Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fiji: March 14; Mudflats and the Molaniki

Matava, Kadavu; March 14, 2012 (Fiji Beachcombing series No.2):    Unidentified shell, Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus sp.), Vutu flower stems (Barringtonia asiatica), 'mudstones,' vertebrae of a very large but unidentified fish

Matava, Kadavu; March 14, 2012 (Fiji Beachcombing series No.5):   Bone, Sally Lightfoot crab shells (Grapsus sp.), and mudstone. I can't figure out what these stones are really called, but they feel sedimentary and you can crush them with your fingers, so I called them mudstone.

On the second day, Richard and Cheri took me across the bay to an abandoned resort. They had arranged a meeting with the caretaker to see if anything could be salvaged, and I went along because it sounded like an adventure.
You can see it isn't terribly old, but was built right smack on the shoreline. The hillside behind is crumbling, and the bures get soaked by waves during storms. The mold on their screens looks like Venetian marbled paper:
The main building must have been gorgeous when it was new. This was the lobby, I think, with a carved wood bar and cavernous ceilings. Storms have ripped off parts of the roof.

It was very beautiful and very depressing. Such a waste of materials on an island where everything must be brought in at enormous expense ... The property is apparently embroiled in lawsuits and tangled in mortgages. It reminded me that Bleak House wasn't the tremendous exaggeration I thought when I read it in college.

At least the fungi are happy there!

Another day of dramatic clouds and sunshine.
After lunch I explored the mudflats some more. Everywhere I looked there were intriguing creatures.
The fiddler crabs were everywhere, and I've got a whole post planned for you about them. They were just too cool to squash in with everybody else.
The mudskippers were highly entertaining. These are little amphibious fish, maybe three to five inches long, who hang out in the thin skim of water left at low tide near the creek outfall. When you splash through the mudflats, they skip ahead of you like self-tossing stones.

It's a gastropod and it's feeding. Now you know as much as I do! You can see how these animals make use of the tiniest bit of water - it's only a little bit deeper than the diameter of that siphon. I look at the mudflats and think, "The tide's out, there are only a few puddles there," but really there is a whole watery microsystem. This is why I love the littoral zone so much. Always with the surprises and the challenges.
Salt-stained tree bark.

Matava, Kadavu; March 14, 2012 (Fiji Beachcombing series No.4)

Matava, Kadavu; March 14, 2012 (Fiji Beachcombing series No.2):   Unidentified shell, bones of a very large fish, Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus sp.), Vutu flower stems (Barringtonia asiatica), 'mudstones,' vertebrae of an unidentified fish, Fijian penny.

P.S. For those of you concerned about wildlife: all the still lives were taken in Fiji, everything in them was found dead on the shore, and most of the things I photographed went back on the beach when I finished.  I'll show you my portable light tent in a later post. Live animals were photographed as they were found and left in place.


  1. Am loving your adventure Jenn. Amazing photographs. I just can't believe that abandoned resort. How lucky were you to go along for the ride. It's so sad isn't it. How could this happen in this day and age. Such a horrible waste. Looking forward to your next post. Pruxxx

    1. Hi Pruxx! It was an amazing trip - my first time south of the equator, too. The resort really was sad, but it was also beautiful - a modern ruin.

    2. molaniki survivorJuly 29, 2012 at 6:34 AM

      Hi Jenn
      I was working at the resort for two close friends when it was being built. It has a very chequered history, largely due to the man behind its concept. He had big plans, but lacked the financial backing and the moral fortitude to make it a success. I am very surprised that there is anything left, I would have thought the locals would have ransacked the place after the way they were treated.

    3. No, there's a local man who acts as caretaker for the bank; he showed us around. Wind and tides will do it in very soon, though. The mountainside behind the resort shows scars from recent earthslides, too. Are you still in Fiji?