Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Sharks of Shark Reef!

Our forever unforgotten Rusi with probably Bum or possibly Crook.
Obviously the quality is what it is.
But that was in 2007 when most of us were still filming in DV, and when the editing suites didn't quite have all of today's bells and whistles. Plus this is from a DVD we used to sell that had chapters and sub-chapters one could click on, hence the video's disruptive architecture.
And before you comment.
The generic Grey Reefie images are obviously not from here but from Tetamanu, much like the generic Blacktip Reefie footage. But then, you can witness Rusi's very first hand feed of a Blacktip, this after 4 years (!) of daily attempts - and once the first one took the bait, all others followed suit and have been hand feeding ever since!

Incidentally, Tootsie who back then was a total asshole continues to visit (!!!) but is now very much a polite elder statesman! 
Same-same for Whitenose who's the first-ever Shark I named back then in 2003 and who still pops by to say hello - much more politely and last time last week! And of the featured Bulls, we still see Long John, Stumpy, Bum, Crush, Crook and Granma, too - and there's even early footage of Valerie and Hook!
Or for you in the know.
Check out how much Whitetail has bulked up, and how even back then, she already mysteriously managed to always attract and surround herself with ever new cohorts of juvenile Golden Trevallies - something the other Lemons don't do, the more as having them constantly swim in front of your face must be a total pain! 
And yet, Whitetail continues to do it - maybe because she alone continues to visit some unknown aggregation of juvenile Golden Trevallies, maybe when she goes to give birth, maybe always in her own birthplace like her Atlantic cousins?
So many questions!
Or check out Adi who now is a giant but back then was merely a baby!

Anyway, enjoy.
We really cherish and are also really proud of what we've achieved over these many years - and now that the vaccine is looming and there's finally light at the end of the tunnel, we can't wait to see what the future will bring - and yes we got big plans! :)

So Sota tale - hopefully soon!

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Fiji - Vaccine?

Watch this - yes all of it!
Obviously, the pandemic has pretty much been an unmitigated economic disaster whereby whilst Government has done a truly fantastic job at keeping us safe, this has come at the price of shutting our borders = basically annihilating our foreign tourism industry that used to represent 40% of our GDP.
The consequence has been a 19% drop in our economic activity in 2020, mass unemployment and a dramatic reversal in the efforts to eradicate poverty that has shot back up to nearly 30%
And there have been other consequences, too.
Whereas on the positive side, many have reinvented themselves and are managing to survive by engaging in small scale farming, horticulture, handicraft, trade and bartering, we have also witnessed an alarming increase in widespread and indiscriminate fishing all the way to local overfishing and poaching, much like anticipated and also in line with what we hear is happening elsewhere in developing maritime countries.
With that in mind, we are convinced that once this fucking nightmare is finally over, there will need to be a proper damage assessment, after which marine conservation priorities will very likely have to be completely redefined = donors, hold on to your money and do not squander it on yesterday's projects! 
And BAD? 
Like I said back then, we will almost certainly survive - but next to zero income for close to one year = WAY longer than expected has been hard hard hard! Yes we continue to dive and to conduct our research, this also thanks to your continued generosity - but we too will have to reassess our priorities as even under best-case scenarios, past business volumes will remain elusive for quite some time.
That said, we also have some exciting plans!

Anyway, right now I'm pretty happy.
I might have been snoozing - but that video is the first time I learn about how Government is planning to get out of this horrible impasse, and I must say that I'm rather impressed! All I can say is that we here have obviously prepared, have already developed comprehensive yet not overly intrusive Covid protocols and will be ready to welcome you back with open arms the moment the borders reopen!

So here's to 2021 - onward and upward!
Keep watching this space!

PS - unsurprisingly the vaccine we're getting first will be the AstraZeneca via COVAX.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Monday Cyclone?

Here comes the next one.
And sorry for all these cyclone post - yes this is a Shark diving blog but I trust that everybody understands that for us here, catastrophic weather events do supersede Sharks, at least temporarily!

Back to the bloody cyclone.
It really looks like much like anticipated, we might really be in for yet another one. Current forecasts  anticipate a TD spawning in the convergence zone just north of Vanua Levu before once again hitting poor ravaged Lambasa (and here) as a very rainy Cat 1 - click for detail.
And then it would be tracking across Vanua Levu, over the Lomaiviti, and then right off Suva and over to eastern Kadavu, see at the very top - and if so and especially should it even marginally veer to the East, we'd be in for yet another hammering!
Yes so far they have it as a Cat 1 - but latest since Ana, we all know what to make of that, and of  cyclones changing direction at the very last minute.

