Birding the Pacific

15 April 2014: Suva, Fiji

95% humidity and spectacular geography

30°, 95% humidity and spectacular geography

New buildings gradually rising.

New buildings gradually rising.

This is the Suva I remember from the 1980s.

This is the Suva I remember from the 1980s.

Here I am, in the Holiday Inn, Suva. Feeling apprehensive, but excited too. I am off on a Heritage Expedition, “Birding the Pacific”, no doubt with a whole lot of men (and women?) with very long lenses, to island and atoll hop from Fiji, through the islands of Vanuatu, to the Solomons, over a period of just over two weeks.  I am looking forward to warm evenings, like the one I’ve just had, drinking the excellent draft Fijian beer and eating Salad Nicoise, Fiji-style. I hope to find water still so clear and turquoise that I can forget my climate guilt and rejoice in the beauty of the planet. Hopefully we will see birds a little more exotic than the hundreds of Asian Mynahs that are found around here. Last night the full moon hung in a velvet black sky, studded with stars (and possibly mosquitos – there is a rise in rates of Dengue Fever in Fiji that is a bit of a worry). I watched the same moon set over the Maungatua as I left Dunedin a few days ago, at a truly ungodly time of the morning. In the northern hemisphere the moon is currently in eclipse: according to CNN, a “portent of doom”.  Humans are the funniest things. Let the doom begin.


2 Responses to “Birding the Pacific”

  1. Mark McGuire Says:

    Hi, Jean.

    So, how many of your woman friends used the line: “Is that a long lens or are you just glad to see me?”? Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that. I hope you had a good trip and managed to avoid any bouts of illness (a real fear when visiting places with bugs that we have no immunity to). One of my sons, (Oscar, who is 14), went on a school trip to New Caledonia over the Easter break (a French immersion experience). He was so worried that he would catch Dengue Fever that he lay awake at night, ready to swat a mosquito that he was convinced had taken up residence behind the picture on the wall above his bed! (It turns out that he was there, alright — Oscar came home with several bites, but didn’t get sick).

    • JSFleming Says:

      Well yes – getting sick was a constant worry. Taking doxycycline against malaria is no fun, and I did get bitten – right through my trousers – in one of our jungle rambles. But so far, nothing to write blogs about. It was hot and humid on most islands and renewing body water became a constant preoccupation, but I soon got used to it and happily continued, rain or fine. As for big lenses, I got the feeling that with the energy required to carry the apparatus, there was very little left for “anything else”. Birders mean serious business! But boy, they take amazing photographs.

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