Blazing colours decorate these outcrops festooned with coral.Unusually, multi-hued tropical fish pale in comparison. For a moment I wonder idiotically if I should have worn sunglasses. I point at something I don’t recognise and he writes its name in English and Latin on a water resistant sketch pad. [caption id="attachment_2116" align="alignnone" width="259"] JM Cousteau resort dive on nearby reef.[/caption] Cousteau runs a tight ship.Three children with three nannies are sitting under a coconut palm in the sand. [caption id="attachment_2114" align="alignnone" width="448"] JM Cousteau resort beach at low tide just before sunset.[/caption] A dining area is set aside for the little ones. I dine in the adults-only poolside restaurant on three courses of tasty French influenced fare.Part of the service here is a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres platter brought to my bure before dinner.[caption id="attachment_2087" align="alignnone" width="448"] Savu Savu airport landing strip with cow.[/caption] ‘Bula Vinaka! One of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort managers collects me outside the terminal.
Seven Bull sharks circle overhead, like grey submarines, bulky and watchful. These reputed human-chomping sharks swim above me in a tight formation. This dive isn’t an easy cruise through coral gardens, rather it's a test of nerves and mine are on edge. The irony is hysterically funny but in the deep, no one can hear you laugh. Suddenly there, its bulk forces smaller sharks aside to get at the bait fish.
On previous shark dives in South Africa I was alone in a cage while Great Whites eyeballed me.
Though these were extraordinarily exciting dives, I felt like a sliced lunch at the seal diner, cold and unappetising.
Like a beached walrus, I lumber as I avoid damaging fragile soft coral with a misplaced fin. A blue clown fish the size of my palm is defending its territory. [caption id="attachment_2096" align="alignnone" width="448"] Grandma Bull Shark pays a visit.[/caption] I turn slightly to check with my guide. A Java Moray eel pokes its sinuous head out of a hidey-hole, mouth agape, protuberant teeth on full view. A school of Giant Trevally do a fly-by, checking out the scene. We’re settled 35 metres deep, holding on to a rock shelf and surrounded by so much life that the ocean itself seems to pulsate. The thirty minutes of down time have flown by faster than the sharks took devouring their small lunch. The eel looks lonely as I check for bull sharks, Nemo and my fellow divers.
Accidentally sideswiping the poisonous barbs of the lionfish hiding in my shadow wouldn’t be wise either. We have two safety stops to make and my air supply is low.
My foot massage preceded a full body massage in an open bure located right on the sand. A glass of cool spring water is next to your clothes if you are thirsty.’ I forgot I was naked under the cotton sheet. A pearl farm operates down the road from the resort. [caption id="attachment_2119" align="alignnone" width="337"] J Hunter Pearl Farm on Savu Savu Bay.[/caption] Deep water flushed with nutrients and minerals brings out a unique coppery bronze colour. [caption id="attachment_2118" align="alignnone" width="317"] Unique bronze pearl from J Hunter Pearl Farm.[/caption] On calm days, guided snorkelling tours of the pearl oysters hanging on ropes in the depths make an interesting diversion, like underwater retail therapy.