We are half way through our voyage and it is the last day of diving for 3 or 4 days until we reach Minerva Reefs. It is a good opportunity to catch up on our data entry and rest after some long days of diving and data recording.
Even though Tonga is surrounded by islands to the west (Fiji), north (Samoa) and east (Niue and Cook Islands), there are some endemic species of marine fish that occur here. That is they occur here and nowehere else. One of these is the Tonga fangtooth blenny (Meiacanthus tongaensis). It is distinguished by the black stripe along the dorsal fin. We have recorded this species at both the Vava’u and Ha’apai group of islands. Endemism is biogeographically interesting as it can be caused by a biological (such as a very short larval phase) and/or physical barrier (such as current patterns that limit dispersal).
Photo: Richard Robinson, www.depth.co.nz
We could see the clouds of ash from the volcano rise and fall throughout the day. We have now finished up at the Ha’apai Group today. It is just past 11:00 pm and the anchor has come up and we will be at Nuku’alofa late tomorrow morning.The crew have been working until late getting the Braveheart ready for the voyage and we had a late dinner at 10:30. We are all hoping for calm seas and a good night’s rest.
By Tom Trnski