22 July 2010

The Judges' Results Are In!

Drop Zone Tahiti made the finals in the Blue Ocean Film Festival's International Film Competition!

The Blue Ocean Film Festival just announced the 2010 international film competition finalists. They received more than 350 entries in 19 categories submitted by the most talented ocean filmmakers from around the world.

The competition was intense, but Drop Zone Tahiti was selected as a finalist in the 'Ocean Sports' category. All Finalist films will be screened during the Festival (August 24 - 29) Monterey, California, USA in one of 6 Monterey Peninsula theater venues.

We can't wait to see what happens with Drop Zone Fiji!

07 July 2010

Drop Zone Fiji!


Alex Gray
26 June 2010 -

Hello world.Perfect 5 foot cloudbreak, with four people out, for 5 hours, and for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee??? Oh Yea, that’s what went down town on our last day in FIJI. The coolest part was that we got to share it with Jon Roseman who, along with being one of my heroes, is one of the owners of TAVY.

Everyone ripped way harder than Aaron Checkwood. Thank you everyone for coming along this journey with us. Til next time………

You stay naked….. World

Another Nightmare!

Maria Del Mar Gonzalez
26 June 2010 -

We get back to the Sea Shell Cove and we went to Tavarua to get a boat and go surf to Cloudbreak. Again! It was bigger than the first day we surf it. I surfed for a couple of hours and in one wave another nightmare happened to me! The tide was getting low. I cut a wave all the way to the inside, I tried to hit it and I didn’t land it. I hit the reef with my knee and under the water I was feeling the pain. Then, I tried to do a duck dive and I was literally between the reef and rocks trying to do a duck dive. At that moment, I realized that I was over the reef, it was so dry. I walked the entire reef to get out of there. I have too many cuts. When I was walking I was trying to get to the Jet Ski thinking that I was almost there, but I wasn’t. A wave was coming over me again and dragging me more back to the reef. After three tries I said to myself: “Oook! At the next chance I will run over the reef and get out of here!” And I did it! There were a lot of coral’s hands trying to get me, but I got out of there. It was bad! After this, I finally got on the Jet Ski and the guy gave me a ride back to the wave. I wait a while and I got another wave and you know what happened? A contact lens came out from my eye! I am so blind so I went to the boat to get another contact lens, but we left because other boat was coming! What didn’t happen to me in this trip?! Everything!! But thank God, I survived again!

Final Surf at Cloudbreak

Cheyne Magnusson
25 June 2010 -

So we survived the shark dive and now we are headed to cloudbreak for our final surf of the trip. We have been travelling so much and waking up so early we should change the name of this project to insomnia zone. Anyways we got coffeed up and motivated to get out there. At first it was a bit choppy and wonky. We stayed out because we are troopers and it paid off. The heavens parted and the winds turned offshore and the waves started pumping! I got more sunburned than I have since living in Hawaii and it feels great. We all got tubed and slapped some high fives and it was a great trip ender. I’m super stoked and somewhat tipsy at the moment and this blog is getting annoying so I’m going to stop now. Cheers!

