Impressions of Niue
An index to the slide show
by Floor Anthoni (2004)

This page contains the thumbnail images of the 'Impressions of Niue' slide show which is available on CD. When viewed from the CD, you can click on a link or a thumbnail to view the screen-sized photo but these links do not work on Internet. The slide show gives impressions of the underwater world, the magic of snorkelling and diving in ultra-clear water, and the adventure of exploring the island's natural treasures. It also gives impressions of Niue above water, the recent damage wrought by Cyclone Heta, vistas of the island, villages and people and the natural wonders that are there for all to see.
To read more about Niue, its geography, history and ecology, visit the extensive web site devoted to Niue: www.seafriends.org.nz/niue/index.htm. To go to the Seafriends home page: www.seafriends.org.nz/index.htm

Impressions of Niue under water
Niue has had a thorough buffeting from Cyclone Heta in January 2004, in fact perhaps the worst case recorded in living memory. Where people thought to be safe from the sea, some 25m above sea level, this was proved wrong, even though a disaster of this magnitude may never happen again. Under water, the sea received an equal hiding resulting in totally barren areas, completely stripped of life. But on the very sheltered  Western side of the island, cyclones are normal fare, occurring sufficiently frequently to maintain a barren seascape. Yet these barrens are covered in fine algae, growing at maximal rates for the dearth of nutrients dissolved in these ultra-clear waters. The barrens maintain armies of grazers, from tiny snails to nocturnal sea urchins and day-time grazing fish. One could say that they maintain more life than the coral-clad slopes of the other side of the island.

The other side, although not visited by the worst of cyclones, receives continuous buffeting from large ocean swell, propelled by never-ending South-East trade winds experienced as a refreshening cool sea breeze all day and night. We ventured a dive there to bring back unique photos of what the best of Niue under water hopes to offer. Diving here is quite dangerous, being swept to and fro at three times walking speed, swinging ten metres over sharp corals, ready to be ripped to shreds. Fortunately this seascape can also be found in safer waters, near the Matavai Resort (matavai= kingfish Seriola sp).

The photos presented here were all taken in September 2004, about 9 months after Cyclone Heta struck. They hope to give you an impression of what Niue looks like, both above and under water, and how it is recovering. To inform yourself about Niue's history, geography, geology and much more, visit the extensive section about Niue.

For suggestions and improvements, please e-mail the author.
-- Seafriends home --  About Niue -- Impressions part two --Rev 20051122,20060104,

hurricane damage under water

broken rocks and corals near Avatele
f043927: broken rocks and corals collect in a gully near Avatele but Heta did not move them. Next cyclone may.
encrusting corals on red coralline algae
f044005: encrusting corals on red coralline algae show some storm damage but most damage here stems from previous storms.
bent steel beam at the foot of Alofi
f044603: bent steel beam at the foot of Alofi in the Heta-hit depths. Notice the very barren rocks, some recently chipped. Their dark colour is from encrusting algae.
uprooted lodged in a cave
f044611: a tree was uprooted and lodged firmly inside this cave, not by Heta but by a previous cyclone.
a rubble canyon ground by rubble.
f044736: a rubble canyon ground by rubble. But it collects flying ammunition and thus saves corals elsewhere. By yielding in one place, nature saves the surround.
the 'barren' rocks of the NW side are covered in fine algae
f043705: the 'barren' rocks of the NW side are covered in fine algae, scraped off by various grazers. Large scratches by parrotfish, fine scratches by surgeonfish, triangular marks by sea urchins
this patch is criss-cross grazed mainly by urchins
f043706: this patch is criss-cross grazed mainly by urchins. Notice how nature always leaves some standing crop to regenerate the loss quickly. These barrens are very productive.

Rare photos of the inaccessible South-East side of the island between Tepa Point and Limufuafua Point
the exposed SE side of Niue
f044709: a rare photo of the exposed SE side shows leathery corals and other corals. The leathery corals do not break or chip easily.
the exposed SE side of Niue
f044710: not touched by cyclones, there is still much barren rock, covered by coralline algae, the plant that grows limestone rock.
healthy corals in the SE coast of Niue
f044711: healthy corals but not much variety. Wave exposure is one limitation but cool water another, and above all a lack of nutrients, necessary for all life.
healthy corals in the SE coast of Niue
f044712: Niue's pristine coast shows healthy corals and aggregations of small fish that live from these.
leathery corals and hard corals in SE coast of Niue
f044713: leathery corals and hard corals in profusion on the coast untouched by cyclones
large giant clam Tridacna maxima.
f044715: large giant clams show that exploitation is not a problem on this coast. Note the ridges on the outside of this clam, unaffected by cyclones. Tridacna maxima.
healthy corals in the SE coast of Niue
f044717: any coral sticking out above the rest, risks its life in this wave-pounded environment. It shows that corals can grow tall in-between storms.
broken corals are also found in the SE coast of Niue
f044718: broken corals and empty territory are also found on the 'good' SE coast, providing food for grazing fish and snails.

