Friday, May 18, 2012

Fiji, March 15; Two Quick Trips to Waya Island

Waya Island, Kadavu; March 15, 2012 (Fiji Beachcombing series No.6):   Unidentified corals, coconut seed (Cocos nucifera), scallop, cone snail, and clam shells (all unidentified species), aluminum aerosol bottle, and a mysterious gastropod shell

Just offshore from Matava is Waya Island. Matava has mudflats and mangroves, Waya has white sand and volcanic rocks. It's a little father away than it looks though - there's a serious reef between us! It was a bright, sunny day with only an occasional rain shower, so in the morning I kayaked across with my 11 year old daughter for a quick reconnaissance before she went off on the dive boat.

My daughter showing off her beachcombing bucket - half a coconut shell. There were dozens of giant clam shells littering the shore (probably eaten by the island's caretaker.) Lots of cone shells along the tide line and in the water, too. We'd been warned about their poisonous sting so we had our water shoes on. We only came across a couple of live ones. I'm a cautious beachcomber, anyway - I figure anyplace worth beachcombing is going to have things you don't want to step on!
Later, while the others dove, I surrendered to the heat and lay around reading Swiss Family Robinson. Seemed appropriate. (Over the course of the trip I also read Robinson Crusoe and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.) In the afternoon I went back to Waya with a grownup friend. The kayak was much easier to handle! We only had a short time to explore before she was due back at the dive boat, but we made the best of it. There was a narrow gap at the rocky end of the island - almost a cave - so we went exploring there and found...
...a banded sea krait sleeping in a corner! (Probably Laticauda colubrina.) They are not particularly aggressive, but they are extremely poisonous, so having almost stepped on it in the darkness, we left in a hurry.
We also saw this little crab determinedly prying her dinner off the rocks. Poor Mr. Limpet...

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.  Live animals were photographed as they were found and left in place.

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