Sunday, January 14, 2007

MV Predator Survey

The requirements to operate commercial vessels in the Fiji Islands are very demanding. There are various licenses required, one of which is a survey license. The Fiji Islands Maritime Safety Authority (FIMSA) require commercial vessels to undergo surveys every 6 months, with the annual survey requiring the boat to be aslip for hull inspections.

December 2006 brought about annual survey time for our main dive boat, MV Predator. Having the boat aslip means we can really get a good look at the hull and give her a good scrub from top to bottom. We've opted to not use any antifouling paint on the hull of Predator, prefering to scrub her clean on a regular basis. Both engines underwent a full overhaul under the watchful of eye of David, our technician.

After spending a day working on her, it was survey time. The FIMSA representative inspected the integrity of the hull before boarding Predator. The safety of passengers onboard are top priority, so items like life preservers, fire extinguishers, EPIRBs, life rafts are all checked to be in working condition.

With the safety equipment all ticked off, it's now time for the sea trial and down into the water we go. With the surveyor onboard, we cruise the Qaraniqio River back to our base at Lagoon Resort while he checks that both engines are in tip-top shape.

No matter where you go diving in Fiji, if you're in any doubt as to the boat's safety, be sure to ask to see the licenses that are required to be available onboard. Survey License, Safe manning Certificate, Coastal Trading License and of course the Captain's License.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!

With Fiji's position right on the International Date Line, we were some of the first people to welcome in 2007. There were all sorts of parties going on, the street party in Suva, beach parties in Pacific Harbour and then the big blow-outs at the Tiki Bar/Arts Village and The Pearl South Pacific.

The heavens were smiling on us and we were blessed with some fine weather throughout the day and into the night. The dive team couldn't party too hard though, we had a trip running on the 1st January and wow, what a way to start off '07.
Beautiful blue skies and 30m visibility greeted us at daybreak. Waiting for the bull sharks to return can be nerve-racking; wondering which day will be the day. Well, January 1st, 2007 was the day and over 15 different individuals graced us with their presence for over 45 minutes. Many of the females bore wounds from their mating season, it's truly remarkable how these wounds will be completely healed and invisible in a matter of weeks. We're looking forward to some great shark diving in the months ahead!!