The Little Clownfish From The Reef

clown fish fiji

Yesterday, I decided to spend my only full day here in Nadi by heading out to one of the little islands off the coast. I booked a trip through the hostel then eventually headed on an incredibly bumpy little motor boat, arriving absolutely drenched 45 minutes later. Nearly all of the little islands have each been claimed by a ‘resort’ or hotel. This one was ‘Beachcomber’ Island.

Beachcomber Island fiji

white heron fiji

beach comber island fiji

The people were hilariously friendly. In fact the welcoming through guitar playing and singing seems to happen everywhere: walking into the airport to a small group made me giggle but watching them serenade the boat as we approached the island was even more entertaining. The three of us that were visiting for the day got a further 5 minute session of ‘goodbye song’ before we left, through which we were told to sit about a metre away from them and were not really sure where to look! A few other cultural things were put on such as a kava ceremony.  This is something which I’m sure I’ll become more familiar with when I return so I’ll leave a description until then…As you can see, despite the wind and clouds, the islands are very Maldives-esque. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that it was overcast so I didn’t get fried whilst spending so much time in the water!

The island lived up to it’s name: within the first few yards I’d already found four sea beans and a couple of cowries. I counted 17 of these lovely little things after the day was done! The tide sank pretty low after lunch so I headed out for a couple more laps of the island – I was delighted to find a little black and blue nudibranch swimming about in one of the little pools! So beautiful.

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This was a funny little flightless bird wandering about the place

This was a funny little flightless bird wandering about the place

The island provided the opportunity for me to test out the relatively cheap underwater case I bought for my small camera. It worked perfectly well so fingers crossed that continues! Although the visibility was poor due to the wind, and recent bad weather, it was lovely to be out with a few old favourites: parrot, trigger, angel fish etc. There’s a reason why a chose a song from the ‘Finding Nemo’ soundtrack for the title of this post: All of the clown fish seem to current have eggs or young. They all, consequently, posed beautifully for me above their anemone nests. My underwater accuracy wasn’t adequate enough to get the adorably tiny little nemo specks in the pictures but here’s a compilation of some protective parents!

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Back on land, they had a turtle nursery on the island where they help the little ones to survive the initial stages of life so that they can then be released back into the ocean. So cute!

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I also enjoyed stalking this beautiful little heron about the place as it looked for goodies in the low tide line.

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Overall, a day well spent, I think!

beach comber island fiji

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Darkness Between The Fireflies

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Next stop: Monteverde. My frustration with the health and safety rules continues. The Monteverde cloud forest itself was in fact so cloudy that we could barely see anything on our three hour hike through the park. The hummingbirds however in the national park’s ‘humming bird garden’ were simply stunning: ranging in many different luxurious colours and sizes.

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We decided to explore the lower forest that night and stumbled across a number of different creatures including agoutis (like a small version of a capybara), racoons, numerous fireflies, white-nosed coati and red-kneed tarantulas. We were also harrased by the tarantula wasp, which apparently gives one of the most painful stings in the world. It kept landing on our clothes – my back for example or our guides neck. Not nice! The forest became unusually quiet for a significant period of time – the reason soon became apparent  We got a very brief glimpse at a mountain lion wandering through an old farm!

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‘Headlight click beetle’. When in the air it shines about twice as brightly as the fireflies. It also has a nifty way of flipping itself over when it’s stuck on it’s back: It tucks it’s legs in and makes a loud ‘click’ noise with it’s wings plopping back over onto it’s front!

ImageI have to admit that I was completely unaware that scorpions reflect UV light! Pretty cool.

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True Colours

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Scarlet Macaws are undoubtedly an incredibly beautiful specimen of nature. Their delicate patterns and rich colours seem almost artificial in their extravagance.

The Mayan ruins of Copán, Honduras, where streaked with flashes of vivid reds, blues and yellows as hoards of Macaws flew overhead creating an unforgettable backdrop to yet another fascinating archaeological site.

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Copan ruins are renowned for the abundance of hieroglyphs amongst the ruins, the majority of which are yet to be interpreted. Dates are one of the few sets of hieroglyphs which historians have managed to master. Each date has its own unique properties which are only repeated after the solar system has completed a full cycle every 52 years. My birth date for example, the 2nd of October 1992, has its own properties and characteristics which were thought to be typical of those born on that particular date. My colour is blue, my stones are Amethyst and Lapislasul, my points of energy are the crown of my head and my left big toe (which is rather worse for wear at the moment following the night out in Argentina), My number of good fortune should be 15, I need to remember to ‘put myself first’ and my animals are the rare Blue Eagle and the Deer. These particular characteristic will be common to those born on this exact date 52 years before and after my birthday.

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Above is the head of a dragon Carving. Many of the mayan relics reflect ancient chinese and Japanese culture. Here the dragon’s eyes and mouth have maintained some of their original red colouring. All of the ruins would originally have been brightly coloured in reds yellows and blues. Below is an alternative to the ball game I spoke of in Chichen-Itza, Mexico (Ulumi) Here the teams would aim to hit the ball at one of the stone Macaw heads, using only their torso, elbows and knees to bat the ball around.

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Speaking of deer, bizarrely, having arrived now on Roatan Island off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, I spotted a deer on the beach at night after popping in for a late night swim. It was incredibly surreal, as you could imagine! What’s more, the doe seemed incredibly tame, munching on the shrubs at the edge of the beach a mere few metres away from me and watching attentively.

Roatan is very similar to Caye Caulker in that it is a classic laid-back Caribbean Island. Unfortunately our visit has coincided with a bout of rather bad weather so snorkelling has not been particularly successful. We have however become familiar with the local bars which offer the most fantastic cocktails on the beach! Bliss!

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“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” 

– William Shakespeare, ‘As you like it’

Three Little Birds

“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.”
― Dave Barry

It’s night two at our camp near the Iguazu falls. The weather has been alternating between bright blue skies and heavy rain. We’ve had our fair share of rain throughout the trip so far. It’s not much to complain about as it’s still very warm and seems to be counterbalanced by an equal or larger amount of sun…not ideal when setting up tents though!

We had to endure a 16 hour drive from Bonito yesterday. Actually the time passed incredibly quickly; a few of us took over the table at the front of the truck and got pretty competitive over card games, eventually merging into drinking games when the sun went down. Not a bad way to spend 16 hours on the road! However, It did result in slightly drunken, blind and rainy tent-pitching!

We’ve made up for yesterdays inaction by starting early with a visit to a local bird park before heading down to the falls and signing up for a spontaneous bit of white water rafting! It was in hindsight a complete scam as the rafting turned out to be 3 minutes of ‘white water’ followed by an hour of slowly drifting down a calm river. However, doing flips into the water off the ‘trampoline’ that was the inflatable raft, certainly improved the excursion. Particularly the embarrassing slips that started arising as the raft got wetter! I attempted to do a front hand spring into the water and instead spectacularly face-planted onto the raft.

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Here’s the classic toucan which we spotted frequently in the Pantanal.

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Hummingbirds are the cutest little creatures in Brazil.

Scarlet Ibis

And here’s a striking Scarlet Ibis.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

IMG_0844The falls are crawling with these little Coatis! Very sweet but incredibly cheeky! One of them grabbed a mans camera out of his hand and ran off with it!

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And lastly, here’s a shot of a sneaky toucan taking a peck at my toe!!