01 July 2010

Bull Sharks Are Amazing

Holly Beck
June 25, 2010 -

Bull sharks are amazing. I’m on my third beer – a new type called Vonu which is much better than the standard Fiji Bitter – and it’s still hard to process the feeling of kneeling on the ocean floor 86ft below the surface while staring down an approaching bull shark. I added quite a few shark varieties to my list the other day which now includes whale, great white, white tip, black tip, grey, lemon, nurse, and bull. We had hoped to also encounter the illusive tiger, but at least I have a reason to return. Even without the tiger shark I was not disappointed.
Bull sharks have that classic shark look. Close your eyes and imagine a fat scary shark and that’s a bull shark. I had several swim right at me, our eyes locked, that came within a couple of feet to my face before turning to make another circle. I wasn’t scared. I did feel a few moments of adrenaline as my body reacted to the sight of a big predator headed straight at me, but it was fleeting. The enjoyment was too great. The only problem was that the dive was too short. Twenty five minutes of bliss then a big Fijian was giving me an aggressive thumbs up sign (probably because I had already ignored the last five “head to the surface” signs he’d given). I just didn’t want to leave.
We had two dives, the second at 60ft. In between dives I told the master that I am obsessed with sharks and had done multiple shark dives. I was hoping it would lead him to pull me closer to the sharks. Once the feeding started I was chosen first to kneel next to the feeder. The sharks made circles, took the tuna head on offer then swam right past me as he chewed and swallowed. It was awesome watching such a powerful creature that is so linked to man-eating and fear swim right past me, peacefully.
The sharks got closest to Cheyne. Either they liked the red hair or they could sense his fear and needed to look him over closer to see why he was afraid. After a few incredibly close passes, much closer than to anyone else, he gave the camera the “I’m over it sign” and cruised back to a safe distance.
I could go on and on about how much fun it was and how much I wish we got another chance. I could have stayed down there with the sharks all day…. but my beer is getting warm.

Craziest Dive of My Life

Alex Gray
25 June 2010 -

Hello world. Bull sharks have girth. That’s what she said!!!!!!!! Had the craziest dive of my life today with nurse, lemon and bull sharks. The feeding station underwater was like being in the nucleus of a mosh pit at a Pennywise concert. There was one point that I was being sandwiched by two lemon sharks and slapped in the face by a Bull sharks. What time is it? ALL


Maria Del Mar Gonzalez

25 June 2010 -

It is a new day! That is what I was thinking to get ready for the shark dive. We went to the shark dive. I was scared and little worried from the day before. So we went under the water and we were at the bottom of the ocean with bull sharks in everywhere. I was so close to some of them. Once you are there it wasn’t that scary. We came to the surface and we wait a while to go back. This time, there were more crazy sharks. We were shooting pictures and video and three sharks almost eat Cheyne. They went so close to him. That was insane! This was a great life experience for me. It is the best dive by far. I am so glad that I did it. I am not that scared to dive and see a shark, not anymore. It is a great experience! After this we went back to the resort.

At 4:30 pm we saw the Fire Walking, where some designed Fijians walk over burning rocks. There are two rules to be able to do it. First, don’t drink coconut milk for four days. Second, sleep alone for four days. These Fijians are crazy! They were hanging over the burning rocks while they were saying “Bula”, hello in Fijian language. These guys have their feet so black! Of course! They get burned. I couldn’t believe they do this!

Bull Sharks

Cheyne Magnusson
24 June 2010 -

Today I dove with bull sharks, on purpose. That sounds stupid. I actually think it is too. Bulls are super unpredictable and curious and they have a bite first think later mentality. If it was not for the Fijian divers surrounding us during the dive we would all be shark poop now. Those guys are super heroes. That being said the dive was one of the scariest and coolest experiences of my life. I have an even higher level of respect for sharks and their awesome power. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it.

If you are ever in Fiji and want to be reminded of how small we really are in the big scheme of things go to beqa and do this dive!

30 June 2010

The Last Day at Frigates

Bede Durbidge
25 June 2010 -

I just arrived home from a epic trip in Fiji. It was sad to leave the rest of the crew there. They had plenty more cool dives to go for and they were going to surf Cloud break which is one of my favourite waves in the world.

The last day of the trip for me was a wild day to say the least . It had some massive ups and downs . We left the Tui Tai super early in the morning and headed for Frigets which i was really excited about. I loved all the cool dives we went for but i was pretty frothing for a surf . It was a long and rough trip out to Frigets on the boat . It was really choppy and windy so we weren’t sure how the waves would be . I was kind of freaking it would be terrible but as we got closer to the break you could see these lefts just barreling down the reef . Instantly everyone was just frothing and was so keen to get out there as quick as they could .It was firing 6 foot with the odd bigger one . We couldn’t believe it no one out and perfect barrels .
We were all having the best surf taking turns and getting pitted off our heads. It was almost to good to be true then i caught probably the biggest wave i had in the session. I got a good pit and pulled off and I'm thinking where is the filmers boat and i look in and its up side down with all this gear floating and everyone swimming for there life to get out of the impact zone. It was so heavy. Greg and Mike lost all their gear but lucky no one was hurt and everyone made it back to the boat with Greg coming out the worst with a few cuts. It was a shame that the day had to end like that, but you can never underestimate the ocean.

