The guardians of Namena Marine Reserve were devastated by Cyclone Winston and have received very little aid.From previous visits and coordination with their chief, we arranged to bring in much-needed school furnishings like desks, tables and filing cabinets.Being a very experienced member of ski patrol in one of the more challenging areas of the States though, she was no stranger to a little excitement, which certainly helped her stay calm under pressure!Mysteriously, the current was blissfully slack as we jumped in on Maytag for our first dive in Vatu-i-ra.It was the Winter Solstice and full moon, so we found some dynamic currents.On consecutive dives there, we found a ton of enthralling marine life like brown banded pipefish, a baby flasher scorpionfish, several sleek grey reef sharks, a geometric chromodoris flapping its mantle and white striped cleaner shrimp that tended to Lewis, Ken and Jim.There was just enough current to attract hungry grey reef sharks and give Geri a good introductory course, but not so much to create the washing machine effect that the name implies.Here, we found the first of several leaf scorpionfish this charter, just one of the creatures that caused Lisa to squeal with delight underwater.
Also among our group was Geri, who, although an experienced diver, had little experience with current, so she latched onto every word of advice from Joshua so that she would be well equipped to handle the full moon currents to come.
The highlight of these dives however was one of the most unusual decorator crabs we have ever seen.
Through skill and fortune, Amanda found this cryptic creature on a ledge, a mass of algae, sponge, hydroids and tunicates completely enshrouding its spindly body.
The villagers sped out in their fiberglass boats at daybreak, gratefully receiving the donations, which went over without a hitch.
From there, we headed out to the South Save-a-Tack area, where Geri would pass her intermediate course at Two Thumbs Up.