Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Amphiprion pacificus, a new species of clownfish discovered in Fiji

Underwater photos of Amphiprion pacificus, adult, approximately 60 mm SL, Fiji. Photo by J. Jensen

Amphiprion pacificus is a new species of anemonefish discovered by Gerald R. Allen, Joshua Drew and Douglas Fenner described in the latest issue of the Aqua, the International Journal of Ichthyology. The researchers discovered A. pacificus in the Wallis Island and Tonga in the western Pacific with other underwater photographs revealing its presence on coral reefs of Fiji and Samoa.

The team notes the new taxon is nearly identical in appearance to A. akallopisos from the Indian Ocean. The two share common characteristics — typically pinkish-brown and grading to orange or yellow on the lower portion of the head and side, with a similar white stripe extending from the head along the dorsal midline ending at the caudal fin. Genetic testing does reveal show A. pacificus is more closely related to A. sandaracinos (Orange Skunk Clownfish) hailing from the Western Australia and Indo-Malayan region. The physical differences between the common orange skunk differs from A. pacificus with its more uniform orange coloration and the white forehead stripe extends onto the upper lip. The team also noticed what appears to be differences in the number of soft dorsal and anal rays on each species.

If you’re interesting in reading the entire paper, you can purchase it online in PDF format from Aqua.

Amphiprion pacificus, a new species of clownfish discovered in Fiji

Monday, 26 July 2010

Divers and Dental Professionals Combine Work and Passion for Scuba Diving Through Fiji Project - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort

During my previous stays in Fiji I was able to visit the village and local primary and secondary schools and received an education about the availability of health care at the village level. What I learned was that while care is readily available in cities, at the village level, care is scarce.

Returning from that trip I decided to pioneer a Dental Mission. I partnered with Coach Ramey Stroud, a Mill City diver, and Stuart Gow, Director of the Matava Eco-Resort on the island of Kadavu. Together we identified dates for our trip, solicited the cooperation of Air Pacific, the national airline of Fiji, the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association and the Fiji Ministry of Health. Salem Hospital generously shared information about our trip with their staff.

I traveled with Dr. Mike and Mrs. Carrie Litchfield and Dr. Sean Hanson of Salem and Jim and Gina Jepsen from Ione, Oregon. Dave Beard from Tasmania met us at Matava and joined our team.

Read full article here:

Divers and Dental Professionals Combine Work and Passion for Scuba Diving Through Fiji Project - Matava - Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

August Special: Pay 4: Stay 6

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FIJI SCUBA DIVING - Dive the best of Fiji Diving with Mad Fish Dive Centre, Kadavu, Fiji Islands

Friday, 16 July 2010

Fiji Diving|Underwater Photography Guide

Fiji is an awesome place with beautiful islands, friendly and fun people, a vibrant native culture and some of the best diving in the world. Jacques Cousteau coined it the Soft Coral Capital of the World (more on that later) and that name has stuck and given Fiji much of its diving identity although it’s not always accurate. Fiji is safe and relatively modern for a developing island nation and the cost structure is moderate so it’s a good value.

Fiji also has over 300 islands and a striking amount of diversity both above and below the water. Oftentimes people talk about Fiji as a homogenous place and that’s not the case. The diving is highly varied depending on where you go and even the cultural background of the local people that you will meet. The main island, Vitu Levu is large – over 90x60 miles and mountainous as is the second largest island, Vanua Levu. The outer islands vary from idyllic sand spits to mangrove fringed. The first time we went to Fiji, we spent over a month and still had plenty left to see.

fiji soft coral

Fiji Diving|Underwater Photography Guide

Underwater Adventure on the Nai'a, Destination: Fiji|Underwater Photography Guide

Fiji, while known for soft corals, has hard coral gardens that are thriving and in my opinion rival world class destinations like Papua New guinea, Indonesia, and Palau. Looking back it would have good to spend more time enjoying the hard corals but at the time I was captivated by the huge clouds of anthias. There is just something about those fish that captures my imagination.

Naia Sea 3

Underwater Adventure on the Nai'a, Destination: Fiji|Underwater Photography Guide

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Drop Zone Fiji: Bull Sharks Are Amazing

Bull sharks are amazing. I’m on my third beer – a new type called Vonu which is much better than the standard Fiji Bitter – and it’s still hard to process the feeling of kneeling on the ocean floor 86ft below the surface while staring down an approaching bull shark. I added quite a few shark varieties to my list the other day which now includes whale, great white, white tip, black tip, grey, lemon, nurse, and bull. We had hoped to also encounter the illusive tiger, but at least I have a reason to return. Even without the tiger shark I was not disappointed.