So after all that i had to say my good byes and head home . It was a great trip i had some amazing dives and scored some perfect waves . I was stoked to be apart of such cool trip with really nice people . I look forward to the next Drop Zone .


Surfing Frigate's Pass

Holly Beck
June 24, 2010 -

I like to get barreled. In fact lately, improving my tube-riding skills has been my main focus in surfing. There’s nothing better than positioning yourself inside of a wave and then coming out unscathed. I don’t even mind crash tubes where you get a short view before the inevitable pounding. But that’s over sand. Pulling into big tubes over shallow sharp reef is an entirely different thing. It’s scary.
I had surfed Frigate’s Pass before and it was thick and sketchy. I was a little nervous about surfing it again, especially since Bede had checked the swell models and said it would be pumping. Motoring out to the break the wind made whitecaps on the surface of the sea and I figured it would be blown out and no good. Once we turned the final corner around one of several small islands, we could see that the wind was actually offshore. The reef was still far off but we could see a succession of waves peel along and spit powerfully, indicating big hollow waves. I was instantly really nervous.
We scrambled over each other to pull out boards, put in fins, and apply sunscreen as the boat rocked in the rolling sea, then hopped from the big boat to a dingy to jet out to the surf. The boys were frothing and screaming but Maria and I were nervous. We took our time getting out there. I was still psyching myself up when Maria spun and went on a mid-size wave. The boys on the inside were hooting and she pulled out with a smile. “It’s not that bad,” I thought to myself. I stroked into the next one and tried to stall for a tube that didn’t materialize then nearly spun out on my bottom turn. I flipped my board over and saw I was riding a twin-fin. Oops! In my haste to get out there I must not have screwed my middle fin in all the way and it had fallen out.
I switched boards and caught another wave that didn’t tube, but helped my confidence a bit. Maria and I nervously paddled around looking for smaller “cute” ones while dodging the gnarly sets that the boys tackled fearlessly. They were laughing and high fiving. It was awesome to watch and I started getting frustrated with myself. I wanted to laugh and high-five after pulling out of a big bomb. “Screw it, I’m going!” A set approached and Alex and Bede each took one, but there was one more coming and only Maria and I still in the lineup.
“You going, Maria?”
“No, you go!”
I turned and started paddling. It was big, but it had a nice tapering shoulder and I was determined. I paddled and paddled and right before I started to think about standing up, there was so much water moving up the face of the wave, the only way to get into it would have been to throw myself over the ledge. I hesitated for an instant, saw Cheyne spinning around on the inside, and pulled back to let him have it. The wave barreled down the reef and he ended up getting pounded. I felt really happy about my decision not to go and then even more timid.
Maria and I were sitting a bit further in from the boys and Scott Smith our water filmer suggested we try to take off on some of the inside ones. Just then we saw a set approaching, one of the biggest of the afternoon. “Shoot!” I started paddling frantically straight towards the horizon while Maria took an angled path more towards the channel. I yelled at her to go straight ahead as we both duck-dove the first wave. The next one was bigger and already starting to break so that it was clear we wouldn’t have time to get under it. I was only about ten feet further out than Maria but that made all the difference. We both bailed our boards and swam for the bottom, but I popped up outside and she got dragged in. There were three more waves behind that one, all breaking a little further out. Each time I dove for the bottom and looked up to see churning whitewater above me. On the second one I felt my leash pop and break. Without my board dragging behind me I was able to dive deeper and get under the wave cleanly. After I’d made it through, I looked back and couldn’t see Maria anywhere. I was shaken up, without my board, and getting pulled up the reef and out to sea by the strong current, but I was ok. The dingy came and picked me up.
On our way to the other side of the reef to look for my board I saw Maria climbing into the other dingy where the photographers were sitting and I was relieved to see that she seemed ok. The boat guy took me inside of the reef and we waited a few minutes for my board to wash in. We spotted it, collected it, and then started heading back to the big boat. On our way I noticed a big brownish white object floating on the inside. It looked like a big tree at first, then the back of a whale. Finally I realized that it was a boat upside down. “That’s weird,” I thought.

