The pass of Fulanga

Fulanga is one of the few atolls (or rather island-cluster with an outer reef–there are hardly any classic atolls here in Fiji) with a proper pass, meaning a narrow outlet of the lagoon with steep coral-clad walls like we know them from the Tuamotus. Most other “passes” are very open, wide and don’t have walls up to the surface so you hardly notice you’re in a pass when sailing into one of these open “lagoons” that feel more like open ocean.
It’s also one of the most beautiful passes we’ve ever snorkeled with a great variety of stunning, healthy corals. Today we took the dinghy all the way out to the outer reef and drop-off and were amazed to find huge groups of different kinds of big snappers, jacks, barracudas, surgeons and even three napoleons hovering in the light current–really impressive! We were glad to see half a dozen white-tip reef sharks among them–in most places we’ve snorkeled in Fiji so far they were hunted to extinction…
Further inside the pass the coral is even more beautiful and the biomass of little swarm fishies is mindboggling, a really dense fishsoup.

Yesterday we checked out a few inlets through the reef on the eastern side, expecting to find similar biodiversity, but the coral’s all dead and there are hardly any fishies–hopelessly overfished with even the tiniest fish scattering in panic and hiding underneath rocks at the sight of a human diver. Inside the lagoon there aren’t many bommies and the few only have some small growth of coral and hardly any fish. The lively pass area is a wonderful contrast to these lifeless areas.

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