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Date: 24 Aug 2015 22:16:00
Title: Saweni Bay - some visitors

17:38.516S 177:23.589E



We didn’t stay overnight in Lautoka. Instead we dropped south a few miles to Saweni Bay, a great little stop over for when you’re on your way somewhere. The water is good for swimming, although the reefs aren’t great for snorkelling, and the beach is pleasant to walk along and is very popular with the locals. There’s even a little shop, attached to an Indian snack foods factory, with goats and their kids outside the door, trying to get at the rubbish pile, dogs begging and an Indian man chanting a most beautiful song. Well, they were all there when we were there, I can’t promise they’ll be there for you!

Just in from the beach the sugar cane railway goes, on it’s way to Lautoka. You can walk along the tracks, the trains aren’t frequent and come slowly so it’s quite safe, and you can pick up and chew bits of sugar cane that had fallen off the loads. It makes a very pleasant walk along the side of the bay. 

Looking out over the bay from the railway line.  The brown streaks show the reef. Happily, we’re in the blue!

The railway goes along a little causeway, with mangrove swamps either side. In these pools the mudskippers live. They are quite wonderful! Like oversized tadpoles (about 6-8 inches long) half way to becoming frogs, with little front legs but still having a tail, and big googly eyes on the tops of their heads. They should be called water skippers, as they can litterally skip themselves across the surface of the water, surprisingly long distances. They are industrious little chaps, building themselves towers for burrows, I guess to withstand the rising tides. 

Mud skipper castle. This one was about 6 inches tall, some are considerably bigger! I didn’t manage to get an in focus shot of  a skipper as they were much too quick!

Where the railway crossed a small river mouth big rocks had been exposed and under cut. Pacific swallows were nesting under the overhang, swooping out to collect insects amongst the mangroves.

  

Back on board we weren’t short of wildlife visitor. When Jon and I were kayaking (forgot to tell you: a NZ purchase, great fun and perfect for getting to the beach without having to launch the dinghy - we can surf in on the waves!) an inquisitive sea snake came to say hi, a little disconcerting when you are on a level with the water. They have a venomous bite but tiny mouths. It’s said they can only manage to bite people on the webs between their fingers and toes or on an ear lobe. So if you keep your fingers and toes tight together and hold onto your ear lobes you’ll be safe. You’ll look ridiculous but you’ll be safe! 

  
Phil’s shots of the sea snake from the safety of onboard Lochmarin and our beetle friend.

One day when the wind was up a HUGE beetle came to rest for a while on our solar panel. Phil was pleased to make his acquaintance. I was a little disconcerted, he didn’t seem inclined to explore more of the boat but his pincers looked quiet fierce and what if he wasn’t a he, what if he was a she, and what if she was gravid? It would be like the Trinidad crickets all over again, but less musical and with pincers! 

What to do? We couldn’t in all conscience push him/her overboard, he’d never make it to land in that wind, so a careful transfer to tupperware and a rescue transfer to the beach was undertaken. 

The beetle whisperer in action.

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