Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tonga - Day 6

Hello everyone. I'm still having internet problems. For today, instead of going out with my guys to collect corals, I decided to stay back and catch up on some paperwork. I spent the day at a cafe that provides free internet for their customers.

This place is great. Very friendly and they all speak English pretty well. They know me by name and calls me "Erik", can't seem to say "Eddie".

They serve all day breakfasts, sandwiches, pasta, etc.. After eating a sandwich, I dined on this brownie with milk! Internet was ok, not fast enough to upload pictures on my blog, but fast enough to check email and other things.

This is the outdoor seating area. Really a nice place to drink a cup of coffee.

This is the inside dining area. There are quite many tourists that come to visit Tonga. Many of them come here to swim with the whales in Vavau - which is one of two other main islands that make up Tonga. I ran into a guy from home, from the Bay Area who had just come from swimming with the whales. That group on the photo above seemed to be from Europe somewhere.

I'm not sure if they actually sell wine, but this rack looked pretty cool.

A table where you can surf the web or read magazines.

Some informative things about Tonga.

Seemed weird, we were in Samoa transiting. The time was the same as Tonga when we left Apia (capital of Samoa), but when we got to Tonga a few hours later, we were a day ahead!

Just so you know, the Pacific islanders are grouped by region. Polynesians include the Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, Tahitians, etc.. Then there are Melanesians, the Fijians, the Nivans (Vanuatu), PNG (Papua New Guineas). Then up north the equator, you have the Micronesians from islands like Pohnpei and Kiribati.

Around 4pm, my guys came back from collecting. The guys had found some nice mushrooms.

Today, the guys started collecting acros, as well as the mushrooms.

That purple stag is particularly nice, the famous Tongan Acropora austere.

That is a nice large piece of a plating Montipora peltiformis.

So this picture does not do any justice, this purple acro is really off the hook!

A close up of the purple stag.

So this is the same species as the purple stag. The austere comes in yellow, green, a light purple version is also available - all with various polyp colors.

One of my favorite acros, the tenuis.

WOW! I haven't so many Tongan purple/blue bullseyes in a long time.

Absolutely stunning!

These Tongan specialty mushrooms are rare, to find so many is just amazing!

Another nice bullseye mushroom - the colors are blue green purple!

Orange bullseye mushrooms are common in Indo, but here in Tonga, they are relatively rare.

Nice pink eyed chalice!

Nice Montipora peltiformis.

So this is the other famous Tongan mushroom, the lavendars. The colors are lavendar purple green. The heads open up huge concealing the base rock.

This is another Acropora austere, the light purple version has bright blue polyps.

Teau putting away fresh new corals.

Tonga is also known for their soft corals. This is the second most popular soft coral (yellow leather is first), the green spaghetti leather. These highly sought after coral comes in yellow and brown. But no matter what color, they are difficult to ship. Tongan softies are very sensitive, nothing like the Indonesian ones (really bulletproof).

These are known as "finger leathers", very nice when they fully open.

I used to sell these by the hundreds. This is known as "burgundy stars", a dark purple linkia with uneven arms.

Another nice orange bullseye! There is actually some purple behind the orange coloration.

Nice collection!

Another one of those lavendar mushrooms.

After putting away all the corals, it was time for dinner.

Here is Tau and our boatman, Latu.

I chose barbecue chicken over rice!


Ok guys, that is it for today. I'm really excited to see all the good corals in our tanks. Soon maybe they may end up in your tanks!


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