifora (sponges), Cnidarians (Jelly fish, corals, octocorals and sea anemones) and echinoderms (sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins) and the role they play in the marine ecosystem. We learnt about crustaceans such as shrimps, crabs and lobsters and how they use their tough outer shells to keep predators away.

Learning about marine biology in our outdoor classroom

Circle time at Oarsmans Bay

Then we had a wonderful, fish filled snorkel where we saw all types of fish and colourful coral. After 30 minutes, we had 10 minutes rest then out for a dive. The first group went out to a coral outcrop and descended 18m below the surface. The fan corals were amazing and colourful fish shot in and out of the outcrop. After 45 minutes we headed back and the second group went out, while we had a late lunch.

Diving off Oarsmans Bay

The second dive consisted of all the DSD’s and one open water diver. When we arrived to the dive site we got a quick briefing on how to enter the water and the open water diver gave them a demonstration. When we were all in the water we slowly headed down to about 6m. Everything was fine until two of the divers hit a rough spot and had to ascend. The rest of the dive went well. When we came back we had lunch. The second snorkel we went in the opposite direction to normal and did a coral health survey. When we got back we had a meal of beef and salad, and then went for our night snorkel. We took torches and glow stick ( cylumes) to keep track of everyone. We saw a lionfish, sting ray, sea urchins, shrimp and coral trout and we had fun. We ended the snorkel and went to bed to prepare for the next big day.

Older Entries