Theresa Schempp is a student at the Towson University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Suva, Fiji.
When you think of Fiji, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Sandy white beaches, right? That was my first thought when I decided to study abroad here. And while Fiji has some of the best beaches in the world, what lies underneath the crystal waters is truly breathtaking. Fiji has some of the best coral reefs in the world, and thousands of tourists visit yearly just to experience their colors and hundreds of species of fish. While SCUBA diving is popular, snorkeling is one of the best ways to experience these natural wonders.
On a day trip in Nadi, Fiji, we took a ship to Beqa Lagoon Island to snorkel the reefs. It was a cloudy and stormy day in Nadi, and we were sure we wouldn’t see much snorkeling at an island so close. The ship, which looked like a mini-yacht, tossed and turned in the water as we made our way there. Almost instantly, the storm lifted and the sun was shining just as we made it to the coast of the island. The island looked like a paradise I only saw in my dreams: rich, lush greenery covering island mountains, with small sandy beaches hugging the clear blue water.
We suited up for our snorkeling, which included the mask, snorkel, and flippers, which made getting into our smaller boat a challenge. We took the small motorboat out to the reef, where the tanned Fijian guide turned off the motor and said simply with a smile “Get in.”
The water was a clear bright blue, and the second you looked under the water your breath caught in your snorkel. Below my feet was a burst of colorful reefs that ran along the sea floor as far as I could see. We explored all the different crevices of the reef, seeing anemones with clownfish hiding in the flowing branches to schools of angelfish swimming by our heads. Every part of the reef had something new and even more colorful than before.
We snorkeled for an hour before making our way back to the big boat. From there, we overlooked the beautiful view of Beqa Lagoon Island. It was hard to believe that I was actually here, in Fiji, for the next four months! To celebrate one of our favorite days so far, we climbed to the top of the boat, which was about ten feet from the water. I climbed over the railing and stared down at the crystal blue water. The sun glimmered like diamonds across the surface, and taking a deep breath, I dove into it. I had spontaneously decided to study abroad here, and I decided that I would take every chance with this opportunity like I did the first one: with spontaneity, a little push, and just diving in.
The world awaits…discover it.