Thursday
Mar202014

ARO BLOG: CLARE BROWN

Last week the weather was good and we managed to dive every day. I finished the advanced courses with Flo and Lina and they finished all the theory so they are now both fully qualified Advance Open Water Divers –congratulations to them both. Flo had a great Navigation dive as the visibility was very poor but she still managed to navigate a square and find the boat again, very impressive. Lina particularly enjoyed her peak performance buoyancy dive during which she learnt to hover in a Buddha position, like superman and upside down! Lina now only needs one weight to dive and she started out with three, good job!

We also said goodbye to Brandon last week. Brandon has been a great volunteer with a huge knowledge of pretty much everything. After his final dive Brandon demonstrated Newton’s law of motion that everything has an equal and opposite reaction by floating vertically at the surface and using his regulator as a propeller to turn himself around! All on camp will miss him and we wish him well for his future travels with Frontier in Central America.

This week we welcome Jamie back after she spent some time recovering in Suva. We hope to get Jamie and Kian survey ready this week. We also hope to get Flo and Lina through their indicator and family ID tests.

On Thursday we were planning for a cyclone (Lusi) which we expected to hit us on Thursday night or Friday morning so we had to batten down the hatches, move everything into the house and, thankfully, the storm didn't it us after all! Therefore on Friday all the volunteers went on a well earned R&R trip in Suva. It was a surprise for the volunteers who didn't think we were going to be able to go. Everyone had a goodtime and they returned to camp on Monday ready for another weeks diving and surveying.

By Clare Brown, Dive Officer

Find out more about the Fiji Marine Conservation & Diving project.

Friday
Mar142014

ASSISTANT RESEARCH OFFICER: PIE TIME 

Bula everyone! My name is Niki and I'm a volunteer Assistant Research Officer (ARO) here on the Frontier Fiji Marine project. It's crazy to think that I've only been here for about a month, but I can safely say that I'm loving every minute of it.

This past week has been quite eventful. We welcomed two new volunteers to our little family: Carolina and Flo! They have settled in nicely and are both wonderful. They are currently completing their Advanced Open Water course and are on their way to becoming great surveyors.

The diving has been great, apparently it's shark season now so we're all keeping our fingers crossed for some big shark sightings. We've been confined to a few sites and rather limited diving this week due to the weather (hello Fiji monsoon season!), but we've managed to keep ourselves entertained. It's safe to say that a few of us have got a little bit of cabin fever but we've been ignoring that, and we have been eating our feelings.

Speaking of food, it's been pretty awesome these past few days. I usually try and stay as far away from the kitchen as possible because I tend to burn things and generally just get in the way, but I volunteered to help out with dinner on Saturday and we made vegetable and mackerel pies - which were glorious. I helped roll out the dough and make individual pies for everyone. It was very exciting. Brandon managed to make us breadfruit hash browns the other day and we actually just ate some sausages with onion gravy, fried kasava, and vegetables (thanks to the re-supply!).  

This week we're saying good-bye to Brandon, a delicate Canadian flower. He's been such an amazing part of this project and whenever anyone has questions he's always the first one that everyone runs to. You name it, any question at all, whether it be about fish, cooking, cleaning, or just random general knowledge questions, The Brandon will know. He knows everything. To say that he'll be sorely missed is an understatement.

Oh! Also! Almost all of us have started or finished reading Game of Thrones which has become a hot topic of discussion/arguments depending on who you talk to.

That's pretty much all I can think of right now. Also, Kris, we love you and miss you stupid amounts. Come home soon!

Don't forget to stay classy.

By Nikola Piesinger, Assistant Research Officer

Find out more about the Fiji Marine Conservation & Diving project.

 

Tuesday
Mar042014

ARO Blog: Clare Brown

It has been a good week on camp this week. Shaun, Alison and Nici are survey ready and both Shaun and Nici managed to complete one survey before they left camp on Monday morning. Alison is working well and has completed a couple of practise surveys and one real survey so she is now able to go out and collect data. Jamie and Kian are working well and have completed a number of spot tests so it will only be a matter of time before they are out there surveying with the rest of the gang. Felix also left us on Monday morning having completed his 20 weeks on camp. He also managed to complete his dive master qualification before leaving us so is now a fully certified PADI pro! He will be missed by all, especially for his ingenuity and his skill in finding the mooring sites, but we wish him well for the future.


The new dog, Lucky, has settled in well and has taken to sleeping in my room at night. So now I have my own personal guard dog (although she is a big softy so I'm not sure she would be much good at guarding me)! The puppies are both growing well and their coats are looking much better than before and they have both developed a taste for banana porridge. The other dogs, cats, pigs and chickens are all well and continue to provide much entertainment on camp.

