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.

Wednesday
Feb122014

Volunteer Blog: Kim Guthrie

Morning Angel.

As it is Kim's last week, this blog is being written by Kim, about Kim, in memory of Kim. Calvin helped. On a side not of Kim though, we would like to give a very warm welcome to the new volunteers - Kian, Shaun, Niki, Alison and Jamie. Also welcome to new staff members Claire and Nici. Bula. And congratulations to the new divers who are now advanced open water divers! Well done you are now an average diver!

A nice reef shark

It has been shark city this week with Kim and Felix surveying their first white tips. Kim obviously winning having survied 4 and Felix losing with a measly 3. As always Kim wins again. Calvin helped again.
Back to Kim, she has been the most wonderful, helpful, lovely, bootiful volunteer this project had ever seen. Oh yeah forgot to mention Cam is leaving too...bye Cam, you were alright i guess. Kim though, she is wonderful (again) and she will never be forgotten.

As we have a new fabulous oven, Kim (no surprise there) made delicious pizzas and garlic bread both almost as good as Kim herself and thats pretty damn fine.

Since Kim leaves this thursday, she thought of the brilliant idea of buying a pig so Mala can kill it and we can eat it. Pig pig pig. We never get meat so a pig is EXCITING. We welcome Pumba the Third with open arms. You can be a big pig too - OI!

When thursday comes it will be a sad day for everyone as Kim leaves (and Cam) but it will be celebrated in proper style with a trip to Suva (Suva Suva) for one last night out. See you in Suva.

Isa Lei
Stay classy.
Kim out

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

Wednesday
Feb122014

Volunteer Blog: Brandon Burda

The last two weeks have interesting to say the least, last Friday on the 31st we sadly had to say goodbye to Emma our ARO who aided in many parts of our day to day lives here at camp, as well as offering a great sense of humor and light heartedness. We also had to say goodbye to our volunteer Cara, who spent 4 weeks here with us at the Frontier Fiji Marine Project. They will both be missed by all those on camp. With their departures though, we also have had six new arrivals, Claire our new dive officer, and our new volunteers Shaun, Kian, Nicky, Alison and Jamie, who over the next few days and weeks will be finishing up their scuba diving certifications and learning all their indictor and fish families. We will soon be welcoming Nicky a new RO onto base, we would like to on the behalf of every one on here wish them welcome and hope that they enjoy their time with us . With the new arrivals with great fanfare we at camp have acquired our very own camp oven, which was christened by the backing of our first loaf of bread for Kris’ birthday celebration Thursday night.

Kris and the new oven

Due to weather conditions we were unable to dive as much as we would have hoped for our last week of January, leading to many shenanigans and hi-jinx at camp. Of note being Calvin, surprising everyone by shaving his head, and Lewis through his use of the machete gaining a face full of coconut water and mush. Along with the hijinks with the extra time we were able to learn and practice some traditional Fijian cuisine, such that these January showers have brought February donuts, a new camp favorite. Our menu now also includes a special coconut rice, which involves the soaking and removal of coconut meat.

All in all its been a productive few weeks here at Frontier’s Fiji Marine camp, and we look forward to all that February has to offer.

-          This Blog post in written in honour of our deceased puppy Damsel aka “Gooaaaatt”, she will be dearly missed.

By Brandon Burda, marine volunteer

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

Wednesday
Feb122014

ARO Blog: Cameron Hookey

The 'pool'

4.2.14 Wuh-oh, we got hit with the bug. The best thing about living in a small field camp is that you are surrounded by people all the time. The worst thing is that you are literally surrounded by people all the time. Once one person gets a cough, a headache, or a pungent smell, everyone else soon falls with them. This last week was a little bit of a slow one, as everyone was taking turns missing dives because of sickness. But the good news is that everyone is feeling better!

This blog is being written in anxious anticipation of the new volunteers, who will be arriving this afternoon on the community boat. Fresh meat. It also means the next week will be busy with training and orientation, and we will once again work hard to get everyone survey ready ASAP.

Last Friday was a sad day for us, as we said goodbye to long term ARO Emma, and RA Cara. There were tears shed, hugs shared, and left over belongings shot-gunned. Kim got another bikini to add to her collection (thanks Cara)- she has managed to not wear a bikini that actually belongs to her in the last four days.

The weather has been beautiful for those of us hanging on the island this weekend. Mala the handiest of handymen has completed a brand new septic tank, which everyone will be very thankful for. The bathroom is actually located IN the house- how modern! Unfortunately the septic tank took the place of our pool. This was intentional and timely, as a recent outbreak of Dengue Fever in Fiji has led us to take extra precautions. And let’s be honest, after the pool became a hangout for the local frog gang, no one ventured in.

Should be lots to update for next week, as we are all excited about seeing some new faces, and beating them all in the cards games we have become professionals at. Over and out!

The chickens

11.2.14 This was the first week we heard talk of missing the cold. Only for a brief second mind you, but the thought was there. Somedays it feels like your sweat is actually sweating. But then you are hit by a cool tropical breeze and are transported once again into paradise mode.  

This week we welcome 5 new volunteers and two new staff members. This addition also means we now have a resident dive officer, and will be able to conduct diving courses in our own backyard.  Just this week we have had lots of fun finishing up some open water and advanced diver certifications, and today got started on some new Rescue Divers. The location of perfect- we can practice rescue situations without having to explain to other divers and other boats that the “unresponsive” diver is in fact Felix, and perfectly fine.

This new group of volunteers (Shaun, Jaime, Nici, Kian, and Alison) are fast learners, having learned all of their indicator species in two days. Could be the case that we will have some survey-ready volunteers on our hands sooner than we expected. When we have not been training up the new volunteers or giving lectures, there has been some great volleyball matches in the works. Even the locals came up for a game or two, and showed us how bad we actually were.

The farm is doing well. Chickens have been let free for the time being until Navua gets in another shipment of chicken feed, the pigs continue to wreak havoc and get loose, and the kittens sleep all day and annoy us all night. Once again with a new group of volunteers, all the animals are getting love and attention, and in turn providing a small comfort of home to everyone.

This weekend we will say goodbye to a few new friends, and quite a few of the crew are heading over to Suva to “eat good food and watch movies”.  It  will be a nice break before the survey work begins.

By Cameroon Hookey, Marine ARO

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