Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Little Vava’u Underwater

So far the snorkeling in Tonga has only been mediocre but it’s the  best shelling we’ve seen. The water color is an amazing deep blue with almost unlimited visibility in some places. There just aren’t a lot of decent sized fish around. Getting into the water is a little more daunting here as some of the locals say this is the coldest winter in 14 years. With the clear water comes some really stunning underwater colors, like this bright orange coral.
vavauP8270252  There are lots of these dark blue starfish around here.
There are a couple of interesting caves to dive. This is Chris beginning to exit the Mariners Cave. Exiting is easier than entering. There’s a 20 foot or so tunnel that is maybe 8 or 10 feet underwater that you have to hold your breath and swim through to get into the cave. Since it is fairly dark inside the cave when you are initially swimming in it is hard to judge how much further you need to go- if you come up too soon you’ll bang your head good on the arch.
Leaving the cave is easier because you can see this bright blue target to swim to. Here Chris is almost out of the tunnel. When you are inside the cave if you take off your mask and watch the ceiling as the waves push in and increase the pressure the atmosphere fogs up. As the wave recedes the fog clears. Kind of spooky.
We snorkeled another cave called the Swallows Cave. The entrance to this one is big enough to take a dinghy in. It is interesting because it makes a nursery for thousands of small fish.
This is a bait-ball of small fish that is making this upside down T with the cave entrance in the background.
With Chris floating through them.
There is a fair amount of graffiti on the cave walls – both old and new. You can see graffiti from 1882 carved in this pic.
Staying on the underwater color theme here are some neon blue damselfish and black and white striped humbug dascyllus hovering outside their protective coral patch. At the slightest threat, they dart into their hidey-holes in the coral.
And a curious anemonefish come out to see who’s passing by.

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