First Trip After Refit

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Date: February 19-26, 2005
Destination: Bligh Triangle, Fiji
Returning Passengers: Raylene Canby and Randy Peterson

Fiji seascape. Photo: Adrian Smith.

The first trip in 2005 saw the old girl full to the brim with new faces, a new-look salon, and an ensuite for the lucky Cabin 10 inhabitants. After our 6-week refit, the dive sites are looking as great as ever with all our old friends still waiting to be photographed (and fed) and plenty of new juveniles just begging to be chased with a video camera.

Randy Peterson and Raylene Canby joined us for their second NAI’A adventure, and rated this even better than the first! Arnie Riesen with his trusty Nik V and his heirem of spotters (wife Fran and their regular travel buddy Kim Morris) blasted away at anything that moved – and plenty of critters that didn’t. Scott and Samia Foster, armed with video and digital stills camera respectively, kept the onboard wrasse expert on his toes and ensured that every nudibranch in Fiji got its daily dose of strobe light.

Longtime friends Fran Riesen, Kim Morris and Arnie Riesen at Somosomo Village.

Trout cod hiding in soft coral. Photo: Samia Foster.
Honeymooners Deanna and Adrian Smith.
Longnose hawkfish. Photo: Samia Foster

Travel agent Sara Ching Leonard came to do some on-site research and made work look a lot like a dive holiday. Michael Shwayder tried his hand at underwater video with great success – an extreme close-up of a banded sea snake (or was it a krait?), among other things. Son Mark made short work of the PADI nitrox course and celebrated with the boys – guitar in hand - around the kava bowl.


Michael and Mark Shwayder.
Jim Bruce and Dianne Martin.

Scott and Samia Foster.

Eric Leurtzing kept the boys up late with plenty of night dives, while wife Jackie sensibly kept diving strictly a daytime affair and celebrated her 29th birthday – Fiji style. Dianne Martin and Jim Bruce overcame early gear problems and enjoyed the tropical heat – a far cry from the snow they have to go home to. Bob Ray found time in between dives to translate his favourite Fijian tunes, while wife Audrey proved herself to be one of the toughest divers in the business surviving tanks and triggerfish with an icepack, a smile, and another dive to soak the bumps, bites and bruises away.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a tropical island cruise without a couple of honeymooners. Adrian Smith and Deanna Sandusky filled the bill on Part One of their post-wedding holiday – a lovely couple and we wish them all the best.


Fiji seascape. Photo: Adrian Smith.

Bob and Audrey Ray at the kava party.

Ragged-fin lionfish. Photo: Samia Foster.



Absolutely wonderful trip – even better than the first time. Many thanks for your gracious hospitality and sharing your ocean knowledge.
Raylene Canby and Randy Petersen, Kirkland WA

Thanks for a fabulous trip. You all made us feel welcome. Loved the diving, food, and music. Josh and Liz, we wish you the best.
Audrey and Bob Ray, Tuscon AZ

Thanks for a fantastic week of diving and friendship. What a wonderful getaway! We appreciate your hard work as well as your fun time – thanks!
Scott & Samia Foster, Davis CA

The warmth and comradarie of all the crew made this an outstanding and very special time.
Michael and Mark Shwayder, Manhattan Beach CA

Loved the diving, crew, boat, and food!! We will be back!!
Arnie & Fran Riesen, San Anselmo CA

To the NAIA crew – you are the BEST. You made our cruise special. The diving was beautiful! Many thanks.
Kim Morris, Santa Rosa CA

Thanks for sharing your land, water and people with us. You have made our time here very special. To share a beautiful time with beautiful people is what life is all about.
Jim Bruce & Dianne Martin, Calgary, Canada

Birthday girl Jackie Leurtzing.
Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish. Photo: Adrian Smith.
Sara Ching Leonard.
Pink anemonefish. Photo: Samia Foster.
False eye nudibranchs. Photo: Samia Foster.
Raylene Canby.
Dwarf hawkfish. Photo: Samia Foster.
Orangefin anemonefish. Photo: Samia Foster.
Randall's shrimp goby. Photo: Samia Foster.
NAI'A divemaster does an unusual safety stop at Kanasa. Photo: Adrian Smith.
Trumpetfish hiding in sinularia soft coral. Photo: Adrian Smith.
Eric Leurtzing.
Flabellina nudibranch. Photo: Samia Foster.
Blue ribbon eel. Photo: Samia Foster.