Photos taken near a popular dive spot north of the Matavai Resort
coral landscape near Matavai
f044923: coral landscape near Matavai shows many healthy corals. Lower down, the wave action is less, allowing brittle plate corals to grow.
coral landscape near Matavai
f044927: the coral scape also shows broken corals and much empty space. The competition for space is not as strong as where waters are warmer with more nutrients.
coral landscape near Matavai
f044720: near the Matavai Resort, coral is still in pretty good state, like these acropora plates. But they quickly dominate the seascape.
healthy coral at 25m near Matavai
f044721 deeper than 25m there has been no cyclone damage. Acropora plates dominate the seascape, shading out all smaller corals
coral landscape near Matavai
f044722: some coral damage dates back to previous cyclones, while some is recent
a young plate coral Acropora hyacinthus
f044723: a young plate coral growing up and outward. Acropora hyacinthus
an acropora plate coral
f044724: an acropora plate coral with its open structure, allowing for more protected surface area for its many little polyps.
healty corals in clear water near Matavai
f044726: the diver sees a variety of corals, small fish and lots of very clear water
a pink branching coral Stylophora sp.
f044731: a pink branching coral and others. Stylophora sp.

The underwater barrens and corals near Avatele, a popular harbour with lagoon and good access to the sea
barren rocks at Avatele
f044914: near Avatele, the rocks are visited frequently enough by cyclones, for them to look barren
sheltered side of bommy near Avatele
f044916: the sheltered side of a coral bommy shows 50% live corals. Because corals have living algae in their skins, they look drab.
exposed side of bommy near Avatele
f044918: the exposed side of the same bommy shows only 5% of live coral, mostly deeper down.
large corals between Avatele & Matavai   Acropora species.
f044921: between Avatele and Matavai, corals become increasingly larger and abundant. This is one of many Acropora antler coral species.
hardy seaweed in the wave-wash zone
f043800: this insignificant seaweed is hardy enough to grow in the wave-washed zone. It is tough as boots.
seaweeds survive best by asexual reproduction
f043801: nearly all seaweeds reproduce asexually by forming spreading networks of turfing roots
this red turfing seaweed
f044300: this red turfing seaweed is highly successful but is somehow not eaten
white mushroom seaweed around Alofi
f045033: near Alofi this white mushroom seaweed can be found. It is not eaten by the many grazers.
inside a dark canyon under a bubble umbrella,
f044036: inside a dark canyon under a foam umbrella, coral can grow only slowly as also the red coralline algae. Surgeonfish hang around to keep this environment clean.
slow growing coral
f044832: a diver finds slow growing coral under a roof window inside a cave. Such leaves of coral may die back, then grow over the old structures again, for hundreds of years.
slow growing reddish corals Montipora sp.
f044833: slow growing reddish corals in a roof-lit cave. No signs of cyclone damage on these rather old corals. Red leaf coral, Montipora sp.
sleeping red squirrel fish Sargocentron spiniferum
f044835: where it becomes pitch dark, the night shift sleeps like these red squirrel fish. This photo was taken with  preset distance and other settings, pointing the camera into a dark hole. Sargocentron spiniferum
caves and canyons in Niue
f044610: caves and canyons are found everywhere, fun to explore. The ones near Alofi support growth of green algae.

