We were up with the larks (noisy Indian Minahs actually) for the diving today. In the event, Brigid was not feeling well enough to dive, but accompanied John on the boat. The boat turns out to be basic: a semi-rigid inflatable. But the outfit is competent.
Our resort is on the ‘Coral Coast’ of Viti Levu. The coastline is characterised by a permanent line of surf about 200 metres out to sea.
Between the surf and the beach is turquoise blue, warm, shallow water – ideal for snorkling. Beyond the surf, the coastline shelves away dramatically at a sheer wall of coral. It was this wall of coral that was to be the basis of both dives.
At a depth of 17m, the water was crystal clear, and the variety and colour of the coral was fabulous. As John ascended to shallower depths, the swell of the surf was more noticeable, but it was surprising how little it affected the multitude of fish living on the reef. As there were no facilities or shelter on the boat, John and the others spent their surface interval on the beach. By way of a snack, a crew member cut open a fresh fallen coconut and shared out the flesh: a pleasant change from custard creams!
The second dive was not quite as deep, and was a drift dive. The highlight of this dive was the sight of a vast turtle dozing as it clung to the coral wall.
Meanwhile, on the surface, Brigid chatted to the crew about the fortunes of the Fijian rugby team, while keeping an eye on the plumes of turquoise bubbles rising from the divers below … half hoping to catch a glimpse of John’s yellow-sleeved wetsuit in the clear water.
We ate a gourmet lunch of baked beans and eggs back at the bungalow, before paying another visit to Sigatoka market. That evening we followed the advice of our taxi driver, and ate prawn curry at a tiny Indian-run pizzeria on the beach. Over the speaker system, an Indian singer spoofed Eminem’s hit, “Stan”. We were laughing too much to get all the words, but the jist of the song went something like, “Woke up this morning, brushed my teeth … I felt quite numb … last night’s curry was burning my bum …” Priceless!