Blue Ribbons All Round

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Date: June 11-18, 2005
Destination: Bligh Triangle, Fiji
Returning Passengers: Harlan Cohen, Betty Kasson, Linda Farley

The group at Gau Island after visiting Somosomo Village.

After an enormous expedition to the Phoenix Islands for the ship and crew, NAI'A cruised again this week in her home waters of Fiji. While away from home for five weeks, the winter water temperature dipped to a "bone chilling" 79F, bringing the slightly heat-stressed corals and anemones back to their fantastically healthy and colourful selves. Some of our little ones are growing up too: the young ribbon eel at Magic Mushrooms that was black on the last visit has undergone the "big change" and is as blue as his mates at Anthias Avenue and Tetons -- all of which are back in their homes after disappearing on some mysterious eel mission during recent trips. Heavily targeted they all were too, with the Kovaz boys (Chris and David) leading the photo/video charge. Blaise showed his sons how it's done with his video rig -- tried and tested on plenty of other liveaboard adventures, and supplying our group with a steady supply of evening screenings. Chris managed some great shots and the instant gratification that only digital can provide, while David, onboard to celebrate his recent graduation, blasted away with his mighty Nik V. Also using the old skool medium, and alternating with a digital rig, was Jay Burreson; he snapped enough winners for an excellent last night slide show.

Blue ribbon eel at Tetons, Namena. Photo: Chris Kovaz.

Harlan Cohen, on his fourth NAI'A journey, seemed impervious to the winter water, breaking down only once to slip into a wetsuit. Henrik (or perhaps "Hendrix" might be better?) Högberg, all the way from Sweden, showed the NAI'A boys a thing or two on the guitar ... solid praise to ya, mate. Michelle Martin barely missed a dive, took heaps of photos, and even managed time to ace a nitrox course. Also working her way through the course was Leigh Page, in Fiji on her first liveaboard experience. Good friend Betty Kasson showed her the ropes, and the pair of them danced up a storm at Somosomo Village.

Fiji tomato anemonefish.
Photo: Michelle Martin
Blue-and-gold fusiliers at Maytag.
Photo: Chris Kovaz.
Remora. Photo: Chris Kovaz.


The fourth trip on the NAI'A was even better than those before. NAI'A and her crew never fail to do a superlative job ... even the divemasters can cook! A wonderful and memorable week. Blessings and many thanks,
Betty Kasson, California

My first liveaboard and I am forever spoiled. I'll take home with me memories to last a lifetime. The crew was incredible, the food outstanding, the diving amazing. Bravo! See you next year in Tonga.
Leigh Page, California

Leigh Page and Betty Kasson on NAI'A's sundeck.

Thanks to all of the crew of the NAI'A for a great trip and a great graduation present for my son, David. Special thanks to Josh for instructing us on the proper use of the term "b****r".
Blaise Kovaz, Florida

An amazing adventure. Josh and Liz were amazing with the amount of energy, the crew were great as well, laid back and genuine caring. And the diving was righteous. Loved the blue ribbon eels.
Chris Kovaz, Florida

Brothers Chris and David Kovoz.

Wonderful boat, fabulous crew! Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, diving was superb, crew was expert and knowledgeable! I especially loved the camera room! Thank you all, but especially Liz, Josh, Richie, Sereana and Suli – you made this week a delight!
Michelle Martin, California

Great crew and cruise directors. Excellent quality of dive sites.
Henrik Högberg, Sweden

Henrik Högberg at Somosomo Village.

Thanks for all the wonderful help from all the crew. Vinaka vaka levu, you guys are the greatest. I’ve been on several liveaboards, but you guys made it the most fun. The food was great, and Liz and Richie were the best guides.
Jay Burreson, Fiji

Great trip, outstandingly nice weather, no currents... Se you next time.
Harlan Cohen, New York

Blaise Kovaz climbs the mast.
Regal angelfish. Photo: Chris Kovaz.
Kids at Somosomo village.
Javanese moray eel. Photo: Chris Kovaz.
Michelle Martin at the kava party.
Harlan Cohen and a bowl of kava.
Octopus. Photo: Michelle Martin.
Jay Burreson in the camera room.
Richie up to his usual tricks. Photo: Chris Kovaz.