detailed corals
brown coral polyps half extended
f043503: brown coral polyps half extended by day to catch the most sunlight. Corals have brown algae in their tissues.
at night the coral polyps compete for space
f044204: at night the coral polyps compete for space while trying to catch small plankton particles (Favia sp)
closeup of brain coral Leptoria sp.
f043504: closeup of brain coral, Leptoria sp.
during the day the polyps hide
f043505: during the day the polyps hide deep between the hard protecting ribs
close-up of encrusting coral Porites
f043510: by day this encrusting Porites coral has its polyps withdrawn but bright sunlight penetrates. Both Porites and Acropora are found in rockpools as they survive being out of the water for a while.
detail of acropora plate coral
f044208: detail of Acropora coral shows complicated structure and small polyps. This coral follows a complicated growth pattern by which it eventually forms a mushrooming plate above other corals
detail of acropora plate coral
f044926: detail of acropora plate coral showing how it creates maximal surface area and space in-between for its polyps.
coral that extends its tissues by day. Favia sp.
f044211: a type of honeycomb coral extends its tissues by day but retracts its tentacles. 
Favia sp.
closup of an unidentified coral
f044321: closeup of an unidentified coral with a smooth surface. 
remarkable structure of an unknown coral
f044931: remarkable structure of an unknown coral
antler type acropora coral
f044933: antler type Acropora coral
Turret coral Tubastrea sp
f044329: anemone-like coral thrives in dark places. Turret coral Tubastrea sp. No algae in its tissues!
n anemone living like a coral in symbiosis
f044900: an anemone living like a coral in symbiosis with brown algal cells in its skin. Actinodiscus sp.
large anemone colony Actinodiscus sp
f044901: large disc anemone colony saved from cyclones by a protecting rock stack shown in f044914 above. 
Actinodiscus sp.
coral polyps retract when touched
f044915: the coral on left was touched and it retracted its polyps. The one on right did not notice (Cladiella australis)
two leathery corals  Sarcophyton elegans.
f044928: two leathery corals, one with its long polyps out. Sarcophyton elegans.
this leathery coral has large polyps Sarcophyton elegans.
f044934: this leathery coral has large polyps. 
Sarcophyton elegans.
coral dying
f043537: coral dying (bleaching) from living (brown) to dead (white) and invaded by green algae (greenish). Porites sp.
dying purple coral
f044013: a purple coral with very small polyps is dying back. The white patch died recently; the green patch may have been caused by Heta
a brain coral dying back
f044322: a brain coral dying back. Yet these waters are unpolluted and cool.
acropora table coral
f044905: Acropora table coral - dead or alive?
pink coral is invaded by red coralline algae  Stylophora
f044920: die-back appears to be common in corals. Here a pink Stylophora coral is invaded by red coralline algae
a diver holds wandering coral Herpolitha sp
f043928: a diver holds wandering slipper mushroom coral for size comparison.  Slipper coral Herpolitha sp.
wandering coral  or slipper coral Herpolitha sp
f043929: wandering slipper coral is not attached. Storms keep it moving and on top of others. It is a good survival strategy. They can even lift themselves up.
diver holding a wandering coral
f044930: a diver demonstrates size and shape of a wandering slipper coral. By night it extends long polyps.
christmas tree fan worms  Spirobranchus giganteus
f044012: this fine structured Porites coral offers space to burrowing christmas tree fan worms in all colours. Spirobranchus giganteus
a massive coral remains unscathed from the storm Astreopora sp
f044014: a massive boulder star coral remains unscathed from the storm. 
Astreopora sp.
bite marks from parrot fish.
f044015: these scratches are bite marks from parrot fish. They are quite rare as parrot fish mainly graze on the algal turf growing on coralline algae

plankton feeding fish
juvenile banded flag-tail Kuhlia taeniura
f043530: juvenile banded flag-tails in a small rock pool. Kuhlia taeniura (Cuvier & Valenciennes) or Kuhlia mugil?
banded flag-tail Kuhlia taeniura
f044318: banded flag-tail almost invisible just under the surface near shallow rocks. In the foreground an Achilles tang.
banded flag-tail Kuhlia taeniura
f045008: banded flag-tail are almost invisible, but so are the pipers and grey mullets.
small basslets
f043533: these small basslets are found even in very small rock pools. In the back lives a moray eel.
black and white basslet
f044221: black and white basslet looks like snow when schooling.
rock skipping blenny
f043535: the most prominent fish of Niue is perhaps this tiny rock skipping blenny, living half out of the water. It can move very fast bent in this u-shape which forms two legs: head and tail. Istiblennius edentulus
rock skipping blenny
f043815: this rock skipper blenny was photographed above water, where it prefers to be. They are so cute. Istiblennius edentulus


two blenneys side by side
f043821: two blennies side by side, related to the rock skipper (male and female?). Little fish like these may well be endemic, which means they are found nowhere else but around Niue
two blenneys sharing the same burrow
f043826: two blennies of different kind sharing a burrow to watch the photographer. They are so cute.
purple soldier fish
f043617: this purple cardinal fish is out at night to feed on plankton but here it shies away from the diver's torch
butterfly fish
f043628: four-spot butterfly fish (Chaetodon quadrimaculatus
long-nose butterflyfish. Forcipiger flavissimus
f044219: long-nose butterflyfish can feed from deep narrow holes. Forcipiger flavissimus (Jordan & McGregor, 1898)
white-tipped soldierfish Myripristis vittata
f043708: a white-tipped soldierfish active by night. Behind it a finelined squirrelfish.  Myripristis vittata (Cuvier, 1831)
fine-lined squirrelfish. Sargocentron microstoma
f043716: a fine-lined squirrelfish, actively feeding on plankton by night. It has a long anal fin. 
Sargocentron microstoma (Guenther, 1859)
delicately tailed demoiselle
f044215: a delicately tailed demoiselle or damselfish.
blue spotted trevally  Caranx melampygus
f044229: a blue spotted trevally looks almost invisible in the clear water. Blue jack, 
Caranx melampygus