(***I’ll leave it at that since I’m sure everyone else will tell the same story. I’ll let the people more involved in the boat part to tell that part****)

Mother Nature Won

Alex Gray
24 June 2010-

Hello world. Planes, trains and automobiles today. After 18 hours of exhausting travelling, we were greeted by 8 foot freight training lefts at Frigates. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we rocked up to the wave and it was offshore, “teahupoo like slabs”, and nobody out!!!!!! Bede was screaming like a baby. It seemed as mother nature was showing off for us with a conveyer belt of non stop, below sea-level tubes. After kicking out of each wave, I would see Cheyne, Bede or Maria pulling into to another flawless shack. This was the reason we had come to Fiji to surf. Or so we thought….. I knew something was wrong when an open pelican case came floating by me in the lineup. Then, I really knew something was wrong when I saw the dinghy was upside down on the inside of the reef. I thought Greg was just having a cackle, so I told him to stop playing with his dinghy!!!! Turns out the worst had happened, and the media crew had been caught by a 6 footer. Everybody but Greg had bailed when they saw the wave about to annihilate them. Greg, being the lion tamer he is, thought he would just try and ride it out. Mother nature won, and he now is littered with cuts like Zangief from Street Fighter II (the best video game in the world). Even though camera gear was trashed, I would like to thank little 5lb, 10 oz baby jesus for keeping my friends alive.1 P2,5000 dollars………1 dinghy, 20000 fijian dollars…….. Greg living through it to have the best story ever for the rest of his life, priceless!!!!!!!!!

You stay naked……….WORLD

Deep at the Break

Maria Del Mar Gonzalez
24 June 2010 -

I almost die twice today! We woke up at 5:45 am to leave the Tui Tai boat and drive more than three hours to go to the airport and get our flight to a different island. The flight had a delay and we wait one hour for it. We got the flight and we drove more than half hour to get a boat to go surf Frigates. We were in the boat for one more hour to get to the point. Finally, we get to Frigates and it was great. There were awesome waves. We start surfing it. But Holly and I were worried to don’t get too deep, because it had size. Here is when my story about die starts.

Holly and I got a couple of good waves, but in once we realized that we were deep at the break. A huge set came to us. We did the duck dive to the first wave, but the next one was so much bigger. I didn’t make the duck dive so the wave drags me all the way to the inside. I was without breath and other wave came to me and keeps dragging me. At least I got a breath and other wave came to me. I release my leash, because I thought it was better to dive without it. So other wave came to me and I was giving up. That wave has so much water. I use contact lens, but I opened my eyes between my nightmares. I finally got out and I started to paddle to the channel were the boat was. I got into the boat and I thought I was safe. But I wasn’t! When I was on the boat a wave came to us and I said that we should move out of here. At that moment another wave came to us and flipped the boat. I saw one of the photographers jumping out of the boat and I followed him. The videographer stayed at the boat hoping that the boat will pass the wave, but it didn’t happen. When I was out of the boat I saw the driver swimming behind me. I think that he jumped out of the boat before everyone. The boat was riding the wave backwards. Thousands of dollars in video camera gear are lost. Our great footage is lost. Bede getting sick waves at Frigates is lost!

I was thinking to go back to the point, but after the next experience I said: “Ok, it is enough for today! Are we sure that should we go dive with the bull sharks?” At that moment Holly came with my board and she realized that the boat that she just saw at the inside was our boat. Well, we made the check in at the Resort and we went to sleep to wait for the shark dive. At least I survived twice this day!


