Saturday, January 24, 2015

Field Trip to the Aquarium?

Grumpy Puffer
Well, not really an aquarium, but we did see lots of fish and coral - all shapes, sizes, and color.
The elusive Doug Fish

We were invited to join in a tour of the Walt Smith facility here in Fiji and you know us, we can't resist a field trip!
Did we find Nemo?

The facility is in Lautoka on the island of Viti Levu and they farm and ship reef fish and coral to aquariums all over the world.

They also make their own "cultured" rock, which is quite the process.

Lots of color
Per our guide, they have their own divers on staff, plus contract with several villages on different islands.

Pretty bowl of fish
They are teaching the locals how to capture the fish and harvest the coral without harming the environment.

Love the blue starfish
The company has started a reef system 16 miles off the islands so that it remains untouched.

Beautiful coral
They transplant some of the coral that they harvest there hoping to make it self-sustaining (we hear those words a lot!).

It takes so long for coral to grow, can it keep up with how much they are taking off?  Plus, how do they keep the fish from disappearing?

We have seen so many countries selling off their fishing rights to foreigners or convincing the locals that they are only interesting in improving the environments, we are doubtful.
Like the Mangrove Restoration project in Vanua Levu where they are wiping out the mangroves to put in a marina and resort...

So think about that when you are buying stuff for your salt-water aquarium.

Of course, we could be wrong and this company is good for Fiji - really hope so.

All in all, it was a very interesting field trip - glad we went!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Celebrating the Holidays in Fiji!

This is our first holiday season (for a long time) that we haven't been surrounded by family.
Celebrating Christmas in Saweni Bay with Friends

I was a little worried we weren't going to survive, but we had such a wonderful time - surrounded by the Yachties and the locals!
I am on vacation!

Cheryl and Karen (s/v Interlude) rented a house in Saweni Bay and invited us to join in.

Plus, Bill and Natalia (s/v Island Bound).  The more the merrier I say!
The Christmas Rake!

The house was perfect.

4 air conditioned rooms (luxury), 3 bathrooms, and a big kitchen and living area.
Our makeshift Oven - it worked!

The only thing missing (besides all of you) was an oven, but the BBQ worked just fine!
Our Christmas Grinch!

Cheryl and Karen made Christmas very special. All the traditions, decorations, gifts, food... it was wonderful.

Wonderful Christmas dinner

Plus, Cheryl entertained us all by her interpretative reading of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  Loved it!

Our dinner had all the fixings - turkey, ham, chicken, dressing, borscht?, and lots of other wonderful things.

So much food, we invited the lovely ladies that worked at the resort to join us.

A wonderful Christmas was had by all!
New Year's balloons - ready to drop

We celebrated New Year's out at Musket Cove - one of our favorite places.
Our Musket Cove waitstaff - enjoying Reggae Night

And, they threw a helluva party!

Reggae was the theme and the Fiji Police Band had the place rocking.
New Year's Potluck

The Yachties organized a big potluck and invited everyone we could think of to join in.

With that much great food - why not?
Ready to ring in the New Year

So we socialized and danced the night away - even made it to 1:30am

Love fireworks on the water
Pretty good for a couple of old duffers!

We hope that your holiday celebrations were just as wonderful and that you were surrounded by all of your favorite people.

Now, like everyone, we are back to our regular schedule.

Working on our boat projects and enjoying life in Fiji.
Hope you all have a wonderful year!

Happy 2015 to everyone - hope it is the best yet!