Thanks to: Brian R., 3-time traveler from Jasper, GA • Australia & New Zealand
While on our post trip extension in Fiji, we were sailing on a catamaran to spend a day on a private island for snorkeling and lunch on the beach. I headed up to the helm to see what it looked like from the captain's perspective. While there, the captain and I struck up a conversation, and he asked me if I was going to snorkel. I told him, no, because I was not a good swimmer and had had a bad experience a few years earlier while snorkeling. He said, "You will be with me, and everything will be all right!" I was naturally nervous and more than apprehensive!
Once we were ashore and lounging under a palm tree, the captain found my wife and me and strode over, saying, "Come on and follow me." (Can you spell FEAR?)
He fitted me to a mask that worked with my bushy mustache, plus a pair of fins, and we walked to the quiet surf. He gently took me by the wrist and guided me to the reef just a few yards off the shore. He was able to recognize my hesitance due to my fear of deep water. Nonetheless, in a few seconds, we were floating over bright coral and scores of brightly colored fish. He reassured me and guided me safely as my fears partially subsided. We worked our way back to the shore and he said, "Now, after lunch, you and I are going fishing the way I did as a child!"
After inhaling a few delicious treats prepared by the crew, we went back to the water. I looked around for a rod and reel. Seeing none, I was wondering what the captain had up his sleeve. He handed me a coil of line with a large hook on the end, and the bait was a piece of a hot dog! We both went through the surf with fins, masks, and the primitive tools he had used as a child to catch dinner for his family. We floated over the reef and once we spotted fish ahead of us, the fun began! He demonstrated his throwing technique as he placed his bait directly near a fish we were hoping would end up on the dinner menu later that evening. But, the fish had other plans and swam to deeper water. My turn! Fish spotted, cast made, and my quarry joined his buddy in the depths. Seemed as though they had just had lunch, too!
The captain of the catamaran made such a wonderful experience for a reluctant swimmer, snorkeler, and fisherman. It made the end of our trip to Australia and New Zealand even more memorable.
To read more of our favorite answers to November’s Question of the Month, click here.
While Grand Circle no longer travels to Fiji, Australia & New Zealand offers snorkeling opportunities in the Great Barrier Reef and an optional extension to New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. Meet Maree Greenwood, just one of the Program Directors who will ensure you’re in good hands.