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Kadavu Photo Gallery

Written by Cathy Siegismund
June 2003


We must apologize for the huge number of photos in this gallery, but we were both completely enamored with the new challenges and rewards of underwater photography. To give you an estimate of our exuberance, the first day I took 95 photos during a two tank dive, that's less than 1 1/2 hours for your non-divers. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm is not quite yet matched by our skill; but we're working on that. Also count yourself lucky that we haven't figured out how to edit and post our 8-plus hours of video footage we also have been accumulating. We're still working on editing to try to get it to look like something from the Discovery Channel.

I have been diving for close to ten years in a variety of places and although I have very rarely been on a dive I didn't enjoy, one does start to reach a point where unless you see a "big thing" such as a ray, shark, turtle, etc many of the reef dives begin to seem rather average. Once you add photography and videography, you not only have to almost relearn to dive all over again needing to gain new skills in buoyancy, take into account video/photographic considerations, but the best part is you stop to really appreciate the small things. You can spend most of a dive trying to get the perfect butterfly fish shot, spot a small cleaner shrimp, or a nudibrach.

I also beg the forgiveness of those of you with stronger marine biology backgrounds than I. I no doubt will misname some of these lovely sea creatures. One of my plans in Australia or when we return home next Christmas is to find a good fish/coral identification book, or better yet find one on CD or DVD. If any of our readers know of one, please send us the name.

Most of our dives explored different spots along the inside of the reef, which surrounds Kadavu. Although a couple went outside the reef and one included a 3-tank dive down to a mountainous part of the island for a nice wall dive.

Barracuda   Boxfish

Butterfly Fish   Moorish Idols

   

Two shots of a lovely clown trigger fish, the one on the right
is after we discovered the correct filter to use on the camera

   

The beautiful lionfish, as long as you keep a safe distance from those feathery spines

   

Two varieties of Sweet lip fish we saw on almost every dive in Fiji

Squirrel Fish   Surgeon Fish

   

Some of our early attempts at macro photography,
a tiny juvenile boxfish on the left and a nudibrach on the right

   

A reclusive lobster only showing his tentacles and an enormous mantis shrimp

   

Varying schooling fish

Very large type of sea cucumber, I think...

   

A very still turtle, until Joeli gave him a little pat and even then he only slowly swam away

Spider conch and a giant clam common to the South Pacific ranging in colors and can be over 2 feet long

   

A lovely cowry shell and a large crab held by the divemaster

   

A large pillow star and a pair of much smaller starfish show the reef's diversity

I have always really liked eels, having pet a moray in French Polynesia and always having been thrilled when I see a moray free swimming. Here in Fiji, I was introduced to a new eel for me, called a blue ribbon eel.

Blue ribbon eel

They are only an inch or so wide, but can grow up to three feet long, though we never saw one completely outside of its hole. I was fascinated with these delicate and beautifully colored eels. My photos don't do the colors justice as I was still working on mastering the use of lights and filters, but the heads and a stripe running down their backs are a bright yellow and the body is a vibrant blue.

Blue ribbon eel being coaxed a little farther out of his hole with a twig held by the divemaster

One of our dives also included a shark dive, which brought in about six white tips. Before feeding the sharks, Joeli also fed a pair of large brown moray eels, which shared a hole.

   

   

Moray eel feeding

Fiji is well known for its incredibly beautiful and diverse hard and soft corals. The colors are amazing and the large fans are fantastic. I won't even try to name the diverse and breathtaking types of corals and invertebrates that live among them.

Lettuce Coral   

   

   

   

   

   

   

      

   

   

   

An interesting enemy of the reefs of Fiji, other than man, global warming and pollution, is a creature called a crown of thorns. It belongs to the starfish family and has a voracious appetite for coral reefs.

Crown of thorns

The Fijians will periodically collect these off the reef, take them ashore and bury them. Other islands have made the mistake of just cutting them up in the water to destroy them. This, like a starfish, just causes each severed piece to re-grow the rest of the animal and increase the problem.

Ken seemed to get a number of photos of me working on my video skills, which I did with more or less success.

      

Cath practicing with the underwater video housing

One of my favorite fish subjects are the clown, or anemone, fish. There are several species of these, which all have a symbiotic relationship with an anemone . The clown fish lives in the anemone and the very nervy little clown fish protects it against predators who would eat it.

Two clown fish in an anemone

The stinging anemone, in turn, protects the clown fish from predators. The clown fish is immune to the sting of the anemone. These are probably our favorite photo/video subjects. There are several reasons for this, they are really cute fish, which will usually face you as you approach their anemone; they are very tenacious and will try to even chase a diver away from their anemone or at least play hide and seek within it; and we have to admit we may have been a little influenced by the movie Finding Nemo, which we really loved.

   

   

   

A variety of clown fish, one of our favorite underwater subjects

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