Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fiji Expedition Day 2- Viti Levu and Lautoka Harbor

Northwest of Viti Levu - October 2, 3:00 p.m.
Having pulled out of Lautoka, we have set anchor at Samu Reef, off of the big island of Viti Levu and close to the Yasawa Islands group. Our first dive will give everyone the opportunity to get their dive kit squared away, maybe wet themselves for the first time in a while, and develop some report with a buddy. It was a mountain of gear that Nai'a had piled on her deck. In fact she settled 3'' lower in the water, I swear!

Bailey runs up the New England Aquarium flag as Nai'a departs lautoka. (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

The Joint Aquarium Fiji Expedition team aboard Nai'a (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

The reef at this location sees a lot of big boat traffic, the impact of large island river run-off, a recent coral bleaching, and minimized influence of deeper waters' flushing abilities of shallower areas. As a result, this dive certainly doesn't possess the vibrant, diverse and attractive coral assemblages that we'll see elsewhere on our trek. Our past dives here have contained considerable sightings of the coral-polyp munching Acanthaster planci, crown of thorns sea stars. Suspect we’ll see them again. [Read more about this species in this post from the 2009 Red Sea expedition.]

Crown of thorns sea star Acanthaster planci (Photo: Stacy Jupiter)

Lautoka Harbor- October 2, 9:00 p.m.
Just finished a terrific dinner. Once again, it is clear that none of us will lose weight this trip despite being under water for approximately 4 hours each day. Sure, the diving is great, but the delights that emerged from the galley were transcendent and had everyone whipped up in a gastronomic frenzy and ignoring the fact that they're completely whipped from a doubly long day. The smart money says everyone will be retiring soon and sleeping extremely well.


1 comment:

  1.'re the hardest working guy in the fish taxonomy business. Glad you're back in the Bligh Waters where you belong : ] Love to Keith, Les, Greg, Steve, and the whole wonderful, talented gang you have there, not to mention your fabulous crew.

    Hope you don't see much bleaching, but if you do, I know it will be well documented. Wish we were there.

    We're doing the whale shark shuffle for you, hoping we can magically call up an appearance for ya.

    Paul and Susan Erickson