Sunday, October 14, 2012

Star-studded Snorkeling

What amazes me is the variety of colours, shapes and textures of the sea life we have seen during the last five days in the Vava'u Group of Tonga. Sapphire blue stars, soft pink and mustard yellow pillow stars lie contentedly next to rust red pencil urchins on the reef and decorate the white sandy sea floor.

Snorkeling over the coral beds is like gliding over a garden of blooming heather bushes of blush pink and lavender, graceful bonsai trees in turquoise, blue and rich dark purple, ruffled lettuce patches, mushrooms and toadstools of many hues. Under and amongst them hover tiny fishes like the sparkling blue-green chromis and fluttering damsels. Occasionally we see an anemone swaying along the reef's edge and a clown fish or two darting about, just like Nemo and his dad.

As for the fish, some are half royal blue and half yellow with golden fins and blue eyes, others sport a raiment of sparkling spots, speckles and stripes. Then there are those that resemble raccoons with their big bright eyes and long noses with white patches. We see new patterns and colour combinations every day and marvel at their complexity. Picasso would have enjoyed these abstract forms.

Amongst the most exotic creatures we have seen so far are a giant multi-coloured shrimp about 6 inches long, black and white banded snakes (venomous), and a 2 meter lemon- coloured shark with black spots that gave us a fright when it swam rapidly toward us during a reef snorkel.

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