Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting set up and checking out SigaSiga Sands

It was a good day here at SigaSiga (pronounced singasinga) Sands. After a couple of days without internet service we were all getting a little worried that our lifeline to the rest of the world was going to be too short to reach us here in Fiji. Enter Pete (pronounced PeyTey) from Fiji's internet service provider, he got us all configured and now our lifeline reaches us here in our home south of the Equator. Now we can update our BLOG, facebook, check email, SKYPE friends and family and to the kids chagrin access ALEKS their online math curriculum. Hopefully this will help us get our daily routine smoothed out.

In addition to getting internet connectivity here at SigaSiga we had a full day of exploring our new surroundings. Once the heavy rain subsided and the math and reading were done, Brooke and the kids went on a science field trip aka snorkeling inside the reef. According to reports they spotted and identified many reef fishes and to everyone excitement saw a sea snake. Upon their return from the water the kids wrote their first snorkel log book entries. The current plan requires them to log 25 hours of snorkeling inside the protection of the inner reef (there are 2 fringe reefs here) before they can venture to the drop off. We will see how that goes (you will see why in a moment).

Yesterdays excursion to Savusavu town resulted in a refrigerator and cupboard well stocked with food we all feel comfortable eating and eat we did after our big morning. At this point in the day we all got our internet fix and had some quite time while the tide went out. It went way out today (we need to get a tide chart). The shoreline here begins with a sandy beach and the water very gradually gets deeper over a mix of hard pan and sand bottom, before reaching the first fringe reef. At low tide the water recedes virtually all the way to the fringe reef (somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a mile from the beach) at high tide this is the kid friendly snorkel zone. At the first fringe reef there is a significant drop off and the depth immediately reaches 30-50 feet. The outer reef is perhaps an additional 100 meters away (depth as yet unknown), beyond that is the vast Koro Sea.

With our tummies full and the tide all the way out we ventured out with reef shoes on to explore the tide pools. I brought along my mask and snorkel just incase. We all had lots of fun looking into tide pools finding brittle stars, eels, crabs, shells, coral etc. With the tide all the way out we were able to walk/wade virtually to the 1st fringe reef. Looking out toward the 1st drop off Brooke's trained eye quickly spotted the small tell tale black tipped dorsal fin of a Blacktip reef shark swimming in perhaps 6 feet of water. The shark was small and the species is not considered to be dangerous. As we watched it swim off we all felt a new sense that true adventure lay out the back door of our new home. With my snorkel and mask in hand, the call of adventure lured me into the water to get a quick glimpse of what lay just beyond the drop off. Brooke and the kids were only a few feet away so I geared up and entered the shallow water and kicked out a few meters to a cleft in the reef where I could get a look over the edge. The water was crystal clear and I could see the bottom some thirty feet deep as i neared the edge of the drop off. I was full of excitement as I neared the edge. My excitement quickly rose as I cleared the edge of the drop off and immediately spotted another shark, this one a White Tip Reef shark easily 4 feet in length. At this point I realized that venturing any further with out a buddy would be unwise so I quickly turned around and headed back into the shallow water and the protection inside the reef. My heart was pumping as I exited the water and told Brooke, Tica and Ian what I had seen.

We all continued our tide pool explorations and collected shells on the way back to our beach and the friendly palm treed lawn that lies out our back door. The day wrapped up with a cold lager, dinner, and chapter on the kindle from The Swiss Family Robinson. Its been a good day!


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