Seven Lazy Days

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Date: May 27 - June 3, 2006
Destination: Bligh Triangle, Fiji
Returning Passengers: Sharon Wada, Jeff Kelly & Pat Chock

Gau Island .
Pink anemonefish.
John Unzicker.


Another near-perfect seven days of weather, and with water temperatures cooling to 80F the corals seem to have dodged a bleaching bullet and survived another year. All is looking good underwater.

Sharon Wada returned for her second trip… partly for more of Fiji’s finest diving and kava, and partly to get the new D200 up and running before her NAI’A Tonga trip later this year. Not all went to plan camera-wise, but it was nothing some fresh water, duct tape and solder couldn’t fix once in the hands of some tinkerers and engineers.  Along with ‘Shazza’ were a couple of her mates, Jan Culbertson and Dan Ford. Jan was almost ready to leave her boyfriend for a male dragonet, and was kind enough to let the crew beat the pants off her in a cribbage battle – helped along with kind words and encouragement from Dan.


Grey reef shark.
Semicircle angelfish.
The gang.
Malabar grouper.


Jeff Kelly and Pat Chock were on their third NAI’A adventure, this time with new digital rigs and in search of the elusive Hairy aka Rufus aka Irish Setter ghost pipefish – success on the last day thanks to Eagle-Eye Eddie.

Not quite ready for the leap to the digital world, Viv Matson-Larkin persevered with her RS. Viv had a critter spotter on staff – Bill Brogan – searching for another flatworm to get his name, or maybe a nudibranch this time.

The former IBM three amigos Chris Bajorek, Bob Scranton and Dave Thompson were an entertaining source of banter. Chris unveiled his true identity as a 007, or something like that. Bob kept up the backward wetsuit routine rather than admit his error. And Dave got to practice his engineering skills, and became Sharon’s third savior.


Chris Bajorek, Bob Scranton, Dave Thompson.
Spider crab.
Michael and Ellen Rierson.
Irwin & Barbara Beitch.


Another team of three were old buddies Mike and Sherrie Mader and John Unzicker. Mike and Sherrie never missed a dive, Sherrie busting the 350 mark, and John split his time between diving and immersing himself in all things Fijian: kava, rugby and singing.

Ellen Rierson developed a near pathological fixation with anemonefish and, assisted by her sympathetic husband Michael (holding on to his dear wife for dear life in stiff currents), managed some beauties for the end of trip slideshow.

Irwin and Barbara Beitch put their collective scientific brains to work puzzling over the hydrostatic maintenance systems of octocorals and other wonders of the reef. Barbara kept on spotting and Irwin kept on shooting – even if he couldn’t see what was supposed to be in front of the lens.



Pat Chock, Jeff Kelly, Sherrie & Mike Mader.
Sharon Wada at Mellow Yellow.
Dusk divers.



Kapai! The crew makes this trip even more memorable. Never-ending smiles greet you at every turn. The underwater world always has something new to photograph. I’ve seen some unique creatures endemic to Fiji that will ‘make’ my slideshow presentation to the Western Australian Underwater Photographic Society (WAUPS) even more interesting. Haere ra.
Viv Matson-Larkin, Perth, Australia


Viv Matson-Larkin & Bill Brogan.
Mimic fangblenny.


The diving was great, but it’s the crew that makes this trip!! Thank you! You are the best. All my best, and fair winds.
John Unzicker, Rolling Meadows IL

Thanks for a great week of diving… this is a great crew and a great trip. Now if they could just learn to play cribbage…
Jan Culbertson, Seattle WA


Sherrie Mader.


Thank you NAI’A crew, for making our week with you special and memorable. We will recommend the NAI’A highly to our dive friends and give a 5-star report to “Divers Speak Out” (and to our travel agent). Diverse reefs, healthy corals, lots of cool underwater critters and fishes.
Barbara & Irwin Beitch, Cheshire CT

Vinaka, Vinaka! Absolutely wonderful crew and great time. Wonderful life memory.
Michael & Ellen, Reston VA


Bob Scranton.


Another incredible week in Bligh Water with the best crew. The quality of service and friendliness is unmatched. Coming back to Fiji and the NAI’A is like coming home. Glad to see that Nigali Passage, Cat’s Meow, Mellow Yellow, and Maytag are still in beautiful shape. Look forward to seeing you in Tonga. Vinaka vaka levu.
Sharon Wada, Snohomish WA


The ship and the skiff.


Dan Ford.
Scribbled filefish.
Jan Culbertson.
Fire dartfish.
Sharon Wada learns some local dance moves.
"Chinese dragon" nudibranch.