Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alacrity Rocks and Ono Island

Ladybug in Nabouwalu Bay

Ono island lies just north of the large island of Kadavu within the Great Astrolabe reef. We are anchored off the village of Nabouwalu on the west coast of Ono. The winds have swung into the southwest and a very uncomfortable swell is currently rolling into the bay making us wish we had left this afternoon for a safe anchorage at the north end of Ono. Instead we went snorkeling on the Alacrity Rocks after rowing a little over a mile out to the reef in our dinghy.

Soft corals were not common at the Alacrity Rocks

Colorful hard corals and small fish abound

The visibility at Alacrity Rocks was quite good - I would estimate it at well over 15 meters - and the rocks are covered in hectares of colorful hard corals. There were only a few larger fish on the outside of the rocks, perhaps because the tide was still ebbing during our swim. We saw a white tipped shark cruising below us about 10 meters down, a large barracuda-like fish about a meter long, and a baby giant wrasse of perhaps half a meter. I was surprised to see few soft corals, but there were some colorful patches of these on the seaward side of a couple of the rocks.

Anemone fish 

Closeup of Anemone Fish and shy friend (behind)

Rani checks out a spectacular formation

There are fissures and tunnels in several places and I swam down through one of the tunnels a few times filming a video on my second and third attempts. I will try to post one of these when I can access a fast computer to process them.

Vagabond Butterfly Fish

There were large schools of small fish on the seaward side of several rocks

Rani swims over while I dive to photograph a school of fish

We have been enjoying getting to know the villagers, who are friendly to yachties. Today the chief's wife and daughter served us a 'porridge' from pumpkin, pawpaw  (papaya), and coconut milk. The first 2 ingredients are cooked together and the result is of the texture of porridge with (predictably) a sweet pumpkin taste. We also tried making cassava pancakes yesterday but did not get the same results as the locals do. It has been quite interesting trying to eat more the way the locals do, although I cannot see myself consuming the large amounts of taro, cassava, and other starchy roots that make up the typical diet here.

After a 2.5 mile row and a couple of hours of snorkeling we went for a walk on the beach and put in some bouldering on the craggy volcanic rocks.

Nice beach with a few good shells. The beach is just north of Nabouwalu Bay and can be reached from the village. The island marks the north side of Nabouwalu Bay

Aisea sketches the villages of Ono island  on a map for us.

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