Location: Beqa, Fiji

The last few days have been a little trying. I always tell students that trips have ups and downs and dramatic arcs. The first couple of weeks of this trip had been amazing, getting to know everyone, visiting some truly beautiful reefs and islands, and sun every day. When it is like that, you feel like everything is falling into place. Unfortunately, there is always a flip side when all the planning you do is thrown out the window.

I’m sure there are some lovely people in Suva and really nice places to visit there. I couldn’t actually see any of them from our anchorage in the commercial port, but I’m sure they exist nonetheless. I’m sure there are lots of people that visit Suva and absolutely love it. When we woke up there this morning, I wasn’t really one of them. We had left the previous day to go to North Astrolabe Lagoon, which is a stunning atoll. The reef is pretty much all below the surface, so while it is calm with a sandy bottom, you feel like you are anchoring in the empty ocean. We had a good couple of hours there before being blown out by some unforecasted weather. The only really good option was to head back to Suva, so we found ourselves there again the next morning.

I visited Beqa about eight years ago when my father foolishly agreed to let me sail around Fiji for a month in his new boat. It is a renowned site to dive with sharks; I remember seeing 6 ft tiger sharks last time, which I would love to see again. We motored on a much calmer sea out the pass and made our way through the coral fields, Drew sitting on the cross trees calling out directions. The coral is much more visible when you can get up high, so having someone up the mast can really help navigate the reefs. We made our way into a bay that I anchored in 8 years ago and asked the local dive shop for advice on where to go. Everyone in Fiji is so nice. They gave us some good spots. Smash took Nora to do her first dives after finally getting her medical clearance while everyone else snorkeled the site where they would be doing their night dive. As I’m writing this, I can see the light of the dinghy on the reef and see flashes of light under the water.

We leave Fiji for Palau in 3 days, but it hasn’t been long enough.