grazing fish
convict surgeonfish. Acanthurus triostegus
f043612: this convict surgeonfish is named after the stripes found on a convict's overalls. Acanthurus triostegus (Linnaeus, 1758)
convict surgeonfish. Acanthurus triostegus
f043718: convict surgeonfish in pyjamas, shows blotches on its sides
surgeon fish Acanthurus sp.
f043618: surgeon fishes are some of the gaudiest coloured fishes on the reef. They graze by day and sleep at night. Acanthurus sp.
sugeonfish Acanthurus guttatus
f043631: a beautiful speckled surgeonfish photographed at night. Acanthurus guttatus (Bloch & Scheider)
speckled surgeon fish Acanthurus guttatus
f045020: speckled surgeon fish at night Acanthurus guttatus
school of speckled surgeonfish
f045103: a school of speckled surgeonfish patrolling the shallows for grazing their fluffy algae
deep blue velvet surgeon fish. Acanthurus nigricans
f044111: deep blue velvet surgeon fish by night. Acanthurus nigricans (Acanthurus aliala)
Achilles surgeon fish Acanthurus Achilles
f044131: orange and blue Achilles tang at night keeps its daylight colours while sleeping. Acanthurus Achilles (Shaw)
Achilles surgeonfishes
f044315: orange/blue Achilles surgeonfishes interacting with the divers, being both curious and wary.
f043737: parrotfishes are large and shy by day, but by night they are deep asleep in narrow caves
f044130: an exquisitely coloured parrotfish deep asleep. A vast number of different parrotfish are found on Niue.
parrot fish gauge marks
f045001: typical parrot fish gauge marks in soft rock
sergeant-major fish  Abudefduf sordidus
f043806: these wild sergeant-major fish became tame within minutes of being fed. Abudefduf sordidus
juvenile sergeant-major fish  Abudefduf sordidus
f043809: juvenile blackspot sergeant-major fish. 
Abudefduf sordidus
(Forsskael, 1775)
adult sergeant-major fish Abudefduf septemfasciatus
f043811: all sergeant-major fish are industrious grazers on the shallow coral flats. Abudefduf septemfasciatus (Cuvier, 1830)
moorish idols. Zanclus cornutus
f044326: moorish idols are also plant eaters.  Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus, 1758)
moorish idols. Zanclus cornutus
f044327: moorish idols seek company in pairs or small groups
brassy drummers. Kyphosus vaigiensis
f044917: brassy drummers are plant eaters. Kyphosus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Note that the synonym tang for surgeonfish means sharp point or spike, referring to the sharp knives on the sides of their tail stocks.  

other fish
double-bar goatfish. Paraupeneus bifasciatus
f043624: the double-bar or double-saddled goatfish is able to feed at night with its taste-sensitive barbels. Paraupeneus bifasciatus (Lacepede, 1801)
unidentified goatfish  Mulloidichthys auriflamma
f045035: a yellow-finned, gold-lined goatfish at night. Mulloidichthys auriflamma (Forskael)
boomerang triggerfish. Sufflamen bursa
 f044216: boomerang triggerfish or keel triggerfish. 
Sufflamen bursa
(Bloch & Scheider, 1801)
pennant bannerfish. Heniochus chrysostomus
f044308: pennant bannerfish. Heniochus chrysostomus (Cuvier, 1831)
pufferfish Canthigaster amboinensis
f043604: this patterned Ambon pufferfish (Ambon toby) wedged itself inside the crack by puffing itself up. Here it will sleep and stay night after night. Canthigaster amboinensis (Bleeker, 1865)
black-spotted pufferfish  Arothron nigropunctatus
f044119: the black-spotted pufferfish is one of the most endearing creatures on the reef. It is variable in colour an can change colour at will
black-spotted pufferfish. Arothron nigropunctatus
 f044120: detail of black-spotted pufferfish. 
Arothron nigropunctatus
(Bloch & Scheider, 1801)
black spotted pufferfish  Arothron nigropunctatus
f045025: black spotted pufferfish occurs in many colours from pale to brown and yellow
pufferfish  Arothron nigropunctatus
f045028: little pufferfish are easily approached by night
black spotted pufferfish. Arothron nigropunctatus
f045029: tiny black spotted pufferfish in the hand. Arothron nigropunctatus
pufferfish  Arothron nigropunctatus
 f045037: pufferfish wedge themselves into a cosy spot and inflate for a good night's sleep
Lion fish or firefish Pterois volitans
f044232: this common lion fish is dark brown. Lion fish, also called firefish, can deliver painful stings with their back spines
lion fish. Pterois volitans
f044235: closeup of brown common lion fish.
Pterois volitans
lion fish. Pterois volitans
f044325: a young brown common lion fish
peacock flounder. Bothus mancus
 f044937: a rare peacock flounder in Avatele harbour. There is little sandy habitat, but this flounder changes its colours as it moves over various rock forms, and is fascinating to watch. Here it has its swimsuit on, pale with blue flowers. Bothus mancus (Brousonet, 1782)
large tranquil rock pool
f045132: most fish are plant eaters, scraping algae off the coral rocks. Here one sees various species of surgeonfish and sergeant-majors.
large rock pool
f045129: The larger rock pools are tranquil and hold a lot of fish

