25 Jul 2010

Well done Diveaway boys!!!

Hah, surprise!!! Its less than a week since my last blog....

A real mix this week of certified divers and first time divers, so we got to visit a lot of our less dived and more advanced sites. I say we, I mean Alex and the boys as I am still full of cold.... Bordello had some fabulous vis earlier this week, with turtles and sharks making themselves apparent, and we had white tips and grey reefs on Fanny Hill yesterday. Just one solitary barracuda though, the currents were not favourable for the big school we sometimes see.

We've been keeping the guests at Hideaway pool amused this week with our rescue course antics - luckily no one has called in the emergency services as per our yelled instructions... ChiChi and Mere have been doing an awesome job, and I am only slightly hoarse from all the shouting. Mere had been threatened with no food at the Diveaway lovo if she hadn't finished her rescue by Saturday, so she spent the whole day sulking, as there was no way we were going to get finished... We couldn't be that mean to her tho!!! She did spend the whole evening complaining about having a sore ear, so we will see if she turns up for work on Monday - any bets? ChiChi is an excellent panicker and should make herself available for all rescue courses - she managed to give Mere a few good dunks and she is a tiny lady!

The lovo was a whole lot of fun, with Tuks and Epi doing the bulk of the cooking. Lovo is a traditional way to cook food in Fiji, with stones being heated up prior to food being put on top and buried for several hours.... Just like in the UK, boys do the occasional outside cooking for parties with lots of fuss, girls do the rest (and always the tidying up!). We even managed to liberate Damos from Mango Bay for the evening, but 5 hours later he was getting withdrawl symptoms and had to go back... I can highly recommend lovo lamb and chicken, and sweet potato is just lush! There is a sign, on King's Road north of Nadi pointing towards the 'lovu crematorium'... My imagination was conjuring up images of food being cooked on top of gently smouldering dead people, until the taxi driver pointed out that lovu, with a u at the end, means crematorium in Fijian...

The lovo was a very late celebration for Te and Tuks getting their Divemaster certifications through from PADI. With busy family lives it's difficult to get us all together at once, and even last night Salo was missing as he caught chicken pox off his nephew - NOT small pox as Alex keeps telling everyone.... So massive belated congratulations to the Te and Tuks, big man hugs and slaps - you the man!!!

So a relaxing Sunday catching up on Facebook and only 18 more sleeps til my family come to see me, exciting times!!!! Rescue update coming soon!

21 Jul 2010

Welcome to Planet Ogg!

Oh o, are you lot in trouble!! Apparently my blog can be about anything at all, not just diving at Diveaway Fiji, so welcome to the ramblings of a slightly narked diving instructor!!! As ever, it has been a while, not as long as last time, although it appears I did start writing this on the 2nd of June...

It's been a busy start to July as it was winter holidays for the schools in Oz and NZ, so Hideaway pool has been a real assault course for pool lessons – kids can't half kick hard! Lots of people have been completing their Open Water courses whilst they stayed at Hideaway and Outrigger, so congratulations to you all! I hope Aude and Gwen can forgive me for my appalling French accent. Luckily for Andi, his girlfriend Asarela could translate the bits in German that we couldn't figure out between us. Now, if I had needed to ask any of them where the nearest train station was, or tell them I have a sister called Janice, it would have been a different matter!

Quite a few of our recent certs went on to do some more diving around Fiji, so I hope you guys had a great time! Scott completed his Junior Open Water, then headed up to Taveuni with his family – His final dive on Stingray was a lot of fun, we found so much cool stuff to look at, we did an hours dive and didn't even get half way along the reef! It was all the small brown things that were captivating us, along with some amusing octopus antics. Bridget and Ben had another eight days in Fiji after they completed their course, with lots more diving planned. Bridget is nearly a marine biologist, so thoroughly enjoyed all the nudibranchs and other invertebrates we found – Christmas Tree worms rule! And Ben, you can keep telling us that the tank opens the same way as a tap and we will still look blank and have to stop and think about it, these things just don't make sense!

