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I headed back over to the marine camp on Beqa for the Christmas festivities – without any volunteers in Suva I thought it may be a bit lonely! The boat this time was glorious! Calm sea, blue sky and just a tiny bit of sea spray. Nothing like my previous crossing!

Christmas eve evening was spent frantically wrapping Secret Santa gifts using phone book paper and parcel tape and we watched that classic Christmas movie…Die Hard!

The next morning I woke early and rather than a stocking at the end of my bed there were 3 kittens fighting over my feet! It didn’t feel much like Christmas though, too hot and sunny.  As the others slowly woke the Christmas music began playing and after breakfast we went to see what was under the tree (tinsel Christmas wreath) for us to open. My Secret Santa gifted me a great Fijian summer dress. In Fijian blue with darker blue flowers and white patterns – I wore it all day (as you should any Christmas gifts).
With low tide and our boat engine needing a little repair we did a Christmas shore dive out to the house reef which is right in the bay. Visibility was a bit rubbish so we kept close together on the swim out but once we got there it wasn’t so bad. We saw the usual masses of colourful fish, a couple of nudibranchs (my new favourite invertebrate) and a lobster! After Teo practiced swimming me back to shore we headed inside to help make Christmas dinner.

Dinner was a military operation. Jeopardised by the cat who ate one of our chickens! We would have had the perfect amount of meat for everyone but instead it had to be rationed. Head chef Laurence was less than impressed to say the least and it meant that a volunteer was put on cat and kitten duty for the rest of the preparation! Luckily dinner was saved by all the other delicious elements – roast potatoes, veg, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and almost a Yorkshire pudding but they didn’t rise too well…

A Christmas dinner without any arguments, everyone suitably stuffed and suffering from food comas and with all felines still living, we stayed motionless and very quiet for quite some time before the clear up and dragging ourselves to bed.

By Kat Barber - Teaching & Community Project Coordinator (Suva)

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