Posts Tagged ‘Lepeta Island’

Fiji to Vanuatu

May 29, 2014

The Pacific ocean is that clear blue that dreams are made of; mile after mile of life-giving saline. We saw very little rubbish as we made our way from Fiji to the long archipelago of Vanuatu. The magnificent Tahitian petrel, so elegant in its wheeling black (chocolate, really) and white, passed us by without a glance.

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Tahitian petrel – photo courtesy of Heritage Expeditions

Wedge-tailed shearwaters and masked boobies made an occasional appearance and sometimes, in the distance, a finned hump of a passing cetacean was caught in the lens of binocular or camera. The flying fish provided by far the most fascinating entertainment. They ranged in size from 1-2 cm to ten times that size and their colours were many and various. Steve N G Howell is an expert on these amazing “butterflies of the sea” and Steve just happened to be with us. The mile after mile of blue ocean passed remarkably quickly, as we waited for “smurfs” or “raspberry wings” or “double harlequins” to make their appearance. Capturing them on camera was another matter… Steve’s book “The Amazing World of Flyingfish” will be out in July.

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My best attempt, compared to Steve Howell’s…

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Most amazing were the flying squid, captured beautifully on this picture of Steve’s, but really hard to distinguish, as they moved so quickly.

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After a spectacular sunset and a visit by hundreds of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, feeding nearby, we retired for a last night at sea before Vanuatu.  Once again, my observational powers were found wanting at Bird Club that night, when I realised the number of bird and cetacean species I just hadn’t seen…

Our arrival in Port Vila was marked by a trip to the market and the spotting of a few birds in the port area, like an Emerald Dove, foraging in the rubbish.

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Photo courtesy of Heritage Expeditions.

We spent a delicious afternoon on Lelepa Island, snorkelling over wonderful coral.

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Photos courtesy of Heritage Expeditions.

A group of wood swallows ignored our reluctant departure, back to the Spirit of Enderby for another magnificent dinner.

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