A Travellerspoint blog

Mantaray Island - Day 5

Rise and shine its shark dive time!

We headed down to breakfast at about 8am, Louie tucked into his nice big brekky, whilst I sat sipping my orange juice with Jaws replaying in my head.

After a slow and shaky walk down to the dive shop, we grabbed our gear and boarded the dive boat.

It was a 40min boat ride to 'brown trousers' dive site and Joe used this time to show us some delightful pictures of the sharks we were likely to encounter. He also decided to tell us the story of when he punched an Oceanic shark a few days before after it swam into him at 40mph.
I was brimming with confidence.....

After a few encouraging words from Louie and Joe, I eventually got in the water and started the descent.
The coral and marine life was absolutely stunning and as soon as my head was beneath the waves, every fear I had of the sharks simply vanished.

We spotted our first shark about 5mins into the dive, it was a 2metre white tip reef shark. We then bumped into a few more white tips (not literally) and then a big chunky grey reef shark.
I was suprisingly calm when I saw the sharks, they weren't that interested in us, the only time they swam toward us was when Joe used his 'high tech shark attracting device' - an empty plastic bottle which you scrunch underwater to resemble the sound of sharks feeding.
There was one 'bum clenching' moment when a big black tip started to circle or group, but as he came closer he soon swam away - we obviously don't look as tasty as the fishies they eat.

Lesson Learnt:
1. Sharks are pussy's. You heard it here first!

Posted by charlieb22 01:04 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Mantaray Island - Day 4

Woke up about 8am, but unlike yesterday, we were relatively hangover free. I put this down to the 2 litre jug of water we saw off at the end of last night's Troll Game - a very wise decision!

We did two fantastic dives in the morning, we saw lots of new coral, more lionfish and huge schools of fish!
On the way back, we talked about how sad we were to be finishing our dive course the next day and jokingly mentioned "we could do our advanced course..." Joe overheard us discussing this and offered us our advanced course at a price we couldn't refuse.
Before we knew it, we were booked in for another 3 days of diving and living the life at Mantaray!

Although we had decided to stay, we had to say goodbye to a lot of friends that we'd met over the past few days (the worst bit of travelling).

That afternoon we were lucky enough to be taken out wake-skating by Joe and Justin. I actually just went along for the boat ride, pretty views and to laugh at Louie falling off - my balance on solid ground is ropey to say the least, let alone on water!
As wikipedia puts it "Wake-skate is the same as wake-boarding, minus the foot bindings, which adds it's own unique challenges..."
Joe and Justin were both amazing at it, not a suprise seeing as they were both brought up on the ocean. It was Louie's first time at trying anything like this and I've got to hand it to him, he was pretty good - he even had Joe and Justin impressed.... The well-balanced bastard!

That night, we laid off the alcohol, finished our open water theory and I started to get some serious butterflies about tomorrow's shark dive at the aptly named 'brown-trousers reef'!

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Posted by charlieb22 02:42 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Mantaray Island - Day 3

Woke up with the mother of all hangovers after the previous night's antics.
We missed breakfast, so went straight to the dive shop for our 9am dive. Joe didn't turn up as he was still too drunk to lead a dive, but he'd organised Andy to take the lead so off we went!

It was our first boat dive and we went to a dive site called 'the wall'. It was a great dive again - 30degree water, heaps of stuff to look at and the huge coral wall that stretched as far as the eye can see.
Things didn't stay that positive for long though. The first major thing we were about to learn about Scuba diving - it will magnify your hangover about 100times, something to do with your body getting rid of excess nitrogen.

  • MATH TIME* 

Hangover from hell + seasickness = lethal concoction that postpones 2nd dive.

  • MATH TIME OVER*

We spent the rest of the morning lazing on the beach and feeling sorry for ourselves.
Much later on in the afternoon Joe offered to take us paddle-boarding, as my hangover was starting to wear off (Charlie's wasn't, she was still in a crater sized hole) I decided it would be rude not to!

We had dinner again with Justin, Joe, Colin & June. We got to hear some of the fantastic sailing stories Colin and June have had aboard their 40ft turkish boat - it looks like a pirate ship, it's awesome.

Hannah, Sophie, Dan & Aisha joined us later on and there were suggestions of Troll game round 2...
...Hefty amounts of peer pressure later (and plenty of wine) we were soon taking part in the largest Troll game Mantaray has ever hosted, or so the legend reads!

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Posted by lwright11 20:07 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Mantaray Island - Day 2

Up at 8am, we went straight to breakfast - as with many other things, the breakfast at Manta was so much better than at the other resorts. Pancakes, toast, eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, the list goes on!

After breakfast, it was straight to the dive shop for our first dive!
We geared up and were given a briefing by Joe before we entered the water, with the promise of no sharks...
The house reef at Manta is only a couple of metres off shore and is where we'd be doing our first two dives.
It was a fantastic first dive - we had +30m visibility, saw mooray eels, stingray, octopus, lionfish, 1000 types of fish + coral and even a 2metre white tip reef shark called Bob!
Joe knew we'd see Bob as he's a local resident of the reef, however he thought it'd be best to not make Charlie aware of this before the dive. For the record, Charlie wasn't a bit scared when we saw him, she even swam closer to him before he moved off to another part of the reef.

Our second dive was only an hour later and this is where we did our skills test - not as fun as the first dive, but we left the water feeling a lot more confident.

At lunch, we met Joe's lovely parents June & Colin, who were visiting Joe for a month as he hasn't been home to Plymouth in 7 years (after visiting Fiji, it's easy to see why).

That night was awesome. I introduced another Loughborough drinking gem - the game of 'cricket/howzat'. It went down swimmingly and things certainly escalated from there!

We were introduced to a MUCH better game though. A game that has made Mantaray famous on tripadvisor - the troll game.
As joe describes it, "the game involves minor nudity, major consumption and getting a little bit wet, but don't worry, you won't be wearing your own clothes!"

Drinking games in full flow. Nighty night.

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Posted by lwright11 04:58 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Mantaray Island - Day 1

The boat ride from Korovou only took about 25mins, which was good as Charlie was quite seasick.

As soon as we arrived we knew we'd like it - we were greeted by friendly faces and a fruit cocktail, whilst Andrew (one of the dive guys) gave us a brief intro about the reef and the nearby dive sites. We were already looking to get our Open Water Qualification, so it was good to hear exciting things about the dive sites.

After we put our bags in the dorm we checked out the dive shop, then headed back to the beach bar - coincidentally, the bar and the dive shop were where we spent most of our time whilst at Manta!

We met Joe (chief dive man) and booked onto our Open Water course. The weather on the first afternoon wasn't great, so we started on the boring dive theory and got through a couple of chapters.

Dinner was great - Manta was only first resort we visited that had a menu, so it was nice to have a bit of choice!

After dinner we went down to the beach bar and played some drinking games with Joe, Andrew, Justin (the island's engineer) and some Aussie guests.
This is when we first heard of the elusive 'Troll game' - described as 'Ring of Fire on crack.'
We didn't play it that night, but Charlie and I pleased Joe enough with our drinking ability that he promised to take us on a shark dive - I thank Loughborough University for sealing that upgrade!

After too many rums, we stumbled to our beds in the dorm (being very quiet I might add), only for Charlie to discover a moth the size of your fist as her new spooning partner. Quietness is now out the window. Once the moth had scarpered, she found her other bunkmate - a gecko nestled in her pillow. Gecko gone, moth moved out & we went to bed, finally!
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Posted by lwright11 20:32 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

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