Location: Port Mourelle, Vava'u, Tonga

This morning started with delicious banana pancakes. After breakfast was a fish dissection. I was really stoked about this. There was a lot of pre-dissection tomfoolery happening; people were running around with fish and taking pictures with them before they got mutilated. We started by noting the outer appearances of the fish, then finally. We got to slice em open. The group was expertly instructed by fish extraordinaire Matty. Stanley, my group’s snapper, was a tough little guy. We all had to stick our fingers in their mouths to find where their stomachs were located. We also found the swim bladder, liver, kidney, heart, and gonads. It turned out that our little Stanley was actually the only female of all the fish. After we were done with the dissection, people got gutsy seriously. Some bravery came out, along with fish guts. Jenna and Lindsey split a fish heart in half and ate it because, apparently, it’s good luck. I just think Leah wanted to make them do something gross. Then immediately after, Jenna decides to eat the fish’s eye lens also. I heard it was crunchy; I don’t plan on finding out for myself. Then there was the incident of the fish slap. Once again, provoked by Leah, Jake slapped Eshed across the face with their fish. It was kind of awesome. Once all the fish guts were cleaned, we had to get straight to preparation for diving.

We finally started our Advanced Diving course, and some groups started diving for their Oceanography research projects. For the advanced course, we did our peak performance buoyancy dive. I was in the first group, and we had to book it after the dissection. Once we got in the water, which was way colder than I had personally prepared for, we got acclimated. After a few minutes of swimming around, we started practicing buoyancy skills. Some of these were quite hilarious. One skill was to swim through two hoops, the second one higher than the first. Basically, none of us could do it. We all laughed hysterically underwater as people got caught, dragging the hoops through the water without even noticing. Another skill was to turn upside down and place your head in a bucket sitting on the seafloor. I think PADI just wants us to look goofy. It was quite an entertaining dive. Most of the day was spent diving.

Oh, and Tim made sausage rolls for lunch. They were tasty and Australian. Now I know what I’m going to eat when we get to Australia. We went out to the dive site in shifts, so if you weren’t diving, you had time to work on Oceanography or Marine Bio. There was pasta for dinner, Mmmm carbs, and afterward, we had more presentations on Oceanography. To end the day, Sully did his how-to presentation on juggling. He has ridiculous skills, and I’m quite jealous. Today has been one long day, and we’re all a little worn out, but I’m definitely excited for tomorrow.