Day 51, Year 2: Fish, Fish, and More Fish
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2007
Weather: Same Old, Same Old–Another Beautiful Day in Paradise
Location: Korolevu Bay, Kadavu Island, Fiji
So what is life really like here in Korolevu Bay? The village of Kadavu is up the river and is only accessible when the tide is high. No boats can go in and out at low tide or on either side of low for a couple of hours. This is a large village with about 500 people, or so we were told. It certainly doesn’t look like that many people live there, but maybe there are dwellings out of the main village that we didn’t see. There is no electricity or running water in the village, but as in all of
the villages we have visited, there are televisions in the homes and satellite dishes on some roofs. In the evening, the village generator is turned on so folks can watch TV. The generator on Dravuni Island was not working, and neither was the one in Vacaleya village. We didn’t ask in Kadavu, so we don’t know. Then there is our little village of sailboats. We are now five. (I didn’t think that many boats could fit in here, but are doing just fine.) Another boat came in today. It was Moet.
Franz and Sylvia and their three-year old son, Dillon, are aboard Moet. There are also three other young people, two men and a woman. I think they are surfers from Europe here on vacation. I had heard that Franz, an avid surfer, sometimes hosts people for a week and provides them with surfing experiences. I think this is the way he and Sylvia make the money needed for cruising. Even though we are on sailboats, we have electric lights and running water. Our boats have many more modern conveniences
than the local villages. Not far from us is the Matava Resort. They also do not have electric lights, but they do have solar panels and generate enough electricity for strategically placed lights (very small ones) and running water. Once darkness falls, the only lights that can be seen around here are the lights on our sailboats. The rest of the world is black. Except for the sky that is so full of stars that it looks like it will just burst. Our days are filled with snorkeling and seeing so
many beautiful fish and corals that we are truly overwhelmed at the end of each snorkeling session. So that is a brief summary of what life is like in Korolevu Bay.
At 9:15 this morning, Mark took Paul and Marie of Ranger to Matava Resort so they could catch the morning shuttle (a small open boat with a large outboard motor) to the Kadavu airport. They were going to meet Paul’s daughter, Cindy. She was flying into the small airport located near Vunisea. That is the administrative center of Kadavu Island. From here, you have to go a few miles inside the reef and then go through a small boat pass and into Soso Bay to get there. The trip takes about an hour.
Since Paul, Marie, and Cindy didn’t return until late afternoon, we didn’t get a chance to talk to them to see how the trip went. We will ask tomorrow. They went in one of the open boats from the resort, and although they move fast, it was probably a wet ride today. We met cindy on a Le Truck bus in Papeete, Tahiti, last summer and will look forward to seeing her again tomorrow. Welcome, Cindy!!
It is much windier today (glad we didn’t head out of here yesterday) than it has been, so even taking the dinghy over to Waya Island to snorkel meant a wet ride today. But we didn’t let a little water stop us. Gerry and Donna of Scot Free II went with us again today and this time we went just before low tide and snorkeled for over an hour. I really like snorkeling with the morning light shining through the water and dancing about everything, and I like snorkeling this reef at low tide as I can
see all of the fish that live down the slope of the reef. I found my anemonefish friends again today. I just love watching the larger anemonefish swim around protecting the little guys. I have seen the turquoise and orange anemonefish (what looks like a momma or a pappa with a baby) each time I have snorkeled, but yesterday I found another family of tomato anemonefish–four larger fish and two babies–that I really enjoyed watching. I didn’t find them today, but I will be back out there tomorrow
looking once again. I borrowed the Finding Nemo DVD from Ranger and can’t wait to watch it. I’ve never seen it, but now that I have two families of anemonefish that I am observing daily, I think the movie will be great fun to watch.
One book we have classifies fish according to body shape, color, and use of fins. Another book we have simply divides the world’s fish population by Indo-Pacific species and Caribbean species and then further divides by the the various species. Yet another book we have onboard divides by cartilaginous and bony fishes, and then by species. This is our biggest reference book onboard and it is becoming our bible. It is called Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific and was given to us by our
friends Linda, Michael, and Garrett Stuart when they visited us in Rarotonga last year. In fact, I think all of our fish reference books for the Pacific were given to us by them. We thank them over and over each day as we return from snorkeling and quickly grab the books to identify what we have seen. So thank you, thank you, thank you to the Stuarts! The more we observe, I can see that we are starting to divide by general characteristics and then by species. So our list of observed fish in
the Korolevu Bay reef community looks something like this (groups copied from the Reef Fish Identification book (for the Caribbean, Florida, and Bahamas) by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach:
1. Disks and Ovals/Colorful–butterflyfish, angelfish, and surgeonfish
2. Sloping Heads/Tapered Bodies–grunt and snapper
3. Small Ovals–damselfish, chromis, hamlet/sea bass
4. Swim with Pectoral Fins/Obvious Scales–parrotfish, wrasse, hogfish, razorfish
5. Reddish/Big Eyes–squirrelfish, bigeye, cardinalfish
6. Small, Elongated Bottom-Dwellers–gobie, blennie, dragonet, jawfish
7. Odd-Shaped Swimmers–trumpetfish, cornetfish, filefish, goatfish, drum, remora
During our snorkeling forays here we are not seeing fish in the following categories:
8. Silvery Fish like barracuda and wahoo
10. Sharks and Rays
11. Odd-Shaped Bottom Dwellers like flounder and scorpionfish
12. Heavy Bodies with Large Lips like grouper and sea bass
So we will continue to add to our list the fish sited in the first seven groups. Once in a while we see a fish from one of the other groups. For instance, yesterday we saw a lionfish and a bluestiped lizardfish from the Odd-Shaped Bottom Dwellers group. As with everything else in life, not everything fits neatly in labeled box.
Dear Judy and Mark,
What a beautiful description of the paradise you are experiencing. A sky bursting with stars, and snorkeling over the coral reef, seeing all those amazing fish sounds like a blast! Thanks for taking us along for the ride.