Saturday, December 27, 2014

Diving, Gizo, Solomon Islands

A typical dive boat in Gizo-
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When bread fruit is really ripe, it's soft and turns yellow. You peel off the skin and eat it. If I were to eat this one now, I would peel it, slice it and bake it or fry it in a pan because it's not quite ripe.  It tastes and looks like dough-
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Dives 1 and 2 were sort of disappointing! In 2007, a tsunami went through wiping out most of the coral. It's slowly making a comeback. We did see a very large school of 3 to 4 foot barracuda and a huge parrot fish - you know them because they have a hump that looks like a parrot's beak on their head. We also saw numerous schools of fish, a turtle, an eagle ray, a couple sting rays and a new coral for me - it looks dark green but that means its red (the light changes the colour). It was very nice. I think I've been spoiled with Sail Rock, Thailand and Bali! I hate to complain - I'm diving, not shovelling snow!
Lunch was on a secluded island-

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 prepared for us by the dive masters while we enjoyed the beach and bathtub temperature water-
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We had a bbq of dolphin fish -mahi mahi, that they cooked on this grate, squash wedges (but they call it pumpkin), rice and fruit- watermelon, cucumber and pineapple, all served on a kerosene leaf-
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Tonight is New Year's Eve. Lots of people are heading to Kennedy Island for drinking, a bbq and a bonfire. I'm spending the evening updating my blog and listening to a local band-
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who are playing a lot of songs I don't know!  Happy New Year everyone!  I hope 2015 is a healthy and fun year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Gizo, Solomon Islands

This morning was a big fly day from Cairns, to Brisbane, to Honiara, to Gizo.
From the capital, Honiara, I came on this plane-
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The Nusatupe Airport is pretty laid back!
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I'm glad the pilot knew what he was doing because the plane did not have pontoons!
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Upon arriving in Gizo-
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I was greeted with a lei and a coconut filled with coconut water. It was very refreshing considering it felt like 1000 degrees with 100% humidity. I was dripping!
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I came here to dive, so now have that sorted using the services of Dive Gizo-
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Gizo is a pretty laid back, poor appearing place. This is main street-
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and a typical shop-
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The P.T. 109 restaurant is supposed to be the best in town! It's not much to look at!
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I had a delicious salad with vegetables and grilled fish for $7.60 Canadian at The Waterfront. This was the view from my table-
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The market is a typical market, however, the prices are displayed. I like that because usually prices are instantly inflated when they know you're a tourist-
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These hand woven baskets are pretty cool and cheap!
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They are still using betel! I thought I'd gotten away from that! The lime like fruit contains the betel nut and the bean like plant is cut into chunks and also chewed. Red spit is everywhere!
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Looking forward to 4 days of diving!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Cairns, Australia

I am in Cairns to do a 4 day, 3 night live-aboard with Deep Sea Divers. We boarded Sea Quest, a transfer boat, in the Cairns harbour-
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and after 90 minutes we were diving at Plato.
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My second and third dives were in the Norman Reef at Turtle Bay and Sandra's.
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I also did a night dive at Sandra's. I had a high powered torch and saw lots of eyes, sharks and Giant Trevally. The G.Ts are fun because you can watch them eat other fish If you shine your light on smaller fish, they can see them and 'chomp'!
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I didn't really enjoy the night dive so I'm not doing anymore for the time being.
Today I did 5 dives! Diving was a pretty cool way to spend Christmas!
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Instead of turkey for supper, we had fish and prawns!
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Day 2 on the Great Barrier Reef found us still at Sandra's in the Norman Reef.
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The dive schedule started early with a 6:00 orientation, then a 6:30-7:30 dive. Breakfast was from 8:00-9:00, then Dive 2 from 9:00-10:00, Dive 3 from 11:00-12:00, lunch at 12:30 and then we finally get a break! You would think we were at work or something! Sea Quest arrives with transfers so Dive 4 isn't until 2:30-3:30. Dive 5, the night dive, is after supper from 7:30 - 8:30.
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After the first dive, the rest of the day was at Saxon's Reef diving Coral Gardens.
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Lots of divers have GoPros so it is thanks to them for these pictures. They really don't do justice to what we see. It's a million times more beautiful! Today I did 4 dives!
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Day 3 started out back at Norman's Reef, but this time diving Nora. Dive 2 and 3 were also at Norman's but this time at Caves. I felt very dizzy this afternoon so that's all the diviing I did today. I think it was because after Dive 1, when we surfaced, we were a long, long way from the boat, so the swim took a lot out of me.
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Day 4 we moved again, still at Norman's Reef but diving Playground and Troppos. For my second dive, I went in a dinghy, hoping to find a strong current for a drift dive, but unfortunately once we descended, there was little to no current so it was just a 'normal' dive!
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This is a typical dive site map.  We always had a briefing before a dive and for $15 we could go with a guide.  I just tagged along with an experienced diver who had a way better sense of direction under water than me!
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The equipment  was well organized and maintained-
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Thanks to Shelley Canham for the following pictures.  I actually saw ALL of this!  Too cool!
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Sharks-
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A purple anemone, where Nemo hangs out-
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Turtles!
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These sea sponges lay everywhere-
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A stingray-
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When you wave your hand over this, these things disappear into the coral-
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A clam that also closes when agitated-
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Soft coral-
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An eel-
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I enjoyed my experience on the live-aboard. It's a really good chance to do lots of diving and the crew was excellent. One thing I might do if I came back was to be a 'hostie'. They work on the boat and get 2 dives/day for free! That might be something to do for a few days!

Marrakech to Kaouki Beach, Morocco, November 16, 2018

We only had 190 kilometers to go today so we doddled:  we stopped for coffee, washed the truck- or had a couple of guys wash it,  tried to g...