Scuba on Christmas Eve, of course
24 December 2008 | Gizo
We set up a Christmas eve dive with Dive Gizo. Four of the yachts in the anchorage joined in. It was a great time for a great price. The weather was not fantastic but it didn't rain. There was an impressive swell running and a pretty heavy chop in the lagoon. We all got wet on the way to the first dive site. Premature, but not a problem when you're Scuba diving.
Gizo has had a rough time in the dive department, with the tsunami from last year damaging some of the famous spots. These spots still have lots of fish but the reefs were pretty much wiped out. There are still a good number of dives to choose from and on a day like today we needed spots on the opposite side anyway.
Our first dive was at Secret Spot. It was a good dive but visibility was not stellar. We saw some sharks and the reef was in good condition. There was a pretty good current running so it worked out as a drift dive. I always like just floating along with the plankton.
After dive one, we hopped over to an island where one of the dive shop guys had cooked us lunch. We had fresh bread from town and reef fish cooked on heated stones, Solomon Style, along with pineapple and rain water. It was a tasty repast.
Dive two was out at Yellow Corner. This is another drift dive (at least it was today) with lots of yellow soft corals. We saw a turtle, lots of intriguing fish (several of which sent me scurrying for the Pacific Fish ID books afterwards), and some giant clams and nice reef growth.
It was a bumpy and wet ride back but the shop made everything else easy. They changed over our tanks, rinsed and dried our gear and in general took great care of us. Many thanks to Luc and the crew at Dive Gizo.
The Dive Gizo shop is located just across the road from PT109. This makes it easy to load and unload at the nice PT109 dock. The Dive Gizo shop also has the most awesome collection of local carvings I have seen. If you want to buy a carving, this is probably the best selection around and at good or better prices than you may get direct from the fairly savvy carvers.
Once back in town I met up with Eric to finish picking up the supplies for our aid delivery to the atolls. We had to stop by several Chinese stores just to come up with flour and no one had onions. We did get most of everything else we were looking for though.
We had to hurry too because PT109 was having their Christmas Eve bash tonight. For 100 sol ($14 ish) you get a big Solomon style buffet feast. All of the yachts in the anchorage were there at some point in the evening. It was a lot of fun to chat with the many interesting folks on hand.
Whistler with Eric and Jenique were there and we are looking forward to traveling through the atolls on the way to Pohnpei with them. We had gone diving with Lucia Warner from Kliener Bar and their kids, Nina and Lucas entertained everyone with some wild dancing after the meal. I had a nice chat with the single handers on board Dream Hunter and Seabatical II. We got to know At and Dia from Angelica II much better after short chats with them over the VHF in the Russels and a few words as we passed each other crossing Munda bar in different directions. The Polaris crew, Peter, Jorge and Heike joined in the fun and Nueva Vida came later in the evening as well. PT109 managed a 100% yacht turn out. Anyone living on a yacht who has made it to the Solomon Islands has several interesting stories to tell. It would be hard to assemble a more intriguing group of individuals.
That said the ground based folks in the area also very interesting folks. We met Christian, a Brazilian surfer and high tech sales manager, along with his fiancée. There were a wonderful couple with lots of great travel stories. We also saw lots of the Dive Gizo folks, and many of the aid workers and assorted expats from in town. It was a great evening with a lot of great people.