predators and predating fish
sea snake
f043511: sea snakes are very common. This one has folded itself into a shallow hole and is sleeping but even so it must surface now and then for a breath of air
closeup of a sea snake
f043517: closeup of a sea snake shows sharp eyesight and very small mouth which can still open wide. It has very small fangs backed by a lot of powerful poison.
closeup of sea snake
 f044114: closeup of sea snake
a small octopus
f043620: a small octopus withdraws into its den. Notice the many grazing snails.
spotted rock cod. Epinephelus merra
f043622: this spotted rock cod is a small grouper. 
Epinephelus hexagonatus (Bloch & Scheider) 
banded moray eel
f043719: banded moray eel enjoys protection because it looks somewhat like a poisonous sea snake (Gymnothorax rueppellii)
white-mouth moray. Gymnothorax meleagris
 f044316: this white spotted brown moray is a white-mouth moray. Gymnothorax meleagris
well-camouflaged octopus
f045013: a well-camouflaged large octopus at night

invertebrate grazers and detritivores
spiny snail
f043513: this spiny snail has a narrow opening to fend predators off. It grazes on the wave-swept coral platforms
spiny snail
f043514: don't step on this sharp snail that grazes in the most wave-washed places
cowry snail
 f043731: this beautiful cowry actively grazes in deeper water by night. Cypraea sp.
the underside of a cowry shell
f043732: underneath, this cowry shows fine colour patterns around its narrow opening
grazing cowry
f043819: grazing cowries like this one are quite common on the shallow flats, but they are collected for decorative purposes
spiny snail
f220625: don't step on this sturdy little grazing snail, little bigger than a thumb nail.
black urchins protected inside their burrows
 f220630: the most amazing of all survivors is this little black urchin, living in the worst of the wave wash, inside its burrows and trenches. With some difficulty also a limpet (centre-right) and a spined snail (top-left) can be found.
sea cucumber
f043600: this fluffy sea cucumber comes out at night to lick the rocks clean (Stichopus horrens)
large armoured sea cucumber
f043904: on of the most amazing creatures is this large armoured sea cucumber, growing to almost one metre long.
sea cucumber Thelenota ananas
f043906: a diver holds an armoured 'pineapple' sea cucumber for size. 
Thelenota ananas
diver holding a sea cucumber Thelenota ananas
 f043909: diver holding a medium sized armoured sea cucumber
armoured sea cucumber, Thelenota ananas
f044212: detail of the rear of an armoured sea cucumber, Thelenota ananas
detail of the front of an armoured sea cucumber Thelenota ananas
f044213: detail of the front of an armoured sea cucumber
diver finds a large armoured sea cucumber
f044800: diver finds a large armoured sea cucumber
underside of an armoured sea cucumber
 f044801: thousands of tube feet give it secure holdfast against storms
armoured sea cucumber
f044802: its back is armoured with thick leathery scales, protecting it against sand blasting and flying debris.
the harmonica sea cucumber Opheodesoma australiensis
f045034: the harmonica sea cucumber shrinks to an insignificant blob by day but extends at night to over one metre in length. It removes detritus from where it lives.
mouth of a harmonica sea cucumber. Opheodesoma australiensis
f044116: mouth of a harmonica sea cucumber, removing detritus.
Opheodesoma australiensis
sea urchin
f043512: sea urchins are perhaps the most successful grazers on the barrens of the reefs (Echinometra mathaei)
a needle urchin
f043601: a tiny needle urchin has left its hideout to graze at night (Echinothrix calamaris)
black robust needle
f043603: a black robust needle urchin is one of the largest urchins on the grazed barrens
long-spined needle urchin Diadema setosum
f043607: a long-spined needle urchin out by night. Being able to fold its thin long spines, it can creep into small cracks to sleep by day. Diadema setosum
white spined needle urchin
f045034: white spined needle urchin (Echinothrix calamaris)
hollow-spined needle
f043613: hollow-spined needle urchin comes out only by night (Echinothrix calamaris)
closeup of hollow-spined needle urchin
f043614: closeup of hollow-spined needle urchin shows anal sac (Echinothrix calamaris)
hollow-spined needle urchin
f043721: hollow-spined needle urchin (Echinothrix calamaris)
hollow-spined needle urchin
f045015: hollow-spined needle urchin folded its spines for least water drag (Echinothrix calamaris)
a short-spined purple/orange urchin
f043615: a short-spined purple/orange urchin appears to read the latest news (Tripneustes gratilla)
a colony of needle urchins
f043626: sea urchins survive hurricanes inside the holes they dig
f044913: a colony of needle urchins thriving in the worst of a rubble gully
tube snail
f044133: this tube snail lives in a hollow tube cemented to the rock. It catches plankton but also casts a sticky net to be more effective. It then pulls the net in and gobbles its own web inclusive of plankton particles that stick to it
detail of the tube of a tube snail
f044202: detail of the tube of a tube snail (Dendropoma maxima)
the giant clam  Tridacna maxima
f044224: the giant clam filters seawater for fine plankton. It is sought after because it contains much tasty flesh which can be removed easily without removing the  heavy shell, locked into the coral matrix. Tridacna maxima
the tridacna giant clam Tridacna maxima.
f044225: the tridacna giant clam has a mantle with single-celled plants that grow in sunlight. They provide the clam's main food. Tridacna maxima.

