Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fiji Expedition: Another Goodbye and Photos

This post was written by frequent Global Explorers Blog contributor Keith Ellenbogen.

Nasavu Village, Nadi District, Bua Province
Keith Ellenbogen

Today is the day I dread most of all. It’s the day that I say goodbye to my new friends from far away across the Pacific Ocean. While I have been to Fiji before, I have never been fortunate to live and integrate into village life. The people were welcoming way beyond my expectations. Although I was only there for one week, as we shook hands to say goodbye I could feel the bond of friendship lasting a lifetime.

 Nasavu villagers (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

For me one of the most memorable experiences was powering up the generator each night to review the pictures of the day. Typically, I look at each picture alone. But life in the village is community-based and many of the people were interested in what we saw each day, particularly since no one in the village owns a camera. Photographs in Nasavu are rare, cherished possessions that hang on the walls long after they have faded and bent.

 Keith Ellenbogen with the Nasavu villagers (Photo: Rebecca Weeks)

Within the veranda of our small tin house, tens of men, women and children crowded over my shoulder to look at pictures both of themselves and the underwater world [as seen in the photos in this post]. Even though Nasavu village is located right next to the sea, for some of the people this was a first look underwater and for others it was a new way of looking at their coral reefs [as seen in the photos in this post]. The images sparked conversations that hopefully, in conjunction with the research, will lead towards marine conservation and a sustainable future.

 Navasu village (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

 (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

One of the best ways that this can be done is by making people aware of the unique species right in their own backyard, such as the Fiji fang blenny (Meiacanthus oualauensis) and the red and black anemonefish (Amphiprion barberi) [Image in this previous expedition post], that are native to the region. Not to mention these other amazing animals.

 Reef crab, similar to one photographed in 2009 (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

Nudibranch, other nudibranchs photographed in 2010 (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

 Bull sharks photographed in Beqa in 2011 (Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

(Photo: Keith Ellenbogen)

Until next time. I hope you enjoyed all the images and stories. As they say in Fiji, vinaka vakalevu (thank you!).


Facebook Comments


Post a Comment