Hi everyone. Today is exceptionally exciting - we are going coral collecting!
On the way to the wharf, we stopped at this bread store to buy uh "bread". We will eat the bread and canned mackerel for lunch.
Two loaves of bread, some drinks, and two cans of mackerel for lunch. I discovered five years ago that canned mackerel and bread is the perfect food while out on the water.
We tried to get closer to get a better picture, but the whale dove and disappeared. You can see the tail in this picture. Later we saw another whale jump out of the water! I didn't have my camera handy and missed it, but still it was exciting!
So we got to the collecting grounds. It was away from the islands and middle of nowhere. This was a shallow reef, so shallow that waves were breaking over the rocks.
No dumping on the boat, Teau! Anyhow, if you got to go and no toilet, then this is how you do it - over the edge! Then, you simply splash some water and you're done. I told Teau that I was going to put this picture on my blog and he said "no you wouldn't" - and I said ha ha I have to, because it is my job to report embarrassing things!
I have not been on a boat in a while, or at least out in the sea for a long period. I started to get sea sick. I found out that for me, when I start feeling not so good, I eat some of this canned mackerel and feel much better. Don't know why, but bread and mackerel works for me.
The other guys like to eat with heavy butter but I prefer plain dipped in the juice! Note that I also have a wet suit on, but didn't feel good to go into the water yet.
One of the tricks of not getting sea sick is to keep busy doing something. I grabbed my fishing pole and caught this banana wrasse!
Here are some that were collected. The corals are pale in color because the photos are taken in sun light. Under aquarium lights, these would look really nice.
After using all of the scuba tanks, it was time to head back. We passed this little charming island on the way home.
By the time we got back to the wharf, the sun was setting. Other boaters were coming back as well. In this case, coming back from a sea cucumber hunt!
We unloaded the boat and headed for the fisheries place. We temporarily rented some tanks to hold our corals.
As the sun was setting, I took these pictures with flash. You really have to put the corals under proper lights to see the true colors, but at least you get the idea. This is a metallic orange scolymia.
Tonga is known for their Pavona maldivensis. They come in orange and green, but this strange specimen seems purplish green - way cool!
Another nice purple encrusting montipora. Tonga has encrusting and plating types of montiporas, but I have yet to see the swirling kind.
A very large echinophyllia. You can't see it, but actually it has red eyes! Fraggers dream come true.
This tongue looking coral is actually a fungid. Tonga doesn't have much of these type of corals and certainly orange ones like this one, is pretty rare.
Probably this yellow leather is the most famous Tongan coral. It is one of those bread and butters out of Tonga.
Strange looking green encrusting montipora with purplish polyps. Tau, who found the coral swears he saw red polyps. Perhaps under the proper lighting, red polyps can be seen.
Another cool looking chalice. I can tell the base color has green but appears brown with the flash photo. Note the cool little whitish pink blotches.
Green euphyllias are uncommon in Tonga. This nice little Euphyllia cristata happened to be one of those "uncommon" pieces.
Another Pavona maldivensis. This one is orange green. Under low halides, these corals turn into metallic superstars!
Ok guys that is it for today. I hoped you enjoyed this post. Tomorrow we will be going out to collect corals again. It is now 1 in the morning and I am very tired. Posting every day is a staggering amount of work!