Cheyne Magnusson
23 June 2010 -

Wow! Lots of travelling today! We should change the name of the drop zone to planes, trains, and automobiles! So, the day begins with us leaving the Tui Tai at about 5:00 am. After that we take a three hour van ride to the airport. We arrive there and find out our flight is delayed an hour, as usual. Finally get on the plane for an hour and get off to quickly be informed we have another hour and a half bus ride to the harbor. Get to the harbor and take a two hour boat ride to the surf spot! Done. Sort of. Wow my fingers hurt after typing that! So the juice ends up being worth the squeeze and we pull up to a reef pass absolutely FIRING! Huge barrels and shallow water. Great combo. So we all freak out and jump off the boat like sharks at the first scent of blood. Everyone is getting good waves and having the best time ever. Then, Murphy’s law kicked in. I kicked out of a wave and a huge set behind it landed on my head. I bailed my board and my leash snapped, shit. I come up and immediately my broken leash leaves my thoughts at the sight I beheld at the surface. The dingy with all the photographers and video guys are literally riding a wave. I watch in horror as everybody bails out and the boat gets sucked over the falls and capsizes. Everyone was freaking, I made sure I could see everyone that was on the boat and started swimming towards them. Luckily, no one was badly injured and everyone made it back to the mothership in one piece. The tally for lost equipment was: 1 video camera, 1 still camera, the engine, everyones towels and clothes, and the priceless photos and video contained in the cameras. I was able to throw on a mask and somehow find the still camera lying on the bottom of the reef. It was unreal, but it could have been worse. So we all celebrated just being alive on the boat ride home with a couple beers and accepted our loss. Hey, you gotta pay to play.

29 June 2010

Swimming with Mantas

Holly Beck
23 June 2010 -

I like sea critters, particularly large toothy sea creatures that let you swim with them. Manta Rays don’t have teeth but still easily fall into the large sea creature category. Yesterday afternoon we loaded into boats and set off towards the reef hoping to find a few mantas to swim with. The choppy seas made us less than sure we’d get our chance, but Cheyne, Alex, and Bede back-rolled overboard armed with weight belts, spear guns, and a hunger for sashimi. Maria and I stayed dry with our eyes peeled to the water around us looking for shadows below. Surprisingly, Bede and Alex came up cheering and pointing. “There’s heaps of mantas right here!”

We motored over but by the time Maria and I jumped in with the boys, the mantas were gone. Back in the boat, shivering in the wind under a cloudy sky, I was ready to head back to the Tui Tai for a hot shower. Kristin Valette the optimist suggested one more pass along the reef and just then our dive guide spotted a manta not too far away. I jumped in eagerly with Justin our still photographer and Scott the video guy. Soon a big black shape emerged from the darkness below me and I was surprised by the size of it. I’ve seen a manta before in the Maldives, but this guy was much bigger, easily 6ft wide from wingtip to tip and our guide called it a small one. He was cruising just above the sea floor about 40 feet below me, and after all the kicking to keep up, I was winded. Justin was at my shoulder, camera ready, pointing down and motioning me to dive down alongside but I just nodded and waited. Up ahead the reef grew a little closer to the surface and as the ray swam up over it, I swam down for a quick moment of synchronized swimming. The ray looked over at me for a moment and then swam off. We found it again and I got one more chance, this time lasting a little longer. It was just enough for Justin to snap a few frames of the Manta and I side by side, swimming together. I spread my arms out to the side in my best effort to imitate its graceful wing-flapping swim. Finally I pulled myself back onto the boat incredibly grateful that we’d taken the chance on one more pass. It was definitely worthwhile.


Alex Gray
23 June 2010 -

Hello world. I had no idea that Cheyne could do three sixties while ripping his shorts. Today, we dawn patrolled a natural water slide. I would have to say that it really wasn’t meant to be slid down by a human being on their belly, but our crew treated it like a wet n’ wild day in cancun! Owwwwwww. Unfortunately we had to pack up shop from the Tui Tai and make a crazy 18 hr travel to surf a wave called Frigates on the other side of the island. Hopefully it all pays off.

