Monday, May 21, 2012

Fiji, March 17; Circumambulating Waya Island

(Fiji Beachcombing series No.8):   Fluted Giant Clam shell (Tridacna squamosa), Spider Conch (Lambis sp.), Top Shell (Trochus sp.), sea glass, pumice, and several species I couldn’t identify, including a cowrie, coral branches, scallop, and Cone Snail.

The stars of today's still life are a (small) Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa) and some sort of Spider Conch (Lambis spp.) There were lots of the clams in our area, and their lips have the most psychedelic patterns:
Video by Marine Life Europe via YouTube.

Here's where we found these beauties:
My daughter and I headed back to Waya Island. This time, having learned the difficulty of navigating a strong tide through a deep and narrow channel in a two-person kayak with one adult, I asked George to drop us off in the skiff. Wimpy, but I planned to beachcomb all the way around the island, so I needed to save a little energy.
It was hot, humid, and sporadically rainy, which did my hair no favors but made for some beautiful clouds.
This time I got to study the unfamiliar geology a little closer.  I wish I had a way to show you the scale here. See the carved-out tip of the island?
Here it is a little closer. It's roughly 8' tall. The ferns seem to be clinging to bare rock.
This is just a little past that point. The cliff is layered like a sedimentary stone, but the layers are made of a volcanic-type stone set in what looks like mud.
Doesn't it look like you could just pull one of those stones right out of the mud? It's more like concrete, though. We actually had to climb over a bit at the other end of the island, and we used these like handholds on a climbing wall. They are quite solid.
And yet that muddy-looking matrix must be pretty soft, because the whole coastline is sculpted like this, with the volcanic stone lying loose on the beach.  Doesn't that island look like something Dr. Seuss would have drawn?
 The patina on this giant clam was so beautiful...
A small Trochus. I think these are called Top Shells. The outer covering had been eroded off, and the nacre looked like silvery pearl.
This beauty had a hermit crab inside, so I photographed it underwater and left it alone. Can you see the tip of a claw peeking out?
Big fat sea cucumber in the shallows!
My second Banded Sea Krait! Not bad for a non-diver. We'd been in Fiji long enough to become relatively cavalier about sighting dangerous creatures. Like the wasps in our bure, they just don't seem interested in us, so we felt free to watch them (from a safe distance.)
A plethora of kraits! When he came to pick us up in the skiff, George brought a baby water snake in a Fiji Water bottle. He let it go after I took the photo.
What do you think - crustacean or not? It's on a mudflat and looks like a trilobite, so I'm leaning toward crustacean, but it could be some other kind of insecty arthropod... I don't even know where to begin looking for IDs.
 This beautiful beetle landed on my leg during cocktail hour. Such amazing iridescent greens! I have a dozen photos of it because the colors shifted with the angle.
 One last bit of cultural education - don't walk under the coconut trees when the nuts are almost ripe. Bonk!
(Fiji Beachcombing series No.9)

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