other invertebrates
feather star
f043710: this dense feather star comes out by night where it seeks a position in the current.
close up of a feather star
f043712: detail of a feather star does not quite show its very fine tube feet
feather star
f044104: this species of feather star does not move much and is out by day
feather star
f044105: this feather star hides by day. By night it coils up in the glaring dive light
feather star walking
f044106: a feather star walking on all legs, pushing from behind and pulling from the front, it walks towards bottom left. They can cover 2-5 metres a minute!
baby featherstar
f044113: a baby featherstar grows its arms one by one as it matures.
red serpent star. Leiaster speciosus
f044107: a deep red serpent star on a purple coral is regrowing some of its arms. Leiaster speciosus
red serpent star. Leiaster speciosus
f044109: detail of a red serpent star. Leiaster speciosus
christmas tree fan worms Spirobranchus giganteus
f044125: christmas tree fan worms have delicate double spirals and a closing disc. Spirobranchus giganteus
christmas tree fan worms Spirobranchus giganteus
f044135: gaudily coloured christmas tree fan worms. Spirobranchus giganteus
christmas tree fan worms Spirobranchus giganteus
f044134: christmas tree fan worms by night over a host coral with extended polyps
Spirobranchus giganteus
christmas tree fan worms Spirobranchus giganteus
f044205: one can never get enough of christmas tree fan worms
Spanish dancer Hexabranchus sanguineus
f045136: this unassuming sea slug is the famous Spanish dancer with its wide wings furled alongside its body. When it swims, it spreads its red wings with white circles, a breathtaking view to behold. Unfortunately, this was the last photo on film. Hexabranchus sanguineus

weak-shelled shore crab Grapsus grapsus tenuicrustatus.
f043526: the weak-shelled shore crab has a beautiful disruptive pattern. It moves very fast with its long legs, both in and out of the water. 
Grapsus grapsus tenuicrustatus.
weak-shelled shore crab Grapsus grapsus tenuicrustatus.
f043822: the juvenile weak-shelled shore crab is almost invisible. 
Grapsus grapsus tenuicrustatus
Plagusia depressa tuberculata
f043528: a small crab species, living in pairs along the high tide mark. 
Plagusia depressa tuberculata. All crabs, shrimps and crayfish carry their eggs until they hatch, which helps survival.
Portunus granulatus?
f043707: one of many swim crabs by night. 
Portunus granulatus?
side-spined paddle crab Charibdis sp?
f044122: a side-spined paddle crab at night. 
Charibdis sp?
flat crab Percnon planissimum
f044136: this flat crab colours well with its protective host, a hollow spined needle urchin. Percnon planissimum
banded cleaner shrimp Stenopus hispidus
f043629: the banded cleaner shrimp lives in pairs for life. During the day they advertise themselves clearly underneath overhangs for their fishy clientele. Stenopus hispidus
banded cleaner shrimp Stenopus hispidus
f043630: detail of a banded cleaner shrimp. These shrimps are very similar to those found in NZ. It does not risk its life in search of food, because its food is brought towards it as sea lice on the skins of fish.
banded cleaner shrimp Stenopus hispidus
f045016: banded cleaner shrimp in full glory. Stenopus hispidus
red cleaning shrimp
f044127: this red cleaning shrimp usually lives near eels and cleans them while sharing in their food
large-clawed hermit crab Dardanus gemmatus
f043734: a large-clawed hermit crab has collected anemones to protect its soft abdomen. Dardanus gemmatus
large-clawed hermit crab Dardanus gemmatus
f043736: because its house is so light, this anemone-covered hermit crab is able to make away fast
crayfish. Panulirus panversicolor
f044935: a very pretty white-and-pink feeler crayfish. Panulirus panversicolor. The French call it a white mustache.
green rocklobster  Panulirus penicillatus
f045024: the common green rocklobster is sought after for food. They can congregate in some caves, jealously kept secret by villagers. 
Panulirus penicillatus