You stay naked……………. WORLD

Waterfalls, Rays and Locals

Maria Del Mar Gonzalez
23 June 2010 -

At 7:00 am, we went to a waterfall to go to the natural slides. That waterfall is like a water park. We were like little kids running all around and sliding in the waterfall. Cheyne pants broke. That was so funny. Alex got scars in everywhere. Cheyne and Alex are insane; they slide backwards and with the head first. They make everything look more excited. Holly and I slide together in once, and we hit each other. She hit me with her knee and I don’t know with what I hit her, but that was a little painful. We didn’t care and we keep jumping all around the place like monkeys. Without wants to leave, we left back to the Tui Tai boat to get our breakfast. At 10:00 am we went to dive to the Great White Wall. Holly was my buddy and during our dive we saw two little fish around a coral. I stayed there looking them and they were so friendly. It was so cute. The fish was like Nemo, but yellow and blue lines. After this dive, we returned to the Tui Tai boat to eat our breakfast.

It was our last day at Tui Tai boat, so we decide to visit a village. We played volleyball and we gave them snorkels, masks and finds. They were so happy! Then we got a couple of kids to a ride at the standup paddle board. Kids were excited.

At dinner time, we ate a grouper fish that Owe, one of the guys part of the boat crew, hunted when we were looking for manta ray. I forgot to say that Holly swam with one manta ray. We were snorkeling and we saw this manta ray and Holly got under the water to swim with it. It was amazing; she was so close to the manta ray. She is crazy! It was great!

After dinner Alex, Cheyne and I were dancing and drinking Kava with the boat crew. I show them how to dance reggeaton and they were showing us how to dance like Fijians. They were showing us the car wash, fishing dance and Cheyne show us the worm dance. It was so funny! We had a good time for our last day at the Tui Tai boat.

28 June 2010

It Reminded Me of Pandora...

Cheyne Magnusson
22 June 2010 -

Stardate June 22nd, 2010 earth time 4:33 PM. We have just finished up our first day of epic diving off the Tui Tai in the north of Fiji and I am stoked. Our first dive was a drift dive along an outer reef just to get acquainted with our new underwater surroundings. We saw some cool stuff: sharks, parrot fish, and my personal favorite Christmas tree worms. Those little things are super fun to see and it reminded me of Pandora from “Avatar.” We surfaced and went back to our floating Hilton and had lunch. After that we dove the great white wall which is thus far my favorite dive yet. We saw some awesome sea life, the highlights of which included: giant groupers, soft coral, and a “horny oyster.” It was an awesome dive and everyone high fived afterwards. It was cool to have Bede along with us because he has never dove in the tropics and he was freaking out about everything! Its always fun to be there for people’s first experiences because it becomes contagious. At the moment I am sipping a Fiji bitter writing this blog about to get a Swedish massage on our boat shaped paradise. Life is good.

Diving and Paddle Boarding

Holly Beck
22 June 2010 -

Bede Durbidge is one of my favorite surfers. Good looking, great surfer, super nice guy. So when we were paired up to dive together for his second dive after certification I was excited for both of us. We were supposed to dive the Great White Wall named for its special collection of white soft coral but there was so much to see at the start of the wall that we never made it past the first swim through. Filming the Drop Zone means that while you’re diving you’re working. Sometimes that’s walking back and forth on the beach with your board but yesterday it meant swimming back and forth through a cave that started at 40ft deep and let you out at 60. Each loop for the camera revealed some new detail within the cave culminating in a pantomimed conversation with a cute little yellow fish that was not afraid of us at all. Fiercely dedicated to defending its territory the palm-sized golden yellow little guy even charged at Bede as if it was planning to bite his regulator.

Post-dive we cheered for Cheyne as he was hoisted midway up the mast by the crew. He then carefully scurried out along the slippery metal spreader to jump. The guy is fearless so I knew it was intense when he seemed a little sketched. He had to wait up there for at least ten minutes for the cameramen to get their equipment together, the anticipation building. Cheyne jumped and the spectators went crazy, so Alex got inspired to get up there and jump off too.

