We have now been on camp Nukubalavu over 3 weeks but it already feels like home to all the volunteers. Especially now, writing this looking out over the ocean we can’t think of being anywhere else! Everyone has completed and passed their PADI Openwater and Advanced dive training which has definitely made us better and cooler people (as the PADI videos and our dive instructor, Chad said it would).
We have started to explore different dive sites now that we are trained. 3 of us lost our ‘shark virginities’ on Friday when we saw a white tip reef shark for the first time! Amongst many amazing underwater creatures we have seen; turtles, barracuda, huge lobsters, giant moray eels and even jumped off the boat to join a pod of dolphins!
When we are not in the water we spend time with Hannah the chief scientist who teaches us all about the ocean, coral reefs, creatures who live in and around them and the threats which the ocean faces. We have all passed our benthic exams and are making progress learning all the fish and inverts so that we will be able to take part in coral reef surveys.
On Sundays we go to local villages. We have been to Navatu twice, which is the village on the same island as us and is where we have a host family each. In Navatu we join the locals and attend a church service followed by lots of incredible hospitality from our families who feed us extremely well! Last Sunday we visited a small village called Ravi Ravi where we tried the famous Fijian national drink of Kava (the taste received mixed reviews from us all).
Life on camp manages to be both jam-packed with diving and learning as well as fun and relaxing when we have free time to snorkel over the house reef. However, the beautiful things to see are not only in the water, we have walked around to different coves and beaches exploring and on clear night you are guaranteed a few shooting stars. We have tried to get adventurous with the cooking but can’t seem to stay away from our favorites of pancakes and potato wedges.
We always look forward to Friday night – party night. This week we are particularly excited as we are having a Halloween theme as well as celebrating one of the volunteers 19th birthday!
Every day is different on camp Nukubalavu, you never know what you might see. And we can’t wait to discover what our next dives have in store for us!”
By Katie Cotterell and Rachel Richmond.