snorkelling and swimming
swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044501: a swimmer explores Limu Pools where living coral is found and various species of fish
a swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044503: a swimmer explores one of the dark holes
a swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044504: the water is agreeable and clear
a swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044507: going up for another breath
swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044510: snorkeldiver enjoying weightlessness
swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044511: going up again
swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044513: no words
swimmer explores Limu Pools
f044517: most of Limu Pools is shallow and safe for children
snorkeller meets fish in Limu Pools
f044522: snorkeller meets fish. Yellow moon-wrasse 
Thalassoma lutescens
and convict surgeonfish 
Acanthurus triostegus
snorkelling through the archway in Limu Pools
f044533: snorkelling through the archway in a thick layer of blurring cool fresh water on the surface
snorkeller and fish in the archway in Limu Pools
f044536: snorkeller and fish in the archway. Nocturnal bulls-eye, surgeonfish and others
diver in distant blue
f044719: diver in distant blue shows how clear the water is with 50m visibility
exploring an underwater cave
f044805: the caves are treasures to be explored
a deep underwater cave
f044807: some caves are large and deep. Niue has many caves in shallow water.
a labyrinth in an underwater cave
f044829: some caves form an underwater labyrinth with roof windows here and there
swimming in the deep blue
f045113: swimming in the deep blue sea is very pleasant
the swimmer here is 15 metres away
f045114: the swimmer here is 15 metres away, cleaving her path through the waves
clear water
f045115: the clarity of the open water allows one to identify objects at 30m depth
a swimmer descends
f045120: a swimmer descends for a closer view
swimmer in ultra clear water
f045121: swimmer in ultra clear water, lit by a late sun
ascent from a deep dip
f045122: ascent from a deep dip, skin colour lit by the warm light of a setting sun
ascent in a deep blue sea
f045127: ascent in a deep blue sea
snorkeldiver in a tranquil pool
f045135: snorkeldiver in a tranquil pool with some fresh water on top

Cyclone Heta's damage
Niue headlands post Heta
f220937: before Cyclone Heta these headlands were covered in dense scrub. Coral headlands extending into coral flats are typical of Niue. The photo shows how far and high the waves reached, removing all vegetation.
palms and plants recovering
f220420: trees stripped and palms lost but already young ones planted. But recovery from this serious storm will take longer than usual.
the flame tree
f220421: the flame tree, ready to burst into flower, is used to losing its foliage, and survived with ease.
a tree only just survives post Heta
f220426: a summer-deciduous shade tree survived but government buildings on the horizon perished. People complained that some still good buildings were bulldozed too.
shoots sprout from the rubble
f220427: 30 metres of bush perished and was bulldozed over, but shoots sprout from the rubble. The bush will recover in due time.
ancient corals exposed in solid limestone rock
f220431: ancient corals exposed in solid limestone rock show erratic structure. Some corals are found upside down and random rocks are embedded.
an erratic jumbled rock structure
f220432: an erratic jumbled rock structure due to millions of years of hurricanes. It resembles the situation under water. The resulting rock is always porous.
deep chasms breaking through the jumbled limestone
f220433: deep chasms breaking through the jumbled limestone. These enable large storms to deposit water and debris far inland
rust waiting for removal
f220434: rust waiting for the ship that never comes. Ironically, the soils here are craving for these minerals.
Cyclone Heta has added more rust to the metals dump.
f220437: Cyclone Heta has added more rust to the metals dump.
a home destroyed by Heta
f220603: the tops of houses destroyed by wind, their foundations by waves
more home destroyed by cyclone Heta
f220604: houses that stood many cyclones close to the sea, have been destroyed completely
little left of this home
f220605: the foundations and polished cool living floors are all that is left. But in the background a house survived. What lessons can be learnt?
little left of the community centre and library
f220606: all that's left of the community centre and library, with its manicured gardens
one-walled Mission Church stands alone
f220925: the one-walled Mission Church stands as a stern reminder of nature's forces
Niue Hotel
f221236: little is left of the once prestigious Niue Hotel, its accommodation blocks and manicured grounds

