Monday, September 9, 2013

Magic Coral: New Sights and New Perspectives in Fiji

By: Cameo Burton, Sustainable Tourism in Fiji

Locations of Site VisitorsI have always been passionate about traveling, hence my major in PRT - Sustainable Tourism Management.  When I discovered there was a study abroad program in my field and it went to Fiji, it became a no brainer to me.  What I learned and discovered while I was there became a priceless experience.

There is so much more to Fiji then beaches and palm trees; that was my first thought when I thought of the country.  In the three weeks I spent there I may have spent one or two full days on the beach.  In the highlands you find many villages and beautiful rivers.  We spent two days on different rivers, and another day kayaking through the mangroves.  What a beautiful sight it was.

On this trip I also got certified in diving.  I went on many dives including a shark dive.  Honestly I think the shark dive was the most boring, as all you do is sit there and watch the sharks swim in front of you.  I loved the other dives we went on, including the ones to get certified.  Thinking about the Earth you learn in elementary school that the Earth is covered with about 70% water.  I realized on this trip how much amazing beauty we are missing out on, all because it lies beneath the water. 

It was fun to swim through the schools of fish that were everywhere.  The coral is so bright and colorful in some areas.  I recommend staying closer to the dive masters as they are the experts of what can be found in that area, and will point out some pretty cool stuff.  One example is what I call, “magic coral.”  As you would touch the coral it would instantly go white as a defense mechanism.  White coral is usually dead or dying coral. It was amazing to watch.

Fijians are always so happy, and friendly.  Everyone you pass by will wave and call out “Bula!” (Meaning hello, goodbye, cheers)  This happens if you are walking or driving past.  They made it so easy to love them and this beautiful country you are in.

I learned a lot about sustainable tourism, the dying population of sharks in Fiji and surrounding areas, marine life in general, and even more importantly myself.  It was an experience I will never forget and will be telling others about for the rest of my life.  I highly recommend this trip to everyone.

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