None of us were as good at spotting critters as Tom, another of our Junior Open Water students. Him and his Divemaster mum Suze spend a lot of their time at an Island off Oz called Lady Elliot, and he is well versed in all the small things, including finding pop corn shrimp and nudibranchs all over the place! The anemone fish were still his favourites, so our Nemo's site was a winner. You can see all three types of nemo fish that can be found in Fiji all in a few square meters of anemone encrusted rocks – the Pink, the Tomato and Fiji's own variation on the Clark's anemone fish. Some even share the same anemone, which is highly unusual. Thanks to Suze for her impersonation of Diveaway staff – you had most people fooled!

I've been more out the water than in the last week as I have been poorly, so Alex has had to get wet. He reckons the vis on Stingray is clearing up again after the big swells, so I can't wait to get back in the water. Might even just go out diving with Te, Tuks and Esala, just to see some more of our dive sites – Chimney sounds particularly interesting, even need a torch...

I have a rescue course starting on Friday with ChiChi. She has been in Fiji for a few weeks doing an archaeological dig at the Sigatoka sand dunes with her friend Jenn, who also completed her Open Water course. Apparently one of the dig leaders does look a little like Indiana Jones, so it might be worth a little visit... No whip tho, just the hat. I am hoping to get Mere to complete her course at the same time... she is either ill, or just takes random days off whenever I mention it! Maybe we will have to send her down to Mango Bay to do the course with Damos – bet she's not ill then!!!

I was excited to get a letter from the lovely people at Fiji immigration the other day, allowing me to stay and continue working in the country for a good long time. At least it means I will be here for when my family come out from the UK to visit, wouldn't have been the most popular sister/ daughter otherwise!!! Am compiling my list of things required from home – can't get past good chocolate and pesto... and a can opener that works!

10 Jul 2010

The Drop Zone Fiji - Sportdiver.com

The Drop Zone is the ultimate dive and surf film which follows professional surfers on the adventure of a lifetime. Alex Gray, Cheyne Magnusson and Holly Beck headed to Tahiti in 2008 for an epic adventure – The Drop Zone Tahiti. Now the three young surfers are back and will be joined by two more - Maria Gonzalez and Bede Durbidge. The five of them will explore Fiji on a unique journey both above and below the surface.

Follow Holly, Alex, Cheyne, Maria and Bede – check out the Drop Zone Fiji blog and photos live from Fiji!

HollyBeck DropZone

Holly Beck Palos Verdes, California, USA
Holly is a former National Scholastic Surfing Association champ and is known for appearances on television shows such as North Shore Boardinghouse and The Best Damn Sports Show. She spends a lot of time down at her house in Nicaragua and is epic on keeping the world up to date on her travels. Holly Beck is not only one of the best female surfers on the planet but she is also a world traveler, actress, and a person who can definitely capture the world in film, photos and in print.
Holly's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

Alex Gray Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA
Alex Gray is one of the most unique people on the planet. He is a pro surfer, world traveler, comedian, ladies man, yoga god, paddler, and inspiration to many. He grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles and still loves to come home and spend time with his family after long trips around the world. This is his second appearance in Drop Zone.
Alex's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

AlexGray DropZone
CheyneMagnusson DropZone

Cheyne Magnusson Lahaina, Maui but currently in Oceanside, California, USA
Cheyne is not your typical pro surfer from Maui. He looks a little different and also lives a little different. He may rip like the rest of the upcoming crew that dominate Honolua Bay but he also tears it up on any skate ramp, had a big role in the Lords of Dogtown movie, free dives like a fish, enjoys a good party and was a high profile member of a MTV reality show.
Cheyne's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

Maria Gonzalez Puerto Rico
Body Glove's newest Team Member. More about Maria coming soon.

Maria's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

MariaGonzalez DropZone

Bede Durbidge Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Bede grew up on North Stradbroke Island, a small island off the coast of Queensland, Australia and moved to the Gold Coast when he was 20. He is in his sixth year on the Men's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour and is currently ranked number three in the world. To date, Bede has won a total of three ASP events and the Vans Triple Crown and he is still striving to achieve his dream of winning a World Title!
Bede's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

Photo credit [top to bottom] (Holly, Alex, Cheyne) Courtesy of PADI Americas and Body Glove; Photographer Justin Lewis, (Maria) Courtesy of Body Glove; Photographer: Mark Kawakami, (Bede) Courtesy of Bede Durbidge; Photographer Adam Weathered.

The Drop Zone Fiji - Sportdiver.com: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"