Location: Naviti Island, Yasawas, Fiji

As the clock struck 6 am, the morning music began to play. It was an early wake-up time. As the crew rolled out of their bunks, they quickly began to prepare their equipment for a sunrise snorkel. We split in half, and the first group boarded the dinghies as soon as they could get them in the water. As the sun rose, we found ourselves wading in the water, staring at beautiful, bright coral. Many species of fish were also spotted as they swam about; some of the first group saw sharks and stingrays. As the first group returned to Argo, the second prepared for the many underwater creatures that awaited them. They jumped into the dinghies with all their gear and went out into the water. They spotted many fish and corals as well, returning with great, big smiles plastered across their faces. As soon as they climbed back onto Argo’s deck, food was ready to be eaten. Breakfast was a delectable banana bread prepared by Giselle and her galley crew.

Once all the bowls were scrubbed clean and the decks scrubbed, we prepared to go diving. The crew, once again, split into two groups. The first group grabbed their tanks, fins, and masks, tossing them into the dinghies. With much anticipation, they departed Argo for the same reef that we had snorkeled just hours earlier. The coral was even more beautiful from the seabed than it was from the surface. Everyone returned screaming with excitement at the many things they had seen. They yelled about the many fish that they had seen and the anemones and giant clams that inhabited the walls of the reef. The second group quickly packed their things into the boats and, with newfound energy brought on by the first group, they speedily hopped into the smaller vessels and took off for the reef. The excitement shared by the entire crew when they returned was energizing for all. Giselle brought out chicken satay for lunch, and everyone chowed with eager anticipation for what was yet to come.

In the afternoon, starting at around 14:30, the boat split for a 3rd and final time into groups. The first group prepared their snorkeling items once again; they were off to find manta rays. At first, as the group searched the water, they were sorely disappointed. That disappointment quickly turned to excitement as a manta was spotted a few hundred feet up current. The group slipped into the water, careful not to scare the ray. The visibility was very short, good for mantas, bad for observers. A manta appeared out of the blue. Its body was almost completely black, with only a small white spot near its gills. After that ray was spotted, another was spotted with it; this other one was white on its underside with small black spots. They danced as they fed on plankton, filtering it from the water. As they returned to Argo, they struggled to hold their excitement. The second ray-spotting group jumped into the dinghies with extreme confidence that they would see a manta ray. In a very unfortunate turn of events, the second group was unable to spot any mantas in the water; they only were able to experience the rays through the photos and videos taken by the first group. In trade for not seeing rays, however, the second group explored two more reefs, each brighter and more beautiful than the one they had explored in the morning. As they returned to the boat, the staff had planned a little surprise…

Lolo, Gabe, and Amanda hopped into the water and began a rescue diving scenario. Many emotions were felt throughout the rescue divers in training. They quickly pulled together and rescued all three “victims.” There were, of course, some things that still needed work but they had passed the scenario, now only needing to pass one more. After the scenario concluded, many people jumped into the water for their showers as the sunset in a gorgeous array of pastel colors. Just as the sun passed below the horizon, dinner was brought up. It was falafel with yellow rice and fresh cucumbers. As the crew members finished their meals, we began the nightly squeeze. Tonight’s question, “if everyone in the world had to adhere to one rule of your choosing, what rule would you impose?” This led to many entertaining and heartfelt answers, mainly on pollution as well as personal hygiene.

PS Hi, mom and dad, Becca and Andrew. Miss you guys, see you at home soon!

Anemonefish protecting their home from the divers

Lolo coming out of a swim-through in the coral

Many fish swimming in the corals

Gabe and Marina on their way back from the morning dive

Manta ray mid feeling spiral

The sun setting over Naviti Island

The sunset over a neighboring island