Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kadavu Below Sea Level

We have had two good snorkels in the area of Naigoro Pass. Click on any picture for a slide show.

Large puffer fish - about 45 cms

Coral cascade

Soft corals

I think these are a type of worm that looks like a feather

We motored Ladybug to a sand shelf inside the pass yesterday and anchored in 10 feet of sand falling back off the shelf into 40 feet. The holding was marginal in a sand and coral debris bottom, so I dived and set a second Danforth style anchor in line with the main one to ensure we would not drag off the shelf. We then rowed our dinghy out toward the pass over a field of coral about 2 feet below us at lowish tide. We anchored in a big patch of emerald water over sand a few hundred meters from the pass and swam the rest of the way, entering the pass from the side, well inside the actual entrance. The current was flooding, but was very light for most of the swim. Only in a few places did we have to struggle to stay in place. Of course these were where the best soft corals were to be seen (soft corals seem to love good current).

Rani pointed out the orange brain coral.

Hawksbill turtle

And another shot. Note the hooked nose and overlapping shell plates.

The rowing dinghy works well when trying to get close to the pass across a large shallow coral field.

Rani enjoys the crystal clear water. Vatulutu island is in the background.

Visibility was excellent and highlights included two good sightings of Hawksbill turtles, dozens of large parrot fish, and even a giant wrasse - a bit under a meter long.

These little bottom fish were all over the sand near Vatalutu island. They look a bit like tiny crocodiles.

Hard coral panorama

Nice formations on the edge of the drop-off.

Butterfly fish duo
 The swell began to roll in as the tide rose, so we returned to our snug anchorage off Matasawalevu village, where holding is excellent in mud about 8-12 feet below the keel.

Sea serpent

Detail - note the small head relative to a land snake.

This snake launched itself towards me passing only a few inches from my mask on the way to the surface.

Large cabbage like coral

After our hike at Vatalutu island we snorkeled the reef off this island. Visibility was not as good as in the pass, but we had some good sightings of sea snakes and smaller fish, including some very colourful wrasses.

Bird wrasse

Colourful wrasse - Rani's best fish shot to date, I think.

Mushroom coral

More cabbage-like leafy coral with worms reaching from its center.

I love the different textures and colours in such a small area

Crown of thorns starfish. This eats corals, leaving the skeleton bleached white. 

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