Return to NAI'A

Two Birthdays, A Wedding and A Funeral
Date: May 1-11, 2004
Bligh Triangle, Fiji
Returning Passengers:
Steve Webster, Bruce & Amara Thayer, Todd Ruston, Julie Veitch, Roger Luckenbach, Bob Rorden

"Do you, Bruce, promise to take out the trash for the next 50 years?" Captain Johnathan reads out the quirky vows for Bruce & Amara Thayer.

Steve Webster came back for his fifth visit and brought with him 17 friends and colleagues from the Monterey Bay Aquarium for 10 days of celebrations, education, and Bligh Water goodness. Carol Davis became the undisputed baby moray queen, while husband Jeff battled ear problems to become the number one manta spotter for the trip. Rita Petersen got stuck into the world of digital photography with an arsenal of cameras, and gave life to a coconut called Wilson. Mary Martha Waltz more than tripled her total number of dives, starting with just 10. Despite losing his custom-made fin at Cat's Meow, Bob Rorden battled on diving and shooting photos while son Paul become the envy of us all with his mastery of the power-nap. Powerbook buddies Todd Ruston & Julie Veitch entertained us with a digital slide show of their finest shots, while Mark Vignola and Lisa Uttal helped out with coral and fish transects at GoMo.

Snorkelers Sue Pinchney, Dotty Weisheit and Dee Dannemiller.   Divers Jeff and Carol Davis.

In a feat of planning unmatched anywhere in the world, we managed to organize snorkel locations that got better every single time. The NAI'A snorkel team led by the dynamo known as Dotty Weisheit, and accompanied by Dee Dannemiller, Sue Pinckney and William Ponder returned from each session remarkably claiming it was the "Best Ever".

Topside, every and any occasion was an excuse for Roger Luckenbach to get jiggy, be it kava party, his birthday, the village visit, or just a pending dive (nice coconuts...). The celebrations just kept on coming with Amara Thayer celebrating her birthday, too, followed by a surprise renewal of vows with husband Bruce in a wonderful Fijian service performed by Captain Johnathan, Chief Officer Jioji, Bosun Mo, and Steve Webster.

On a sad note, our dear companion Wilson (the coconut) did not survive the trip ten days of late night cabin visits just got the better of him. He was buried at sea in a moving service performed by Steve Webster, and attended by all of his friends and lovers. R.I.P.

Monterey Bay Acquarium's Mark Vignola, Steve Webster, Todd Ruston, Julie Veitch, Roger Luckenbach and Lisa Uttal.



Once again a great experience. All superb -- great cruise directors, great dive sites, great food, delightful crew. (But can't you do something about those tides?) See you all again for the New Year's trip.
Steve Webster, Carmel Valley CA

You have definitely spoiled me for diving with any other group but yours the NAI'A guess I'll just become a NAI'A "groupie"! Everything and everyone sheer perfection.
Mary Martha Waltz, Carmel CA

Don't change anything!!
William Ponder, Aptos CA

Very friendly and welcoming crew -- they all know your name. Josh and Liz were very knowledgable.
Paul Rorden, Los Altos CA

The dive guides were very effective at pointing out critters.
Todd Ruston, Salinas CA

Vinaka vaka levu to all the marvelous staff -- it was a memorable experience. The welcome feeling, the camaraderie among crew and guests - it was The Best! I'll miss you!
Dotty Weisheit, Monterey CA

NAI’A crew thanks for a wonderful re-introduction to Fiji. I appreciate your crew's mellow demeanor and friendly style. Keep watch over all the opercula for me.
Lisa Utall, Santa Cruz CA

Vinaka to all the crew aboard the NAI'A. You are the best. The trip was the best. The diving was the best. It was the BEST EVER. Many, many thanks.
Julie Veitch, Carmel CA

Thanks much for all the great diving. See you next time.
Mark Vignola, Durham, NC

Wonderful warmth and hard work of the crew. Richard's joy in the water was infectious. Josh & Liz are great additions.
Roger Luckenbach, Carmel Valley CA

Thank you all so very much for making this such a fantastic trip. Your smiles each day made my day, also the water, fish, food, etc, haha. I hope to be aboard again.
Rita Peterson, Monterey CA

Our NAI'A Fijian wedding was such a great party! We couldn't have improved on the ceremony, the guests, the setting, the crew band, or the kava. Bubbles forever.
Amara & Bruce Thayer, Iowa City, IA

All was terrific - great people, great food, great treatment from beginning to end. The diving compares very well to my best experiences on other liveaboards. We cannot think of anything that could have been done to make it better. We were left speechless by the sights and sounds of Fiji.
Jeff & Carol Davis, Los Altos Hills CA

Suli, Richard, Peni and everyone else: thank you for Roger's birthday celebration. We hope to come to Fiji again soon.
Sue Pinckney, Carmel Valley CA

Thank you for a lovely adventure. I would not want to change a thing. The beautiful country and underwater sights are unforgettable, and especially the crew of the NAI'A -- beautiful people, beautiful ship.
Dee Dannemiller, Salinas CA


William Ponder in one of his trademark party shirts.


Roger Luckenbach just being his shy, quiet self.

Paul Rorden with his father, Bob.

Rita Peterson downs the kava..

Mary Martha Waltz.

Steve Webster.

Oi, get your hands off my birthday cake!

Wilson, after one too many.


Roger's birthday.