Bull sharks have that classic shark look. Close your eyes and imagine a fat scary shark and that’s a bull shark. I had several swim right at me, our eyes locked, that came within a couple of feet to my face before turning to make another circle. I wasn’t scared. I did feel a few moments of adrenaline as my body reacted to the sight of a big predator headed straight at me, but it was fleeting. The enjoyment was too great. The only problem was that the dive was too short. Twenty five minutes of bliss then a big Fijian was giving me an aggressive thumbs up sign (probably because I had already ignored the last five “head to the surface” signs he’d given). I just didn’t want to leave.

We had two dives, the second at 60ft. In between dives I told the master that I am obsessed with sharks and had done multiple shark dives. I was hoping it would lead him to pull me closer to the sharks. Once the feeding started I was chosen first to kneel next to the feeder. The sharks made circles, took the tuna head on offer then swam right past me as he chewed and swallowed. It was awesome watching such a powerful creature that is so linked to maneating and fear swim right past me, peacefully.

The sharks got closest to Cheyne. Either they liked the red hair or they could sense his fear and needed to look him over closer to see why he was afraid. After a few incredibly close passes, much closer than to anyone else, he gave the camera the “I’m over it sign” and cruised back to a safe distance.
I could go on and on about how much fun it was and how much I wish we got another chance. I could have stayed down there with the sharks all day…. but my beer is getting warm.

Drop Zone Fiji: Bull Sharks Are Amazing

The Drop Zone Fiji - Sportdiver.com

The Drop Zone is the ultimate dive and surf film which follows professional surfers on the adventure of a lifetime. Alex Gray, Cheyne Magnusson and Holly Beck headed to Tahiti in 2008 for an epic adventure – The Drop Zone Tahiti. Now the three young surfers are back and will be joined by two more - Maria Gonzalez and Bede Durbidge. The five of them will explore Fiji on a unique journey both above and below the surface.

Follow Holly, Alex, Cheyne, Maria and Bede – check out the Drop Zone Fiji blog and photos live from Fiji!

HollyBeck DropZone

Holly Beck Palos Verdes, California, USA
Holly is a former National Scholastic Surfing Association champ and is known for appearances on television shows such as North Shore Boardinghouse and The Best Damn Sports Show. She spends a lot of time down at her house in Nicaragua and is epic on keeping the world up to date on her travels. Holly Beck is not only one of the best female surfers on the planet but she is also a world traveler, actress, and a person who can definitely capture the world in film, photos and in print.
Holly's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

Alex Gray Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA
Alex Gray is one of the most unique people on the planet. He is a pro surfer, world traveler, comedian, ladies man, yoga god, paddler, and inspiration to many. He grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles and still loves to come home and spend time with his family after long trips around the world. This is his second appearance in Drop Zone.
Alex's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

AlexGray DropZone
CheyneMagnusson DropZone

Cheyne Magnusson Lahaina, Maui but currently in Oceanside, California, USA
Cheyne is not your typical pro surfer from Maui. He looks a little different and also lives a little different. He may rip like the rest of the upcoming crew that dominate Honolua Bay but he also tears it up on any skate ramp, had a big role in the Lords of Dogtown movie, free dives like a fish, enjoys a good party and was a high profile member of a MTV reality show.
Cheyne's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

Maria Gonzalez Puerto Rico
Body Glove's newest Team Member. More about Maria coming soon.

Maria's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

MariaGonzalez DropZone

Bede Durbidge Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Bede grew up on North Stradbroke Island, a small island off the coast of Queensland, Australia and moved to the Gold Coast when he was 20. He is in his sixth year on the Men's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour and is currently ranked number three in the world. To date, Bede has won a total of three ASP events and the Vans Triple Crown and he is still striving to achieve his dream of winning a World Title!
Bede's Drop Zone Fiji Blog

Photo credit [top to bottom] (Holly, Alex, Cheyne) Courtesy of PADI Americas and Body Glove; Photographer Justin Lewis, (Maria) Courtesy of Body Glove; Photographer: Mark Kawakami, (Bede) Courtesy of Bede Durbidge; Photographer Adam Weathered.

The Drop Zone Fiji - Sportdiver.com