After his report from Fiji in June on what must be the most remarkable shark-feed around, John Bantin turns his attention to these Pacific islands' outstanding "static" life. His quarry might be static, but the water in which it lives is anything but
STRADDLING THE 180° MERIDIAN, Fiji is conveniently 12 hours ahead of the UK. When it's this morning in Fiji, it's last night at home.
Also conveniently, Fiji is a group of islands sitting in the Pacific Ocean en route between New Zealand and Los Angeles, USA.
The second largest island is called Vanua Levu and the third largest, Taveuni. Look at a map and you will notice that the channel between them, known as Somosomo Strait, takes the shape of a funnel.
As the water flows back and forth at the mercy of ocean currents and the tides, it is squeezed so that it speeds up. This provides perfect conditions in which colourful soft corals (dendronephythia) flourish. The reef system that straddles the strait is called, predictably, Rainbow Reef.
Fiji is a lush tropical country and Taveuni is the land of fruit bats and the tallest Fijian coconut palms.
I stayed at the Maravu Plantation Resort in a luxurious bure (pronounced boo-ray), a traditional Fijian bungalow complete with its own private sundeck and water spa.
This was set on a hillside overlooking the strait, and surrounded by a dense tropical jungle. There were 77 sweat-drenching steps from there down to the beach.
Sweat or rain? I am told that Fiji has no harmful creatures on land other than malaria-free mosquitoes, but this dense green landscape enjoys a copious supply of rain and that didn't spare me either, during my few days' stay in February.
From DIVERNET Divernet | Fiji | Colours of the rainbow