Te had also told us where the best snorkelling could be had (by the rocks off the neighbouring island of Makodroga) and said that despite the devastation the cyclone had caused to their clam breeding program, sweeping away all their young clams, a few giant clams and a huge school of young barracuda could be seen in the waters near the old wharf. Back on the boat we donned our snorkelling gear and after a few adjustments to our anchoring arrangements when we discovered our chain lying over some pristine coral we headed out to hunt down the clams.
No idea what giant clams might conjure up for you but we were entirely unprepared for what we saw. These were truely monsters some four or five feet across, green mosslike growth along the shell edges giving the appearance of a weird lipstick. A huge purple veined greyish structure stretches between the shell halves with two upraised gaping holes. Kevin dived down and tapped one side of the shell, usually clams respond by withdrawing their symphon/mouth abruptly and snapping shut but this giant simply closed a few inches then resumed its open position as if shrugging at the temerity of something that dared disturb it.
As we snorkelled examining the clams a “fish soup” of translucent silver barracuda appeared, seemingly stationary but in in fact constantly moving. They were relatively small, the largest were about 50cm mouth to tail but already looking ferocious, I wasn’t particularly keen to get too close as I know from caching them that they are armed with vicious teeth. They eyed us suspiciously before moving enmass away. A huge pipefish some metre and a half long appeared from their midst, obviously not party to whatever messages the barracuda were communicating amongst themselves and temporarily revealed as his cover moved off. The water was cold, the sun had disappeared behind clouds for the afternoon, time for a hot shower.