In November 2016, my family celebrated my Dads 70th Birthday in Fiji. He also shares his birthday with my son who was turning two, so it was a double celebration. I was so excited to take my kit in the sea for the first time!
It was worth lugging it on the three flights to get to Jean-Michel Cousteau resort in Savu Savu. The house reef was lovely although not much live coral. A lot was sadly destroyed in the cyclone which devastated the island in early 2016. The resort had only recently reopened after rebuilding a lot of it. The water clarity was great though and plenty of fish life.
We took the kids snorkelling for the first time with mixed success but they enjoyed the glass-bottom boat ride nonetheless. Christian and I managed to get a couple of dives in which were nice. One was particularly colourful and the other Shark Alley, although sadly no sharks had some great caves and swim throughs which was fun. A little tricky navigating with my rig at times!
The day of the birthdays was spent having a picnic on a little private island. The kids loved exploring the rocks and reefs. I was on a mission to get an over under shot of the whole family, 5 adults and 4 kids which was not going to be easy. Especially as it was low tide and I had to take it in about a foot of water. The result turned out ok and it was a pretty epic day!
Funny story on the last day, my brother was snorkelling on the house reef when people started waving at him. He waved back and continued going until he realised they were calling him out of the water! A 14ft hammerhead had just swum under the jetty towards him so he hammered it (pub intended) back to shore! One of the staff jumped in a dingy to follow it and I jumped in too and we saw some fin but it swam away. Apparently, they’d never seen a shark of this size so close to the resort. Luckily it was the last day or my shark-fearing British husband would not have gone in the water! I couldn’t resist this little montage of my brother…
We had some previously unused flights to use up so decided to take a weekend (kid free!) to Komodo in Indonesia. I was so excited to do some diving and ocean photography! A friend had stayed at the Seraya Resort and recommended it so this is where we went. The beach bungalows were simple, lovely and right on a stunning stretch of sand leading onto the house reef. It’s a bit of a mission to get there from Singapore… flying to Jarkarta, then to Labuan Bajo and a speedboat to the island, but it was worth it!
Waking up to a stunning sunrise which called me to take a walk along the jetty, I new it was going to be a magical day. The water was crystal clear and glassy and I saw some baby black tips as well as a few lion fish (noted to look out for these as you do not want to get stung!). We booked a day trip with Aqura Dive, the onsite dive shop and I couldn’t wait as it had been over a year since my last dive.
Of course we had to go to Komodo Island which is one of only a few islands that inhabit the Komodo dragon. I’ve seen Goanna’s and Monitor Lizards but these things are beasts!
Next stop was turtle city. As soon as we anchored, we were greeted by a large loggerhead popping up to check us out. During the dive we lost count after about 20 turtles. I love observing their different characters… some appear friendly and relaxed around the divers and others seem to say, leave me alone and get that camera out of my face (so I did!) Much like humans I guess : )
Now off to the Manta feeding station. I was super excited for this as although i’ve seen a couple of mantas in the distance in the Maldives, I had not been up close with the Oceanic Manats. It’s hard to get an idea of the scale of these majestic creatures but the wing span was over 4 metres. They would swim right over us as and come back around again for their cleaning so it was incredible to sit and watch (and take photos!) Unfortunately the water visibility wasn’t the best so the photos are a bit gritty.
Fortunately my husband enjoys scuba diving too, since I bought him a PADI course for Christmas about 12 years ago! So it’s great having him along as my buddy. However, he also likes to chill out and read a book on holidays (fair enough!) so it’s about finding balance between a bit of adventure and culture and just relaxing. We did a bit of that but I spent most of my time snorkelling on the house reef which was pretty impressive. I also had to drag him away from his book to do some creative shots that I had in mind…
I read my book too! hehe