Fiji Aggressor II (Sere-Ni-Wai)
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Fiji - October 2002

Fiji Aggressor II (Sere-Ni-Wai)

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After our 2 days of getting on "island time", we drove to Suva (the capital) to catch the Fiji Aggressor II. It was formerly known as the Sere-Ni-Wai (meaning "Song of the Sea" in Fijian). We were looking forward to a week of diving.

The Fiji Aggressor II Fiji_SereNiWai_01.jpg (33211 bytes) is a very nice boat. A little over 100 feet (30 meters) it provided accommodations for 10 divers (although we only had 9), and 6 crew. It has a dive platform on the back of the boat Fiji_SereNiWai_02.jpg (43881 bytes), which can get a little cramped if all 10 divers are on it at the same time. Luckily we were usually able to stage our entrance into the water a little, so that everyone had enough room to get ready. We were able to stay in Cabin 1 Fiji_SereNiWai_05.jpg (36124 bytes) (the honeymoon cabin), maybe because everyone could tell that we were so much in love Fiji_SereNiWai_07.jpg (29980 bytes). Unfortunately, this cabin is at the front of the boat, and since we had a very rough crossing on the first day, Jana did not feel great at all. Eventually, our captain Fritz Fiji_SereNiWai_03.jpg (29492 bytes) was able to find us some calmer water and weather Fiji_SereNiWai_10.jpg (39386 bytes), and we were ready to go diving Fiji_SereNiWai_04.jpg (33285 bytes). Since we were out on the open ocean, and also did some night diving, several of the dive group decided that it was time for a more protective look Fiji_SereNiWai_11.jpg (35146 bytes) for our diving.

In addition to diving, we also had the opportunity for a visit to a turtle farm and a local village. The turtle farm visit was an impromptu visit, which is usually not scheduled, but the keeper was there and so we headed to the island. This island Fiji_TurtleFarmVisit_01.jpg (32353 bytes) used to be the island were all the outcasts were sent in former times. Well, I guess if you have to banned to a god-forsaken place, at least it can have clear and warm water Fiji_TurtleFarmVisit_02.jpg (39573 bytes). Although it is a turtle farm where the Fijian Government is raising turtles Fiji_TurtleFarmVisit_04.jpg (50545 bytes) to be released back into the ocean, they are also farming clams and coral Fiji_TurtleFarmVisit_05.jpg (62530 bytes). Some of the clams they raised are just giant clams Fiji_TurtleFarmVisit_03.jpg (49371 bytes).

Towards the end of our week, we had the privilege to visit a Fijian village. Upon arrival on the island Fiji_VillageVisit_03.jpg (28293 bytes), we were shown around the village by a very friendly lady. She talked to us about her village, and showed us the church Fiji_VillageVisit_04.jpg (25919 bytes), including the traditional church bells Fiji_VillageVisit_05.jpg (43344 bytes). Everywhere we went, we were greeted by smiling faces and waves Fiji_VillageVisit_01.jpg (38180 bytes). Then we heard some loud clanging ,as if a group of kids was smashing some pots and pans around. When we inquired as to what was going on, our guide introduced us to the village chief's grandson Fiji_MakingTheKava_01.jpg (33766 bytes), who made kava powder Fiji_MakingTheKava_02.jpg (38598 bytes) from the root of the kava plant. After we saw most of the village and heard about the story as to how 7 people from the village drifted with motor problems to the Solomon Island, we were the guests of honor at the meke (song and dance ceremony) that the villagers gave to us for our visit. The meke is centered around the drinking of kava Fiji_VillageVisit_02.jpg (41361 bytes), as well as song and dance Fiji_VillageVisit_06.jpg (46183 bytes) Fiji_VillageVisit_07.jpg (49865 bytes). Jana was invited to celebrate with the villagers Fiji_VillageVisit_08.jpg (45706 bytes), and even the kids thought that she did an awesome job Fiji_VillageVisit_09.jpg (30893 bytes).

So, the time passed rather quickly on the Fiji Aggressor II. Despite some disappointments with the dive sites and some issues with the boat, we had a great crew Fiji_SereNiWai_13.jpg (31848 bytes) Fiji_SereNiWai_12.jpg (36153 bytes). We were initiated into the Fijian tradition of drinking Kava Fiji_SereNiWai_06.jpg (32501 bytes) Fiji_SereNiWai_08.jpg (19234 bytes) Fiji_SereNiWai_09.jpg (25784 bytes) before moving on to our next stop.