PADI superstar and one of my personal role models Kristin Valette pulled out a couple stand-up paddleboards and we took off over the flat water into the sunset. After red wine and lobster by candlelight on the beach, I fell into bed exhausted, gently rocked to sleep by a calmly rolling sea. Good day, good night.

Pirates, Kava and The Great White Wall

Alex Gray
22 June 2010 -

Hello World. Bam! Straight into diving this morning. The group had a mellow one for Bede’s first dive after his certification. Bede and Maria are so comfortable under water for this being their first dive trip. The food on the boat is amazing. After a quick lunch we jammed on over to “the Great White Wall”. There was a radical swim through that started at 40 feet and ejaculated at 90 feet. Upon exiting the cave I made a sharp left turn and witnessed why it was called the great white wall. Right there in front of my sunburned face was a blanket of rolling white soft coral as wide as a Fijians smile. One of the most beautiful sights I have encountered through diving. Cheyne and I have turned into pirates, and climbed the mast to jump off it before sunset. Night time took over and we had dinner on the beach. The lobster really tickled my taste buds. There was a group of local Fijians drinking kava. I waddled over for a few lip numbing drinks. I had a dream about diving with Jessica Alba.

You stay naked………….World

The Great White Wall

Bede Durbidge
22 June 2010 -

I just came in from diving the great white wall. Wow!! that is one place you have to dive in your life. It’s amazing it is so colorful and feels like you're in a fish tank. I thought the diving would be good over here but it has blown me away how surreal it is down there.

This morning we decided to go to the natural water slide which was really cool. Alex and
Cheyne were having a ball tackling each other down it and goofing around .

We have definitely been making the most of our days on the boat. We have been fitting in any activity we can. There is just so much to do besides diving - it's great. We have been fishing a bit but haven’t had much luck. I lost a couple of good ones and landed one stinky Barracuda, so I'm still waiting for the big one.

We are hoping to see some Manta Rays this afternoon so that will be really cool. Then tomorrow we are heading to Frigets to try and score some waves. Fingers crossed its pumping I'm really excited to get some barrels.

Talk to you soon.


Sharks and Fire Coral

Maria Del Mar Gonzalez
22 June 2010

Yesterday, we went diving twice. These dives were more exciting than the other ones at the main island. Here, corals are so colorful and there are different sea plants and corals. There are a lot of different kinds of fish too. The current was so strong, but we had fun anyway. I saw a shark on the first dive and it was getting close to me, but when it was almost three feet away, it left. On the second dive I saw another shark, but it was at the end. It was pretty scary. But I am getting some training for the dive we are going to make with the tiger and bull sharks.

On my second dive I hit a fire coral. There are so many that is difficult to avoid them when the current is so strong. So I heard that lime is good for the fire coral cuts. When we returned to the boat, I let Alex to put lime on my cut. The cut was on fire before the lime, but after it was hurting so bad that I almost cried. He put the lime on so rough that it was worse. After a lot of pain, the cut was looking better and feeling better too. I realized that the lime works very well for this kind of cut. If you get a fire coral cut, put some lime on it. It really works!

At night time, we had a dinner at the beach. All the boat crew prepared it for us. It was awesome and different. We ate lobster, fish and rice. The food was amazing! Before and after the food, Alex, Cheyne and I drank some Kava to relax. After the great dinner, we all returned to the boat to sleep and wait for another amazing day in Fiji.

25 June 2010

One Massive Pirate Ship

Cheyne Magnusson
21 June 2010 -

So today we travelled from the south of Fiji to the north. We had to get up super early and we were still late as usual. I really enjoyed taking the little island hoppers because the view of Fiji from the sky is nothing less than breath taking. All the little islands and barrier reefs surrounding them make for a really entertaining flight! All I could think of was what was swimming around those reefs and if anyone had ever dove them. When we touched down in Vanua Levu we were informed that our car ride to the Tui Tai would be about three hours. Six hours and about thirty farts later we pulled up to a little cove with a MASSIVE pirate ship anchored in it. I was freaking it was like seeing captain hook’s ship from peter pan. We took the dingy out and were greeted by about fifteen crewmembers singing and handing us leis. The “boat” was more like a floating five-star resort complete with fully stocked bar and spa. So we all indulged in a few cocktails and talked about who was going to jump off the mast first and pulling a mutiny on board and just living on the boat. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to come on these trips and today was just another reminder how blessed we all are.

