Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blowing Bubbles by Ian

Yesterday, I went scuba diving. It was so much fun. We went to a site called Coral Gardens. I went to 28 feet for 33 minutes. Tica and I have been preparing for this day for a long time. We had to read the whole Openwater Scuba textbook; we had to log at least 25 hours of snorkeling and we had to watch a very long training video. We then had to wait almost a week for the weather to cooperate. After Cyclone Mick finally left the area, we were finally ready to go.

We went with Koro Sun Dive on the boat Bligh Explorer. My buddy was Colin Skipper who is an instructor with more than 100 certifications under his BCD. He runs the dive shop. The boat captain was Michael and the divemaster was Isaac.

Before we went, Mom and Dad dove a site with Colin and Michael called Dreamhouse. They saw a lot of grey reef sharks (Charcharinus amblyrhynchos), some barracudas (Sphyraena qenei) and a huge school of bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus). Much to their excitement, they also saw one scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini).

We moved the boat to the spot where Colin usually takes new divers. Unfortunately the wind was blowing from the west and we could not safely tie up the boat in that spot. Colin decided upon an alternative site called Coral Gardens. It is right next to a snorkeling spot called Mumu’s. Michael drove the boat inside the reef and threw out the anchor, which hooked around a piece of dead coral and held our position.

Tica dove first. I sat on the boat and waited. I was very excited and kind of nervous. I was a little worried about how I was going to get out of the boat. I didn’t want to hit the propellers.

Tica got out after 26 minutes and said that it was really fun. Now it was my turn. While I sat on the edge of the dive platform, Isaac and Colin helped me to get my gear on. With my mask and fins and Scuba gear on, I was gently pushed into the water. Colin was there to catch me. My BCD (buoyancy control device) was a little too big so it was kind of hard to keep it in position on my body. I was wearing a weight belt to help me get down so I felt really heavy in the water. My BCD kept me from sinking until Colin was ready to take me underwater. We signaled the boat that we were okay and started our dive.

Colin Skipper, my instructor

Colin let the air out of my BCD and we slowly sank underwater. He held my hand and we started our dive. We went under an overhang and around a saddle in the reef. Towards the end of the dive, we went to the surface to see where the boat was. We found it easily and started swimming back to the boat. When we got there, we took our fins off and got back onto the boat.

The dive was exactly how I thought it would be. It was about 40 feet and there was lots of coral and fish. Coral Gardens definitely lives up to its name! There was magic coral, which changes color when you touch it, and plate coral and many other kinds of coral. We saw lots of peacock groupers (Cephalopholis argus), some Fiji clownfish (Anphiprion sp.) and some tomato anemonefish (Anphiprion frenatus). We also saw some butterflyfish. Among them were the dot and dash butterfly (Chaetodon pelewensis), vagabond butterfly (Chaetodon vagabundus) and the black-backed butterfly (Chaetodon melannotus). We also saw some triangle butterflyfish (Chaetodon baronessa).

Tomato anemonefish Anphiprion frenatus

Was I afraid? No definitely not. I just concentrated on the two main rules we’ve learned about diving. Rule 1 is always breathe. Rule 2 is don’t panic, relax and enjoy the dive. I might have been a little nervous at first but I got more relaxed over time. Only one thing went wrong towards the end of the dive when I had some trouble clearing my right ear. I just went up a bit and cleared it and I was free to go back down.

As if that weren't enough excitement, we went fishing on the way back from our dive. On the way to Dreamhouse that morning, we had seen some black terns. They were going after fish that was being chased by bigger fish. Colin had some fishing rods with lures and so we started trolling. We did not get anything on the way to Dreamhouse but on the way back to the dock, Colin caught a skipjack tuna. It weighed about 5 pounds. Michael and Isaac cleaned the fish at the dock. They took the guts and gills out and fed them to the fish in the marina. They took the fish home for dinner. Isaac wanted the fish head, which is a delicacy usually reserved for the village chief. We had an awesome day and I hope that we can do it again before we go home.

Oops! We forgot to take pictures of Tica and Ian's big day. I guess we were too excited. Here is a video of some magic coral from the Siga Siga reef. Pretty cool. Of course, we try not to touch the coral very much as it is not very good for it. Sometimes it is just SO tempting.


  1. Congratulations to both of you!We are very proud of you for all the effort you put into preparing for the big day. Can't wait to dive with you guys soon!

  2. I am so proud of both of you...3 cheers!!
    I have the feeling that this will be the beginning of a long series of underwater adventures. What a lot of work you put into your training and boy did it pay off. Yippee!!

  3. This is just awesome folks! We're so glad you enjoyed your time with us, maybe you'd like to do a trip adviser post....I wasn;t there, but Colin came back from the dives with the kids buzzing, and this is just super!!!!! Now they're certified and maybe will bring their kids back some day!!!