Monday, August 30, 2010

Tonga - Day 4!

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.
We also picked up some pastries for breakfast.

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 got to the wharf and started to load the boat with dive equipment and containers to hold corals.

Two five gallons of gasoline should be enough for today.

Here is a view as we left the wharf to the collecting grounds.

We saw a whale, probably a humpback as they are common here in Tonga.

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.

We anchored in about 15 feet of water. It was super clear.

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!

After doing his thing, Tau and Teau get ready to dive for corals.

With a collecting bin, the guys are off!

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 bread is not cut, so I just rip pieces out.

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!

Pretty fish! A young male banana wrasse caught with chunks of turbo snails.

Soon after I caught the fish, the guys came back with corals!

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!

A local guy fishing on the wharf, wonder if he is catching anything?

The guys were waiting by to pick us up.

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!

A nice leptastrea with pink purplish centers! The divers tell me that it was red in the ocean.

Another leptastrea species. This one is orange with green bluish centers!

Strange marbled favia - red, pink, and lavendar!

Nice pink and yellow favia!

Check out this large montipora. It is purple but has green high-lights!

A nice red lobophyllia!

This lobo looks brown, but actually it is orange - green.

Another Pavona maldivensis. This one is an orange green plating specimen.
The flash made this very nice cyphastrea look dull. I think it has red polyps!

A blue green favites, or could be a goniastrea!

Another nice purple encrusting montipora. Tonga has encrusting and plating types of montiporas, but I have yet to see the swirling kind.

Strange green and pinkish Acan subechinata!

A very large echinophyllia. You can't see it, but actually it has red eyes! Fraggers dream come true.

One of my favorite montis from Tonga, the famous peltiformis!

Another chalice with red eyes!

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.

A cute little echinophyllia chalice. Appears green pink with peach eyes.

Pink and white chalice with darker pink eyes!

Nice looking Acanthastrea subechinata.

Another nice purple montipora!

This large echino looks brown, but actually it is red with red eyes!

Probably this yellow leather is the most famous Tongan coral. It is one of those bread and butters out of Tonga.

This green finger leather is also a popular Tongan soft coral.

Cute little purple astreopora!

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.

A tiny little favia - orange, green and white!

Green euphyllias are uncommon in Tonga. This nice little Euphyllia cristata happened to be one of those "uncommon" pieces.

Nice montipora, great shape and color - purplish green!

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!



Wpspfan said...

What do you do with these corals? Do you sale any? If so where can I go to look and buy?

Roaming Rhonda said...

Thanks for a greeat read

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