Dreaming of Sharks

Holly Beck
21 June 2010 -

The only thing I really want to see underwater is a shark. I like colorful coral, schools of fish, turtles and all that but honestly I’m down there for the sharks. After the incredible shark-swarming dive experiences of Drop Zone Tahiti it’s a little hard to get excited about a couple of three foot white tip reef sharks. Last October I did a trip to Mexico that included swimming with whale sharks in the Bahia De Los Angeles and then one of the peak moments of my life; getting up close and personal with great whites off Guadalupe Island. When I was told that we would get a chance to dive with tiger and bull sharks on this trip I got really excited, and then a little disappointed that we’d have to wait until the second half of the trip to do it.

Diving off Seashell Cove the last couple of days was fun. We swam through a few underwater arches and explored some reef crevices, but I’ll admit I was a little bored. These dives just seem like warm-ups and time-killers until we get to meet the big toothy critters.

Now cruising aboard the Tui Tai to a dive site called Rainbow Reef that has been dubbed “the soft coral capital of the world”, I’m content. It might have something to do with finally getting a real cup of coffee after days of instant imitations. It’s too windy to surf so we’re preparing for a day of three dives followed by a village visit. All that sounds good but once again it’s hard to take my mind off those sharks we’ll get to meet in a few days.

Welcome to the Tui Tai

Alex Gray
21 June 2010 -

Hello world. Travel day. 5 am wake up call, 2 flights and a 6 hour drive. Ladies and gentleman the Drop Zone gives you Bede Durbidge!!! Bede is one of the best surfers in the world along with one of my favorites. After meeting him at one of the airports today, I instantly knew that he is going to bring some great vibes. I am also really curious to know why his nickname is the “White Fijian”. We ran over a lot of frogs on the way to our new home for the next 3 days: The Tui Tai. As we made our way from shore to the boat, everyone could hear the entire crew singing a welcome song. The Tui Tai is easily the nicest charter boat I have ever been on. Can’t wait to dive and surf off her…………..

You stay naked…WORLD

First Dive of the Trip

Bede Durbidge
21 June 2010 -

I'm sitting here on the Tui Tai absolutely frothing for my first dive of the trip. I'm so pumped to be On Drop Zone Fiji. I'm used to just going on surf trips so this is my first diving and surfing trip.

I met up with the crew on Sunday night and the vibe between everyone was just buzzing . I knew straight away it was going to be a really awesome trip. We had a little traveling to do yesterday with two short planed trips and a 4 hour car ride but it was great to check out the Fiji country side. We all boarded the Tui Tai last night and this boat is just luxury. It's going to be an amazing couple of days.

We just pulled up at our first dive spot so I'm about to suit up and jump in . I'll let you know how it was. Yew!!!!

A Long Drive to Luxury...

Maria Del Mar Gonzalez
21 June 2010 -

After more than four hour driving, we finally got on to the boat. We were a little desperate at the car, but once we were at the boat we were looking so relaxed. I was like: “thank God that I am here out of the car and out of Alex’s farts!” his farts were suffocating me!

By the way, this boat is incredibly gorgeous. It looks like a pirate ship. You name an activity and they take you to enjoy it. You can go dive, surf, fish, mountain bike, kayak, etc. Well, just name it and you will get it. The boat trip includes a foot massage, which is good. You have good food on it and drinks all the time.

When I got into the boat I was surprised. I can’t believe that I am here. This is amazing! I feel like a millionaire! I can’t wait to see what is next! This trip gets better and better everyday!