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Kids Sea Camp Journals – Fiji 2007

Fiji adventure to Castaway Island at Kids Sea Camp

By Jennifer Peyton-Chornlesky, age 11

Day 1 and 2: 
I drove to Atlanta and fly to LAX to meet the group at 6 pm. We left LAX at 10:30 at night on November 15th arrival in Fiji on Air Pacific a 747 10hr and 45 min to NAD airport.

Day 3: Saturday: 46 kids and 48 adults. We meet the South Seas Cruises Catamaran for a 2.5-hour sail through the Yasawa islands to Castaway Island.

Day 4 & 5: I woke up to the peaceful sound of the ocean crashing against the rocks. After I ate breakfast at the beachside restaurant, I went on 2 dives with other kids from all around the world, I am in the teen diver group for kids that are already certified divers and can dive. The first dive was really rough but it was a great dive, and I saw 7 Clownfish. This fish is mostly orange with white stripes and lives inside a sea anemone. Sea anemones sting other fish and people, but not the clownfish. These fish are only found in the South Pacific.

I am certified as a PADI diver up to 40 feet, other kids that are 12 and have their advanced diver certification can dive up to 65 feet. The second dive was at a sandbar I did not go on that dive but I went on the sandbar and snorkeled and took pictures. Later in the afternoon, we had a treasure hunt. We had to go looking for keys and maps. My team was the yellow team the green team won. I started my painting today with this famous artist Rogest. He is really funny He makes all the kids laugh and he paints with us during the week. We do dot art it an Australian style.

We usually do dot paintings, but instead this time the teen divers did graffiti art. The art is a picture of a marine animal and we have to tell a story or make a statement about the protection of that animal and what its crises are. Like Shark fining, or hunting of Sea Turtles or overfishing or killing whales. Why we think its wrong and what we can do to help stop it. After the day was over I went on a snorkel with my mom and dad. I saw clown fish, Needlenose fish and lots of blue starfish. They are so beautiful and only found in Fiji,

Day 6: I am really sad that I am leaving in just two days. This morning I went on a shark dive I was excited but also very scared. We were at a dive site called the Supermarket. This is where the sharks come to eat that is why they call it the Supermarket. There are hundreds of sharks that gather here, but they do not hurt any people. My dive group was the last ones in the water. When I jumped in I could just here the jaws music playing in my head. I saw a shark and I thought it was going to charge me but it didn’t. I saw 7 Wight tip reef sharks and some Bronzy Sharks; they are 5- 6 feet in length. That was the best dive Ever because I overcame a fear I had of sharks. The second dive I did not go on because it was too rough, there was a storm offshore. The storm was really outrages there were tree branches everywhere, The weather this year was not normal, we had lots of wind and rain a few days. This is due to Global Warming and one of the effects seen in Fiji. At dinner time we had a big feast For Thanksgiving. Instead of turkey, we had chicken. I had clam chowder and chicken with gravy. At Castaway Island, there is music at each meal and singing. There are beautiful flowers everywhere and the people are very nice, they smile and learn your name, and say Bula which means hello, Vanaka means thank you. They also were really pretty clothes around them called a Sulu, both the men and the women wear these. We all wore them for Thanksgiving.

Day 7: This is my last day in Fiji I only went on one dive, we see lots of beautiful fish on the reefs, and the water is very warm. I spent the rest the day got with my good friend Isabel and the other kids I met on my trip; there were 46 kids and 50 adults that came with us. We stayed in the pool for almost 3hr we a had a ton of fun. After I out of the pool. I got ready for the graduation ceremony. I showed my painting of a turtle it was called “save the turtles.” The last night, my Dad sang with the Castaway band and everyone danced and had fun. We all cried the next day when it was time to leave. The castaway makes you feel like family. All the dive staff and resort staff come out and sing goodbye songs and hug and kiss you, it’s very sad, like leaving an old friend. It’s sadder I thing for the other families, because I know I will be back every year. My mom leads our Kids Sea Camp group to Fiji every Thanksgiving. Many families come over and over because they love Fiji so much. Its perfect for kids, because kids like to sing and dance and paint and swim and dive and Castaway has all of.

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