Scuba Namena, Fiji

Andrew got to dive in Namena three times. The first two were professional dives with Robinson Crusoe resort, and the third had professional boat support from Jazz’s Busted Ear Enterprises. All three were very good: Namena has super healthy coral in many varieties.

One of the coolest things, new to us, is magic soft coral: this reddish coral rapidly turns white when touched. Those are the guide’s bare hands, not any of ours, and given the lecture we got about conservation, I’m guessing that this isn’t harmful to it…

The first two dives both traveled around some coral pinnacles. There was some current, which with the pinnacles meant sudden transitions between calmly floating in the lee and kicking like anything to get around to another protected spot. These are the kinds of conditions where we’re happy to have a professional guide.

The tops of the pillars were fantastic. Up closer to the surface the light is brighter, so the colors on the huge schools of fish really pop out against the healthy coral backdrop.

Our third dive was along a wall, which made for much easier swimming, but with less water flow, the coral was a bit less vibrant. At one point we turned a corner and found a cave, which was almost a swim-through except it would have required us to ascend a little too far for safety.

Namena was crinoid central, with feather stars in many colors and varieties perching all over the reef. We would later find that feather stars are common across a lot of Fiji, but this was the first time we’d seen so many in one place.

There were also some really big Giant Clams, and while we’re doing molluscs, here’s a thorny oyster.

There were also a lot of anemones, some with shapes and patterns we’d never seen before, and most sporting orangefin (two stripes) or Fiji anemonefish. These guys are an odd mix of curious and skittish, alternately coming out to stare at you and burrowing into the relative safety of the anemone.

There were also a ton of nudibranchs, which would yet again prove to be a theme for Fiji. Here we have a Swollen Phyllidia with the yellow spots, several of the black-striped Loch’s Chromodoris, and… some others we can’t identify that are probably also some kind of phyllidia. All very smol.

And to wrap up the critters, we have a fun sea star, an albino spiny lobster, a precariously perched hermit crab, and a ribbon eel!

We’re not sure what the eyelets in this coral are, probably some kind of worm or scallop… but check out the blenny hanging out in one of the holes, calmly munching down some stringy thing that’s probably someone else’s eggs.

Is this yellow fish a damsel or a chromi? Either way, it was full of attitude.

The pillars had a bunch of huge fan coral, which often played host to interesting fishes. Top left, a longnose hawkfish; the other two feature redfin hogfish, with their many excellent spots.

Also hawkfish, this dwarf, left, and pixy, top right. Bottom right is also a hawkfish, but which one?

Left, a (saddle?) grouper; right, a many-spotted sweetlips.

Fiji presented new kinds of angelfish, like this semicircle angel on the left, and bicolor angel on the right.

This magnificently striped little boyo might be a Fiji clown coralblenny? Right is easier, a speckled sandperch.

In “fish perched in precarious places”, we have a threadfin hawkfish on the left, and an even more precariously perched blurry blenny. The GoPro really loves to focus on something behind the subject.

I can’t seem to ID either of these, though I think the first is some kind of anthias and the second a wrasse. In any case, they’re common, pretty, and very skittish around cameras.

And finally, here’s a bridled monocle bream and a triangular butterflyfish.

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