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Me diving

Friday, December 31, 2021

Taveuni, Fiji: Day 4

Today I had eggs Benedict for breakfast, which was very tasty. I'm always skeptical, because it's easy to overcook poached eggs, and seems to sometimes happen even at good breakfast places, but that was not the case here. The resort had some sort of New Year's Eve festivities planned, so we had to order lunch and dinner (a festive 5 course affair) in the morning.

For the morning dive trip, we went back to Vuna Reef. The first dive was at the same site that we went to on our first day (Orgasm). I spent a lot of the dive with my head in the reef, looking for nudibranchs and other small things, and I can't say that I was very rewarded for my efforts :P. Apparently I missed some bigger swimming things go by, like barracuda, as a result of having my head stuck in the reef. Anyway, since we were just at this dive site earlier in the week, I don't have a ton to say about it -- nice hard corals, nice steep wall in parts, etc.

After that, we headed to a site whose name I didn't catch. It was a spot that they used to dive before Cyclone Winston, but had not dived since then, so they didn't know what state it was in. It was in pretty good shape! The top had tons of healthy looking hard corals of all different kinds, though a lot of them were small. So I'm guessing it got pretty wiped out by the cyclone, and this was what had grown back. Aside from the hard corals, there were areas that had a bunch of anthias skittering around, so overall it was a nice site. There was a slope, but I thought that the top of the reef was the nicest part of the dive.

For lunch, I had an Indian roti wrap with chicken and veggies. It was good, and again seemed like the sort of thing that's not ideal to eat before diving :)

For the afternoon dive, we did a macro dive at a site just north of the resort whose name I did not catch. The site is really close to land; there's a little cliff there that the boat pulls right up to to drop you in (and at the end, we had to swim away from the site so the boat could get us). On one hand, I was a bit disappointed with this macro dive, as we didn't find any super awesome nudibranchs (e.g. aeolids) or Pygmy seahorses. But overall, it was a pretty productive macro dive. We saw several different kinds of bumpy dorids. I don't know if there is a technical term for those kinds of dorids, or a class or an order or a family that they all belong to, but they are... bumpy. I think we saw 3 or 4 different kinds. We saw gazillions of the white with blue striped dorids (Chromodoris lochi). And a couple of other dorids that were more interesting. We also saw several scorpionfish (I found two, Soni found one), though for some reason, Rob wasn't interested in photographing them. I'm sure we saw a few other things, but those were the best things in my mind.

We did not do a night dive, because of the festive New Year's Eve plans. The plan was a cocktail hour with drinks and snacks from 6:30 to 7:30, then a 5-course meal at 8pm, with entertainment, and partying until midnight (in theory). We were planning to go over to the bar and get a drink around 5:30 when Terri showed up at our door. Apparently another guest had tested positive for covid, so they were re-testing everyone at the resort (and isolating anyone that was positive). So we got our noses swabbed for the second time in two days, and waited around for 15 or so minutes to see that we did not have covid. Then we meandered over to the bar and got some drinks. The festivities were obviously a bit dampened as a result of the news that someone had covid. I think the plan was originally to have a communal table for dinner, but they split it up into separate tables, and only the resort guests attended.

Anyhoo, I went to the bar to order cocktails for us (a pina colada for me and a pineapple mojito for Rob) and was offered some free beer and wine (from the cocktail hour) while we waited. So I ended up double fisting a pina colada and white wine. The cocktail hour snacks were meatballs and fish balls, which we ate way too many of while we were drinking our drinks. Eventually dinner was served, after we were already getting sleepy. I was still very jet-lagged and though I managed to stay up all the way until 10:30 the previous night, I woke up around 3:30 and couldn't get back to sleep.

Dinner was very good, or what we managed to make it through. There was a coconut lime fish soup (so good, I need to morph my coconut fish chowder recipe into something more like that), then lobster cakes, and then surf and turf -- sirloin and lobster. There was a whole lobster tail and a giant piece of steak, plus mashed potatoes, some delicious sauce, and veggies. The lobster was super tasty, and I barely touched the steak. It was just way too much food. But oh man was everything that I ate tasty! It pains me to say that I didn't even finish my lobster tail! At this point, we were both stuffed and exhausted, so we called it a night. How sad that we missed 2 of the 5 courses for dinner (but mostly I'm sad that we missed the espresso cheesecake). During dinner, there was a performance by a dancer who did some fire dancing and some other Fijian dance.

So we headed back to our room and fell asleep almost immediately while watching something on Rob's iPad. Then a bit later (a little after 10, I think), we woke to the sound of fireworks. There was a fireworks display! That was pretty cool, but a bit scary because the fireworks were so close, hehe.

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