October 8, 2009 - Niue (All Photos by Amena Rahman)
We were ashore by 0730 & got picked up by Chad & Amena – a couple vacationing on Nuie that we had never met. We were glad for the ride to the south tip of the island for the Coral Garden & Snake Gully dives since there’s no bus service on Niue. Chad & Amena are Silicon Valley techies on vacation for a year, & they will be living in NZ when we're there, so we may see them again when we get there.
We dove with Annie today, who has a very different diving style than her husband Ian. They are the only diving outfit on Niue.
The Coral Garden area is what this island used to look like before the cyclone of 2004. This area was protected by a point, so the plate corals & small branching corals in pastel colors are still intact. There wasn't as much height as I expected; it was all fairly low-level, but there were lots of fish. Best thing we saw was a ribbon eel! Bright blue & yellow with two funny little nose decorations -- he looked just like the photo in our book.
Our second dive was at Snake Gully. It was not a disappointment even though there weren't the writhing masses of snakes we've read about. But there were groups of a few of them sleeping all tangled together, & whenever we looked up, there were half a dozen snakes going up for air & back down. When Annie handled one, I indicated I wanted to too, & she chose a friendly-looking one for me to pet. Although their mouth is very small, their bite is deadly. Felt like a land snake, but it quickly wriggled out from under my hand. BB got to touch it also.
I'm so pleased to be seeing clown fishes (really called anenomefish) on a regular basis now. There are many different types of them, but most are darker than I expected - more brown than orange. The stripes appear to be neon blue sometimes. They are just so cute the way they stick their noses out of the anenomes, & their stripes make them very noticeable when they are swimming free of the anenome (which is rare).
The sun was pretty elusive & I was shivering after the first dive & especially during the drive back to the dive shop after the second dive, but it was worth it. They were great dives.
A tsunami siren sounded as we were cleaning our gear on shore, which made us anxious to get back to the boat, since after the tsunami in Samoa & Tonga we’re all very aware of what a tsunami can do now. An earthquake had hit Vanuatu, but before we could find out more via internet aboard, the tsunami warning was canceled by Niue Radio. Whew.
So we took a long nap. We were both exhausted from all this diving & running around & happy we didn't hafta go out to sea.
After our siesta we went to Avel Mad so BB could help Ben with his electrical issues. Carine & I talked, drank menthe a l'eau, ate crepes & watched for whales in the anchorage. We’re beginning to think we might not see any whales, unfortunately. Annie says the water has gotten warmer, & they’ve moved on. But we still keep hoping….