Monday, 12 August 2013

Nature Watching in Fiji

Amazing jewelesque colours of the waters and reefs around the islands
This is less a blog and more of a photo album sharing.  I just had to share some of our images from Fiji.  We did a lot of nature-watching on Taveuni Island.  The following are images to remind us of the beauty of tropical fauna and flora.
My all-time favourite:  frangipani
The large variety of hibiscus (or is that hibisci?  Nope, Google tells me it's hibiscus or hibiscuses) on the islands is mind-blowing.  I love these beautiful short-lived flowers and grow a few hardier types at home.  After losing all 8 of mine to frost 1 year ago, I have planted my replacements in big pots, all ensconced in the warm inside solarium this winter.
A tiny little hibiscus with a long stamen

Bigger hibiscus

A stunning big flamboyant pink hibiscus
Reminds me of a flamingo

A pink hibiscus with brightly coloured stigma and stamens

I have a similiar coloured hibiscus at home

A stunning lotus flower, with fly.

A lot of the flora is very similiar to that we saw on Rarotonga.  Given that Fiji is a little further away from the equator than Raro, I guess the weather patterns are  still similiar enough to makes sense that the flora would be similiar. 
Amazing protea-like flower

(Please forgive my lack of botanical knowledge.  I welcome botany expertise.)  

The beautiful flowering pineapple!

Looks like a flower that Dr Seuss would have drawn!
Reminds me of seeing eyes peeping on the other flowers.

Another stunning flower.  There is also another deeper, darker cerise cousin to this one.

Another variety similiar to Dr Seuss's one above

Beautiful variations on the Bird of Paradise type of flower
which reminds me of gymnasts balancing on top of one another.
Great colourful red-toned leafy blooms contrast with all the greenery
 There was time to also spy on some fauna - some sadly, I wasn't quick enough to capture on camera.
Fat little crabby guy

A favourite bird for both Mike and I, is the stunningly colourful kingfisher.  We always get such a thrill seeing these gorgeous characters of Greek mythological fame, found almost everywhere we have ever visited.  There are always one or two on the bird walk here in our village but I have never been able to photograph the camera-shy birds till purchasing my pre-Fiji, new, super-smart Nikon camera! I used to have a great Minolta camera back when I was a student.  I loved nothing better than to sit quietly working out the best option for capturing the essence of the moment.  When it died a technical death, I was devastated, purchasing my momo aim-and-shoot digital which served me well up until now.  I am super-stoked over my new powerful-zoom shooting-eye!  It allowed me to preserve the moment in minute detail - kingfishers unaware of my spying eyes!

Beautiful Kingfisher

Capturing some of the coral on Natadola beach

Beautiful butterfly flutters by - so many different varieties flitting by faster than reaching for the camera could possibly allow!

Zooming in to spy on this little guy at Lavena

The teeniest gecko I've seen, on a banana

The ugly sisters... cane toads imported from Australia
They unfortunately eat the indigenous guys!

The fruit and veg selection in Fiji boggles the mind!  And it is all very, very affordable.  Some haggling may be necessary but mostly, we were more than happy to pay the asking price!  Shopping at one of the fruit and veg markets is such a pleasure - buying as "nature intended".  There is so much variety, a vegetarian paradise!  We had to limit ourselves, we felt like kids in a candy store!    Some stall-holders were slightly amused by our ooohs and aaaahs. Just wholesome, sun-ripened food.
Bananas of every size...lovely and sweet.  Lettuce and beans in the background.

Pineapples and watermelons - the more pricier items, given it was the Fiji winter!

Chillis - a small bowlful for F$1!

Sun-ripened eggplants were plentiful and very very cheap!  F$1 per plate!  

Green coconuts (not shown) and brown coconuts

It was quite thrilling to buy sugar in Fiji, grown and processed in Fiji!  Such wonderful stuff - there was no "white death" around (highly processed stuff), only lovely golden sugar.  As nature intended.

Sugarcane!  Trucks laden with the freshly cut canes.

Right, back to reality!  Got to get started on Spring seed planting and preparing the ground for growing some of these lovely foods we found in Fiji, right here in our own backyard.  There are 2 bunches of bananas out back, they should ripen up nicely in time for Summer!  Bring on the sunshine!!

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