Day 26 - Chester Pets a Shark

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August 1st 2011
Published: August 1st 2011
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So we spent our first night at the Uprising Beach Resort. It was fine, we had to have all the windows and curtains open so we could get the slightest, lightest breeze into our hut. We both slept pretty well though (Chester sleeps because of Ambien, thank goodness) and woke up at 7. The outdoor shower was actually pretty cool and reminded us of an awesome camp site in Namibia that had very cool outdoor showers. After a breakfast of cornflakes in warm milk and some toast we headed to the lobby to get picked up for our 8:15 shark dive.

The driver arrived and quickly told us we were on a different dive trip so we waited for another 30 minutes. Then Sammy, the driver, came back for us and said we were on this trip. Kirsten asked him if he was just here. He lied and said no it wasn’t him. We called him out on it and he confessed. He looked at the wrong item on our voucher and left us. All was good though because when we got to the dive shop there was no line and we received our gear pretty quickly. Chester didn’t know any better, this was only her second official dive excursion, but Kirsten knew right away it was a shoddy situation. There were 14 people on the boat, which Kirsten said were too many. Chester was oblivious of course, but that is probably a good thing. We took off out of the cove and only drove out about 20-30 minutes. We tied onto another boat which was much larger and had even more people. The dive brief was just that, brief. No pointing and no picking up the food and don’t panic were the only rules they gave us. We all jumped off the boat, sat on a drift line and we all descended into the deep together. When we got to the bottom we swam toward a toe line that we all grabbed a hold. Chester immediately had her death grip on the rope as Kirsten just hovered along the bottom. The guides then started to feed the fish/sharks. They feed them for about 20-25 minutes on each dive bringing in all kinds of marine life. The fish were everywhere. On the first dive, we saw a massive, 800 lb grouper. It was as big as a horse. It just sat on the bottom and ate the fish. There were so many fish that surrounded us. We also saw eels swimming in and around the coral, a poisonous scorpion fish and nurse sharks, bull sharks and tons of reef sharks. It was pretty amazing and Chester did not panic. Jonah, one of the guides, took Chester from behind the rope and into the mix with all the fish and sharks. She even got to “pet” a shark if you will. The guide directed her and she touched two as they swam by. Pretty exhilarating! Chester was starting to run out of air as she still isn’t too relaxed down there and Kirsten had almost a full tank when it was time to ascend to the top.

We had to wait an hour in between dives. The dive group consisted of Brits, Americans and Canadians. One of the Brits, Lady Joyce, as the crew called her, has been in Fiji for a few months and dives all the time. She is easily in her 70’s and the crew knew her well and loved her. She dove quite a bit and they all have stories of dives with her. The second dive was at the same site. We headed down again but were anchored on a different line. We basically lay on the reef and the guides feed the fish and they all swarm around the food. Even more fish surrounded us this time, and there were quite a few nurse sharks plus a few lemon sharks. We again were down there for 20-25 minutes. One of the guides hit the signal for us to start heading up to the top, so we all started to leave the rope. Then the other guide was signaling us to return. We headed back to the rope and all of a sudden a huge, 13-14 foot Tiger Shark was right in front of us. It was amazing. The thing was magnificent and scary and amazing all in one. Chester was almost out of air at this point and was directed to go up. Kirsten was able to stay and watch the shark a little longer. It circled a few times and ate the chum that the guides fed it.

At the surface everyone was really excited about seeing the Tiger shark. They are only a few that sporadically come around and this one, named Laura, was the smallest of the Tiger sharks. Tiger sharks are no 2 of the deadliest sharks around. All the same it was a pretty awesome experience. There were several other divers who all had the cameras and were comparing the videos and pictures they captured. As well as talking the entire trip back like IT geeks about exposure and how to make the best of their camera. Kirsten was ready to shoot herself. Kirsten was a bit annoyed at the number of times she was kicked in the face and head as there were way too many people in one area trying to descend and ascend. The visibility wasn’t the greatest, but it didn’t matter, we saw the Tiger Shark!

Since it was only a half day dive, we were back at the resort by 1:30. Of course it was super cloudy and no sun to be found. So what is the best activity to do when it’s cloudy? Yes, drink. We had a couple of beers and then found out they offer massages. Chester went first and Kirsten was out by the pool. The sun did make an appearance for about 20 minutes while Kirsten lounged. When Chester was done with her massage, and Kirsten went in, the sun was gone and Chester just napped on the beach chairs by the pool. Oh yeah, and like clock-work on this trip, it started to rain. Seriously, we think that it has snowed/rained every day on our trip except one. Awesome. We had to wait till the rain stopped to take our showers since they are outside. Kirsten got the luxury of slipping on a frog on the way to the shower.

A late dinner and a few more drinks finished up our evening. Kirsten has 3 nights left and Chester 4. The trip is really winding down. We have no plans for tomorrow, but we are really hoping for sun. We may head into the village but not sure.


Tot: 3.03s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 8; qc: 58; dbt: 0.0582s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb