Ok, so accept that the visibility is rarely good, and is often downright bad. The treasure hunt is well worth the effort. Between 15 and 40 feet off the jetty in front of the lodge, we find true muck diving at it’s best. Shall I list what I’ve shown the villagers on their intro dives here? 2 kinds of lion fish, crocodile fish, spiny lobsters, MANDARIN FISH, 2 spot ( Signal) gobies, shrimp fish, striped pipe fish, blind shrimp with their protector gobies, bat fish, spine- cheeked anemone fish. The variety is truly amazing. Our project is to explore the entire inner lagoon. If the area around the jetty is any indication, our treasure hunt is far from finished.
We were looking for dive sites on days when the weather might not be too cooperative, that would give us access to the outside wall and protected diving inside the lagoon. SO, we dropped off at the edge of the boat passage, heading west along the wall, enjoying the Topa ( bumphead parrots) crunching their way along the wall. I had just found a love pair of nudibranchs, and turned to get Allan’s attention. He was below me hunting the elusive pygmy seahorse on a pink sea fan, completely unaware or the silvertip that was about nibbling on his fins.
Out of deep time, we ascended to the passage across the top of the lagoon, swimming over brilliant purple hard corals, and dropping into a sandy area populated with shrimp gobies and their blind housekeepers, two-spot gobies, shrimp fish, lion fish, anemones, lobsters, and so much more to yet be discovered. It was an easy meander back to the jetty, finding treasure all the way.
Starting at the southeast end of the lagoon late one afternoon, we glided down the wall into hundreds and hundreds of redtooth triggerfish. Many were nesting, giving me a chance to creep close enough to answer a question that had been nagging at me. Why were these magnificent black fish with neon blue outlines and streaming lyre tails called redtooth? I was absolutely amazed to see protruding from their upper jaws 2 bright red fang-like teeth. With a slack current reducing the big animal action to a few sharks and barracudas, we turned our attention to the oft neglected reef- and found nudibranchs of several varieties, lionfish, lobsters, a hunting sea snake, and schools of grazing parrots and surgeons.