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Location: Drawaqa, Fiji

It was a beautiful morning here on Argo, with the sun shining and a blue sky. It is technically “winter” here in Fiji, but this close to the equator, it can still get pretty hot throughout the day! We cherish the slight crispness in the air overnight and in the early mornings. Pierce and his chef team cooked up a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and fruit. After cleanup, the students went to Oceanography class with Steph to have a quiz all about chemical oceanography and to review for their midterm in a few days. While the class was going, the staff lifted the anchor, and we left Kuata bound for a new spot to go diving. After oceanography was finished, the students had a short break for fresh air and seeing the sights before heading back into the salon for marine biology. We learned about sponges and cnidarians (corals, anemones, jellyfish, etc.), and there is a surprising amount of interesting things to know about these seemingly simple animals. It was a nice change to learn about animals after learning about algae and plants in our last unit.

Just before lunch, we dropped anchor in Drawaqa. That name may sound familiar to you because, yes, we have been here before. To see mantas! But this time, we anchored on the other side of the island in order to do some diving! One of our favorite things here on Argo. In fact, did you know that we have completed open water, advanced open water, and our 3 divemaster candidates are well on their way to becoming full-blown divemasters? And all in 4 weeks! Not to mention juggling 4 classes, the job wheel, anchor watch, head chef days, and so much more! We are pretty proud of all the hard work our students have put into their dive training and all they continue to learn here onboard Argo. Pierce and his chef crew (and special guests) were at it again for lunch, turning out handmade dumplings apparently made by an army of extra helpers. After that tasty sustenance to keep us going, we went on a beautiful dive on the reef right next to Argo. We love when we can just giant stride off the side of Argo and swim over to our dive site. We saw things like the bicolor goatfish, Acropora echinata, bicolor angelfish, and Bleeker’s parrotfish, all of which are on our ID quiz tomorrow! (Can you tell the marine biology instructor is the one writing this blog?) It was a beautiful and fun dive, and everyone treasured it, as it was our final dive until we get to Indonesia in about 3-4 weeks’ time.

With the diving wrapped up, we settled in for a tasty and comforting homemade fancy ramen dinner. Soups and stews are always very heartwarming and stomach-warming after an afternoon in the water. Amidst chatter and laughter during dinner, I reflected on our time in Fiji and how it is quickly drawing to a close. It is such a gorgeous, wild place with so much untouched beauty. It feels very bittersweet to be completed our stay here, but we are very excited to begin our long passage to Indonesia in a few days.

Hi, friends and families at home! We all love and miss you!
Amanda

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