On Friday after we completed our days survey diving I took six of the volunteers out for a night dive on a reef called Vuvale. It was an adventure as only one of the group had been night diving before. We saw crabs, feather stars, shrimp and a fleeting glimpse of a reef shark. The highlight was the bioluminescence which could be seen when we all hid the light from our torches and moved our hands through the water. It is like looking at the stars under the water as tiny organisms glow with a beautiful fluorescent light when disturbed. Everyone had a light show on the way back to base too. We could see the bioluminescence in the wash from the boat but there was also a lightening storm at the back of the island. Every time the lightening flashed the whole island was illuminated, it was spectacular. A good day all round.

By Clare Brown, Dive Officer

Find out more about the Fiji Marine Conservation & Diving project.

Tuesday
Mar042014

Volunteer Blog: Kian Kreda and Jamie Michelle

A week of mishaps, pranks and goodbyes.

Chapter 1, The Dolphin and the Rock.

We saw a dolphin! No not really, it was just Calvin who, per the usual stars in our mishaps chapter. The most recent Calvin head injury incurred is due to a head butting contest with a rock. He lost while trying to show us that he could in fact do a wonderful human dolphin impression... (clearly he can’t). The next day he tried the same thing with a tree to preserve his head butting dignity, but lost again.

 Chapter 2, The New Surveyors.

Congratulations to Nici, Allison, and Shaun for doing their first surveys, and in the case of Shaun and Nici, also their last. :( But Allison is on her way to being uber useful to the project!

 Chapter 3, The Swoo Club.

There are 2 new additions to the Swoo club this week, Allison and Calvin performed an admirable tandem Swoo in the bay, joining Kian in the club, now three strong.

 Chapter 4, Walk It Off.

Lewis was still in extreme pain from his ankle stripping injury earlier in Suva. He attempted to treat it with the time tested, and failed, logic of walking it off. He’s still limping. I wonder why. Other walking injuries include Niki Staff stepping on a wasp. Ouch. Anyways moving on.

Chapter 5, Don’t point that in my face.

Shaun, Jamie, Allison, Lewis, and Kian went for a night dive led by their fearless leader Claire D.I. (Dive Instructor, duuuh) It was really cool we saw the sleeping fishies, tried to blind each other with our flashlights (not really we were safe and secure) and then turned them off to see the bioluminescent microscopic things in the water, CAN YOU SAY AVATAR. AAA-VAAA-TAARR. Good job! We were also treated to a beautiful return trip as we could see a lightning storm backdropping the island of Beqa, luminescent thingies in the water we were rushing over, and the milky way above our heads. Tear jerkingly beautiful.

Chapter 6, Is There Chillies In This? ... Yeah, there is.

Lewis retaliating against Felix for an earlier prank, spread chili around the rim of his water bottle. Felix upon starting to eat dinner, took a swig and started eating food, proceeding to ask “Is there chili in this?” To which Kian answered, “Yeah, there is.” Alarmed, he begun to take BIG gulps of his water. Fast forward three minutes, and his face was in a bowl of milk. “OWIE OWIE OWIE”- (Felix’s girly voice). On another chili related note, Shaun put chilies on Calvin’s toothbrush which didn’t sting him nearly as much.

Chapter 8, We Say Goodbye To The Auzzies, and to the Oldie.

Sunday night was a sad night as 3 members of our FJM family were farewelled and to depart the next morning. We had a get together on the deck and sung some songs as well as performing a Kava ceremony (with Tang). Felix, Shaun and Nici will be dearly missed, and we wish them well in their future endeavors. WE LOVE YOU!

Ta Ta for now ;)

Find out more about the Fiji Marine Conservation & Diving project.

Thursday
Feb202014

Volunteer Blog: Shaun & Nici

Ola Amigos,

This week's blog will be less about Kim, we miss her, but we miss Cam more. Although they did provide us with a tasty pig. Since Nici and I could only be here for another week we get to ramble on.

A nice view of downtown Suva

First off some tales of debauchery from Suva, Kian successfully seduced a local,and was left waiting at the cinemas the next day. Lewis has progressed from lady boys to boys. Felix was distraught at his true love returning home. Also a goodbye to Celina. Whilst Jamie stayed out late dancing the Haka with Fijians. Alison farted on Calvin and then failed to climb her ladder. I was nice and innocent ;)

Brandon was yet again stood up, this time not at the airport, but outside a restaurant at valentines day....sorry Brandon.

Calvin here folks......Congratulations to Shaun who not only managed to pull a pretty Boston lady but then meet up with her the next night!

We finally got a new dog, Lucky, who’s favourite past time is attempting to eat the kittens.....we're rooting for you Lucky.

A special thanks to Clare who not only prevented our house from being destroyed but managed to clean up too. Although its nice and messy again now.

In diving news the new people have learnt all about fish, although they still make me hungry. There have been multiple shark sightings – mostly by Nici and Niki who managed to see the first ever black tip on Conch whilst snorkeling. … Then Cam saw it the next day.

Calvin has continued to complain about his illness, he really should man up.

Peace out folks,

Shaun & Nici

Find out more about the Fiji Marine Conservation & Diving project.