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'Tis Humann Nature to Dive
Date: June 30 - July 14, 2001
Destination: Lomaiviti Triangle: Bligh - Namena - Gau
Special Guests: Paul Humann, Ned & Anna Deloach - authors, photographers, ecologists

Namena's glorious color.

Frustrated by the brief opportunities to explore Fiji's Finest Diving on a regular NAI'A jaunt? Paul Humann was too. One week was not close to enough, so he made his annual special NAI'A trips 10 days. But 10 days soon proved too few, so this year he joined us for a special 14-day excursion, vowing to finally nail the magnificent wide-angle coral reef scenes he has come to hold so dear - particularly those at his namesake site, Humann Nature, and it's pretty little sister bommie, Cat's Meow.

Passengers were treated to Paul's informative Pacific Reef slide show series as well as the fascinating animal-behavior insights of Paul's colleagues, Ned and Anna De Loach, who were back aboard NAI'A for the first time since their 1996 visit and still shooting video and photos with the enthusiasm of first-timers. Ned is currently recovering at home from a long list of extremely serious injuries sustained recently in a horrifying car accident. Anna made it out relatively unscathed but Ned survived only though expert emergency care and major surgery. Typically, he is calling himself "lucky" and celebrating life. Ned, we're all sending our "best fishes" and can't wait to see you back underwater again soon!

Anna Deloach at Cat's Meow.

Ravai's Wives turn on the macro heat.

Xenocarcinus in the strobelight at Ravai's Wives.

And the romance continued this trip with the Wakaya entrée by speedboat of two of our dearest friends, Brian Quinn and May Okihiro, joining the Fiji expedition, direct from their Hawaii wedding, for their honeymoon. Brian and Rob have been best buddies since high school days on Oahu. In fact, May was originally the "annoying little sister" of one of their teenage peers. Annoying, that is, until Brian re-discovered the beautiful and intelligent Doctor May Okihiro on a NAI'A trip to Lau during turtle nesting season in 1998. Sound like a cheap Mills & Boon novel? Don't worry, we have seriously considered a book chronicling the grand and adoring relationships that have begun, been consummated and produced offspring aboard our humble ship. That and, yes, that NAI'A recipe book you keep hassling us about!

Brian & May together at Thumbs.
Trevally schooling at North-Save-A-Tack.
Among the passengers on this trip were NAI'A third-timers, Larry Thompson and, from New York, David Da Costa and Francoise Giacalone. Also from the Big Apple came Ray Slyper and Mike Bryant. We are pleased to say that all are safe and in good spirits following September 11, despite being frighteningly close to the devastation. Maritime archaeologist, Margaret Cowin, had us wishing we had some shipwrecks to explore. Margaret proved adventurous on land too, following the NAI'A journey with a most ambitious road trip into the Viti Levu highlands and villages, seeing more of the "real Fiji" in four days than probably every other tourist in the entire country sees in several weeks. Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society photographer of the year, Tony Frank, extended his hard-earned NAI'A prize and brought along his nephew, Dave Frank (already a promising photographic talent) and club colleague Murray Kaufman. But the ladies, Carol Robinson and Barbara Mousel, were unbeaten in the dive log tally - Barbara staying under the longest right up to the last dive on day 14.

NAI'A divers may be familiar with Cat's Australian tradition of presenting "Sh#t Stirrer" and "Dummy Spitter" Awards at community gatherings. So when Jim Dalle Pazze, flooded his brand new digital camera on day two of his 14-day holiday, we thought we had a sure winner and placed our bets. Instead, Jim proved to be the "Best Sport" aboard and his dinnertime jokes and good humor lasted right through our final evening when he treated us to this fine poetry reading:
Barabara talks to triggerfish.
Ode to NAI'A
By Jim Dalle Pazze

The crew of the NAI'A's the best
So good, I've forgot all the rest
To suggest that you go
With others below
Is surely and simply to jest

Skiff drivers named Bale and Mo
Will take you where you want to go
Whether corals or fish
The diving's pure bliss
Fiji's reefs are their private show

Manasa's a cook without peer
Fine dining is what you'll find here
He cooks a great meal
NAI'A's quite a good deal
Even worth it without scuba gear

Suliana and Sereana are lovely
They'll make your life calm and unharried
You'll wish they'd be near
For year after year
Too bad if you're already married

Rusi's a dive guide supreme
Every dive that he leads is a dream
Has a voice of pure gold
Finds dive treasures untold
He'll show you the whole Fiji scene

There is a fine diver named Cat
The NAI'A is where she dives at
She's hooked up with Rob
He does a good job
But I'm staying incase there's a spat

There is a sea captain named Rob
He is the Aussie's heartthrob
Calm seas or waves crashing
Our two weeks have been smashing
You have done a fabulous job

There is a dive boat called the NAI'A
In ratings there's no ship that's higher
I'd just like to say
I wish I could stay
And to others: you really should try her.
Poet Jim Dalle Pazze.

Isa Lei on the top deck.


Our best trip ever - we will be back.
Ray Slyper, New York

Ray braves the currents at Thumbs.
Paul Humann rocks out to the Kava Quintet.

Fifth time, oh so fine! Humann Nature is still good. Best wide angle EVER!
Paul Humann, Florida

The NAI'A experience is more than the sum of its parts. From sunrise to starry nights, the days are filled with beauty. The first spotting of a never-before-seen creature, the succession of gourmet meals, the generosity of the crew, laughter with new friends, two perfect rainbows and, for us, at the end, the happy news of engagement. NAI'A is an altogether amazing deal - I loved every minute.
Margaret Cowin, Ohio

Absolutely superb.
Larry Thmpson, California

Four seasons in one day.

Margaret gets a cleaner shrimp once over.