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Marine Reserve Magic - Snorkelling inside Tokoriki’s Lagoon

Sunday March 1, 2009

Tokoriki offers all sorts of snorkelling to its guests, with popular options including: guided snorkels with marine experts, complimentary boat trips out to Tokoriki’s home reef, and kayaking and snorkelling on Tokoriki’s fringing reef. However one place sometimes overlooked is the lagoon itself, which offers fascinating snorkelling on your doorstep.

Close to shore you can enjoy a snorkel from boat mooring to boat mooring. Large cement blocks, mooring ropes and hulls of boats are home to an interesting array of juvenile marine life, including magical tiera batfish, golden trevally, and small moray eels!

Between the moorings and the inner reef lie extensive beds of sea grass. These are the lungs of the reef, producing bubbles of oxygen, as well as providing cover for a variety of fish. Beyond the sea grass, the gravel and sand patches are dotted with holes and crevices, each guarded zealously by the aptly named Picasso triggerfish. There are even anemones with resident anemone fish –a strange sight on an open sea bed. Look very closely- if the feisty anemone fish will allow you- and you may be lucky enough to spot eggshell shrimps tucked under the rims of the anemone.

The inner reef has some coral, in areas very beautiful, but it is mostly rock covered with coralline algae. This is a hugely important nursery for fish commonly found on the outer reefs, and you will see tiny but perfectly formed butterfly and angel fish, plus huge groups of rabbit fish and endemic Fiji Devil damselfish.

Finally, and this applies to all snorkelling, remember to look up, as well as down at the sea floor. Some really cool creatures live in the top few inches of water- garfish, long toms, squid, small barracuda and juvenile Black tip reef sharks.

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Illustration of Red tooth triggerfish