August 15, 2014 The Great White Wall

August 15, 2014
At Anchor: Viani Bay

Apex picked us up with the dive boat this morning, and today I dove the Great White Wall on the Rainbow Reef!!  There was a moment of despair as I put my mask on right before the dive, and one of the lenses popped out!  Turns out that yesterday’s dive shattered the plastic casing all around the edges of my mask.  Fortunately, the boat had a spare mask, but I am out of luck for snorkeling in Fiji now unless I can effect a repair with Sikaflex or Permagasket…

We descended 90 feet down along a sheer ledge that dropped into the abyss.  It was like rock climbing a vertical cliff with no ropes!  Massive coral fans reached out from the cliff wall, and thousands of fish swam vertically along the face.  We came to an area thick with soft white corals that are unique in the world only to this particular spot!  They gave the entire cliff the appearance of glowing in the dark.

Next we swam through a network of underwater caves, tunnels, and passages, some just 10 feet wide.  Inside the tunnles intricate corals and sea fans grew from the walls and ceilings, every color of the rainbow.  We spotted huge eels, sharks, tiny psychedelic nudibranchs, glowing clownfish peeking out from their anemone homes, a metallic ball-looking algae called “sailor’s eyeball”, and so many more of the most amazing fish and life forms the list could fill ten pages…It was species overload!!

After decompressing for an hour or so, we made our second dive on “The Ledge” which was a massive underwater coral “bommie”.  I will never forget the rainbow swarms of tiny fish of every shape and size, schooling and swirling in multi-colored comets and living streaks of pure magic.  It was the most remarkable event.  I stretched out my arms and flew with them.  The sun filtered down through the water and reflected off the technicolor coral and the fish parade grew thicker and denser, a shower of confetti.  Like being an ant in a bonsai garden during a ticker-tape parade…

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