Murphy's Law. Definition: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
I'm so excited! Today is the first day of diving and today we're going to the dive site named "Boston Market". Dive sites are named by Nukubati's guests, so I guess the author of this moniker is from Massachusetts. I'm not sure how the name translates to the geography or biology underwater, but I'm guessing it has something to do with all the retail establishments in "Faneuil Hall"? Just a guess...
Well I've checked the "O" ring around the housing - it's got the grease around it to make sure it doesn't leak water - and all the batteries are in their place (4 batteries for the LCD screen, 1 battery for the videocamera, and 4 large batteries for the lights). I've attached the mount to the videocam with 4 screws and I'm bringing my point-and-click Olympus camera in case something goes wrong. It'll take 2 trips to carry all this equipment to the shore. This is crazy.
Departure is scheduled for 8:30, but there's just too much equipment for me to be ready on time. I'm making it to the boat at 9, more or less. Fiji time.
Well, we're finally on our way. Nukubati's dive operation consists of a relatively small boat with a bi-hull. It's nice and has shade. Two divers are joining me, Salote (the dive master) and Sena (a dive enthusiast). Sena's getting seasick and the water is truly flat. Poor girl.
We've arrived and it only took, maybe 15 minutes to get to the site. I'm taking the videocamera out of the housing to get a shot of the reef's waters, my comrades, as well as to register the GPS coordinates on the recording. The GPS coordinates read S 16° 18' 49", E 179° 00' 27" (for those following along, try and find the site on Google Earth). To record the scene, I put the videocamera's setting on STD - or standard light. It's a little windy, so the recording may be ruined by the wind noise. We'll see...
The dive site features soft corals, hard corals, fish and sharks. It's relatively shallow and it has no current (to speak of). I'm putting the videocamera back in the housing. It's now sealed. I'm pushing the button, and voila: it's on and ready to go.
With one large stride, I jump in. My first reaction: it's warm. Much better than diving in June and July. My computer reads 83° F. The large video apparatus is handed down to me. I release the air out of my BCD and start down into the aqua blue.
The reef has a sand bottom which is nicely reflecting the light. Corals are interspersed - the site is not packed tightly with corals. As a result, there are quite a few herbivores here (surgeonfish). Having snorkeled Hawaii 2 days prior - this place, by comparison, looks like mana from heaven. It is really beautiful.
The dive's now over - unfortunately. Upon getting myself settled on the boat, the captain hands me a towel and a sandalwood-infused washcloth to wipe the salt from my face. I'm beaming a smile wider than Julia Roberts. Salote hands me some biscuits/cookies, water, juice, and hot tea. I ask the crew, "This is all I am getting? Where's my 4 course breakfast!" They all laugh.
Now the moment of truth: I'm pulling the videocamera from the housing to see the footage. It's going to be spectacular. I'm pressing PLAY and ... it's, uhm, hmmm....
"Scott?" Salote asks, "what does it look like?"
"I've seen better." And that's an understatement. The colors are all off and it looks overexposed. What'd I do wrong? What's going on? I look at the setting and notice I forgot to switch the STD setting to LOW LUX (lower light setting). UGH!!!!!!!!!!! I'm a freaking moron!
I had handed my Olympus point-and-shoot to Salote and Sena as we started the dive. The only good memories will have to be from them. I open the camera's housing, take the camera out and review the camera's pictures under the glare of the tropical sun. "You know what?" The crew give me a quizzical look. "They're really good! Thank you!"
Anyway, despite my failure, there are highlights from the dive. I saw a very large reef lobster (antenna were approximately 3' or 1 meter long), an octopus, a black tip reef shark (very rare in Fiji), a nurse shark, white tip reef sharks, a moray eel, squid, angelfish, butterflyfish, a school of humphead parrotfish, etc., etc., etc. It's a really great dive, it's not challenging to novice divers, and it gives a great overview of Fiji's underwater riches, without the crazy current found in so many other places. This Great Sea Reef is really great.