3,2,1, GO! … Splash.
3,2,1, GO! … Splash.
That’s it, my last dive just started.
While living on a small island called Caqalai for four weeks I have learned a lot and experienced things I could never imagined.
So while enjoying this last dive in the astonishing underwater world of Fiji, I recap my last couple of weeks, and came up with seven things that I experienced, learned or noticed while living in the middle of nowhere.
Sharks! Bull sharks, white tip reef shark, lemon sharks and nurse sharks. I was able to dive with them all and it was an experience I will never forget. Movies made sharks look like some crazy killing machines, but they aren’t anything like what’s shown. They swim in such a majestic way and are unbelievably beautiful.
- Mealtimes. Yes cooking takes time, yes there is a lot of cleaning afterwards. Yes it doesn’t always turns out just the way you want it, but after four weeks of freshly made meals I know that it doesn’t only taste much better but it is also way healthier than fast food.
- Teaching. I was able to go to Uluibau primary school three times and teach class 3 and 4. Not only was it quite interesting to be the teacher for once, but I also noticed that the kids don’t need the newest phone to be happy. Spending time with young Fijian children and talking about sharks or the mangroves they have just outside the village doesn’t only benefit my life but theirs as well.
- Nature is amazing! There so many things we haven’t discovered yet still we already have such a lot of phenomena that we are able to experience all over the world. Just like I had the luck to see bioluminescent plankton one evening. While softly walking in the water the plankton around your feet lights up for a couple of seconds before going dark again. Seeing the shining plankton and diving with sharks are two things I can tick off my bucket list after leaving Caqalai.
- With an average of two dives a day, I’ve spent a lot of time in the water. But sadly it hasn’t only been natural wonders I’ve seen, but also a lot of human trash: glass and plastic bottles, batteries, tins and soda cans and much more. That’s why we have joined ‘Project Aware’ and have had dive against debris every week and beach cleans twice a month. Where we collect the trash we find (only if there aren’t any organisms living on it), write down the amount and weigh everything found and separate the waste. Considering we are covering only a small area, you might say that we don’t make a big difference but looking at the total weight of trash we collected in (this year 511.90kg from the beach cleans and 50.65kg diving) you see that it does make a difference. I’ve learnt that I don’t need a new plastic bag every time I go shopping, but most importantly I learnt that it is important to separate our waste in the best way possible to either recycle or upcycle as much as possible.
- Take a step back, put down your phone and relax. After adapting to a lifestyle where you don’t have electricity during the day I noticed that I don’t even need it. Now each day I will take time off from my phone, tv, computer or anything like that and I will just relax, let my thoughts drift or even get bored.
- With about twenty five people on our base, we all come from different countries, backgrounds and age groups, but we still get along with each other so well that you can easily forget that. I was able to learn so much from the other volunteers, the interns and staff members, that I wouldn’t trade this experience with anything. Because in the end it doesn’t matter who you have known the longest, but with whom you shared the best memories.
As we ascend to the surface, I take one last look around at the fish, the corals and the other divers and just feel grateful for the opportunity to help with marine conservation in Fiji, Caqalai
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