Known Links to Underworld Figures
Known Links to Underworld Figures
Lately I’ve found that I’m wrong so often that I am getting quite good at it. I’ve dived on some of the world’s most famous sites, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, the Blue Hole in Belize, the hammerhead breeding grounds of Cocos Island off Costa Rica. These were places of such spectacular beauty that I fear I have become a bit jaded. I just assumed that I would have a pleasant little dive—nothing special mind you—see a few fish and a bit of coral, and at least Stephen would get a little more experience under his weight belt.
That he did, as did I. We both almost swallowed our regulators when moments after we hit the water a trevally the size of a Volkswagen Beatle came barging by. Behind him lay several mutant coral trout showing us the prominent fangs that earned them the Latin name of Leopardis or “leopard of the sea”. Two wise hawksbill turtles finned away from us, keeping a weary eye on us over their shoulders. A gang of teenage hoodlum snappers hung out in unison on the corner of a ledge. A giant grouper, dark, slow and scarred with age slunk out of his cave to asses our palatability.
As we swam further into the pass, the soft corals exploded into bizarre combinations of color as if we were in an animated fantasy film. Purple poka dotted Nudibranchs clung to the rocks glowing in electric blues and emerald greens. Christmas tree shaped coral polyps of orange, speckled white, cobalt blue and chocolate brown pulled back into the safety of their coral cones as we passed over enormous formations of coral resembling brains, tree branches, caribou antlers and fine lace. For as plantlike as coral appears it is not a plant at all but a colony of animals cemented together to form an architectural wonder, or as Claire Booth Luce wrote “…coral cathedrals that dwarf in their majesty the grandest edifices of Man.”
To our right, the steep pass wall fell away into the deep dark blue. The menacing shadows of predators passed beneath us light dark storm clouds and lightning. Out here lurk not only the white-tip, black tip, and gray reef sharks, but the true tigers of the sea – galeocerdo cuvier, the tiger shark, reaching up to 25 feet in length.
It’s a humbling yet exhilarating experience to realize that here, down here, we fit into this food chain well below the top. We were immersed in our undersea world in every sense, but our pressure gauges warned us that this fantasy could not last forever. Too far into the red I reluctantly headed for the surface a hundred feet above. Once onboard, Diana, Stephen and I absolutely babbled in delight recounting all that we had seen.
Because I began my cruising career young, I’ve been graced with a long life full of adventure and wonderful experience. In fact I have somehow managed to create such a steady diet of far-flung foreign lands, varied environments, and diverse people that I am now at risk of taking it all somewhat for granted. But occasionally something special occurs that reminds me what a wild and wonderful planet we live on. Naingoro Pass, on the Great Astrolabe Reef, off Kadavu Island, in our world’s largest and arguably loveliest ocean was special, is special. If you ever get the chance to go to travel to Fiji don’t skip the rest of it for it is a lovely nation, but be certain not to miss Kadavu Island and its dazzling denizens of the deep.