So, again, be vigilant peeps.
You know what to do - as many of us have learnt the hard way, one has to prepare every single time!
Anyway by Saturday we'll know more.
So please do check back on this post as I will update it with anything noteworthy.

Stay safe everybody!
PS - it is now Saturday and whereas all other sources do not appear to be much concerned, the NZ forecast continues to anticipate a cyclone, see below - and as they've been very reliable in the past, I am most certainly going to heed their warning! Yes so far the track is well to the East - but its location has been fluctuating and we're most definitely going to fully prepare!
Best of luck everybody!

PPS - As of Tuesday, this thing has come and gone as a TD, dumping tons of rain on poor Vanua Levu - but it may well become a Cat1 as it exits our waters. 
Anyway, we're fine - thanks for asking.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

TC Ana!

Ana, one hour ago.
Well, well.
This sure has been interesting.
Ana has kept on strengthening and just as it was reaching the coast, it turned into a Cat2 and left a swath of destruction tracking right across Viti Levu before exiting somewhere in between here and Suva just an hour or so ago - and lemme tell 'ya it ain't over quite yet!
We're mostly fine, but Pacific Harbour looks like a battlefield and will require a massive cleanup - once the electricity and water are back which considering the widespread damage may well take a week over here and much longer in Vanua Levu.

And that might not be all!
Like anticipated, we may well be in for another helping. 
The ocean remains hot, and the convergence zone keeps on spawning tropical depressions - and much like I said, there's a real chance that one of them could develop into yet another bloody cyclone!
Ana in blue close to the center - the other blue smudge is Tropical Depression 07F = TD07F.

Case in point, see below - click for detail!
Some forecasts already have a real monster drift over to Vanua Levu where it would linger for days - the good news being that this is merely a forecast, and that those are prone to changing.
Hopefully this time for the better!
So fingers crossed.
Be it as it may, you peeps in Fiji: stay vigilant and always, always prepare - by now we should all know that these suckers are fickle at best, and that they can change in the blink of an eye!
You know what to do!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Another bloody Cyclone?

And here we go again.

Not that I'm in any way surprised.
It has been unrelentingly hot hot hot, and this is now the unavoidable consequence - and to make matters worse, the forecast has an uncanny resemblance to the forecast for Yasa that subsequently completely changed course and ended up ravaging the North.

There's good and bad news.
The good news being that so far, it only looks like a Cat1 that may wander south between Viti Levu and Vanuatu - the bad news being that the ocean is bloody hot and that consequently, the sucker has every opportunity to develop into something much more threatening, and to change course like last time.
You know what to do!
PS - What a mess!
We're pretty much stuck in the turbulent convergence zone where making accurate forecasts is even more difficult - and now Windy has it like this.

PPS - Bingo.
Now Metvuw and Windy seem to be in agreement that this is gonna be our future.
What a fucking fiasco - click for detail!

Anyway, as always we will see.
Best of luck everybody! 
PPPS - There you have it: it is now a Cat1 called Ana
The good news is that it is rather weak - the bad news being that it'll likely track smack across Viti Levu straight to Suva, and that it'll dump shitloads of rain. 
And to add insult to injury, it also looks like in a few days, there could be another depression, or even cyclone following right in its footsteps!
Never a dull moment huh.
Click for detail!

Monday, January 04, 2021

Playing with Sharks!

Source - and here - and here - click for detail!

Hah - watch this.
And here she is on Shark Reef in all her glorious pinkness, a couple of days later - watch in 1080 and full screen.
Of course she did stand out like a sore thumb. 
And of course she did catch the attention of our big, bold and very dominant Shark Icon Tip. Talk about being given a haircut - and then watch how her nephew Jono barely avoided smacking her with his heavy video housing on top of it! 
But of course Valerie would have it no other way!

Anyway, it has been loads of fun.
Valerie, and Ron have been our best friends literally forever, and every visit is always a great joy and an honor, too - and having been chosen to be featured in her movie, doubly so.
And now the whole big shebang has been completed - and apparently it is great, to the point that is has been selected to screen at the prestigious Sundance Festival. Considering the mess in the USA, I expect the event to be largely virtual, and that one will be able to watch the movie online, possibly even outside of the US - so there.

And if not, make sure you don't miss it.
Valerie is one of the true diving Legends, and then some - and what makes this movie so unique is that much of her adventurous, passionate and fascinating life has actually happened on camera. And now the public will be able to actually witness it, which could not have come soon enough - especially when compared to the exploits of today's forgettable self promoting Shark charlatans and media whores!
So thank you to Producer Bettina and Director Sally - this is really very much appreciated.

But I'm digressing as always.
Enjoy Valerie's movie!