   Impressions of the coast
a blow hole at Ana Ana Point
f220503: a blow hole at Anaana Point sends waves 30m up in the air, and the sea does not even look wild. The coast turned away from hurricanes experiences the constant fury of large swells whipped up by never abating trade winds, which blow at a modest breeze of 15-20 knot (30-40km/h)
a beach at the end of Togulu sea track
f220505: beaches like this at the Togulu sea track near Tamakautoga village, are rare. But the deep water is still far out behind the smooth coralline ledge.
f220506: the sand is unpolluted and so is the sea, with its crystal clear water but sandy beaches are very small and few.
rough seas over the coral platform
f220510: at high tide the trade swell dumps and spills its froth over the coral platforms. At such times the sea is dangerous, and this is the fate of the coast turned to the trade winds
a sea track to the sea
f220521: because of the steep cliffs all around the island, sea tracks are important.
purple-leafed coastal lily
f220523: this purple-leafed coastal lily is very hardy. It resists salt spray and can grow in next to no soil at all.
storm damaged sea track
f220527: the access road has been destroyed which affects village life considerably. Where access to the sea is very good, a road leads to a boat ramp.
access to deep water
f220528: this is one of three places of good access to deep water, and the road has been destroyed. Notice the canoes and palm leaves to cover them up with, against piercing sunlight.
access to Limu Pools
f220533: these rocks at Limu Pools were entirely covered in lush bush, which has been cleared by Heta. The picnic tables (see the concrete blocks) set in an idyllic surround, have also been washed away.
coconut trees overlooking an azure blue sea
f220633: a tranquil view from Niue. Coconut trees overlooking an azure blue sea. 
Avatele boat ramp
f220636: at Avatele boat ramp boats are lowered into the water by crane, rather than by backing the trailer into the brine
Washaway Cafe.
f220637: Heta did not wash away the Washaway Cafe. This part of the coast was little affected, although the sea washed around and through the cafe.
Avatale boat ramp
f220704: the Avatele boat ramp has ample canoe parking. It is an economically important harbour.
sea track leading down through a cave
f220718: many sea tracks lead through a sea cave to the sea like this one at the end of an overgrown track.
access to the coral flats through a sea cave
f220719: access to the coral flats through a sea cave
a coral flat surround Niue
f220720: the entire coast is surrounded by a coral flat like this. These flats do not consist of sharp corals but they are made by coralline algae on which green and brown algae grow. Notice the mysterious round rock pools and interconnecting channels.
outrigger canoes waiting for calmer seas
f220820: outrigger canoes waiting for calmer seas or for their owners to return from overseas.
outrigger canoes heading out at sunset
f220827: canoes seeking sea for a spot of fishing before sunset.

the land
agriculture in Niue
f221228: due to the soils being poor, agriculture is done on a rotational plan (midden system), leaving much land fallow.
agriculture in Niue
f221229: the rotational midden system of agriculture looks messy but is sustainable
taro plants
f220513: taro plants in the low light of a setting sun
taro plants
f220516: the taro root is a main staple in the diet of Niueans. It grows slowly and accumulates starch over many years.
a forest plant of Niue
f220537: one of Niue's pretty forest plants
a grave site in Niue
f220519: ancestors are well  looked after with flowers that don't perish immediately.
typical coastal forest
f220710: typical coastal forest - looking towards the sun
typical coastal forest
f220711: typical coastal forest - looking away from the sun
Vaiea village
f220712: in villages like Vaiea, houses surround the village green with church and meeting hall. All villages are aware of POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants), shown in signs initiated by the United Nations. However, POPs are the least of Niue's worries.
f220713: one of the many abandoned houses. Four out of five houses are empty because their owners now live in Auckland, Niue's biggest city. This house still has an asbestos roof, which is now perceived a health hazard even though no asbestos related sickness has been recorded.
information overload?
f220714: information overload? People leaving Niue is a huge problem. The remaining ones are mainly children, the old  and infirm, but few workers.
banana trees
f220715: several varieties of banana are grown on Niue but soils are fickle. It is not predictable where they will grow best. Many grow 'wild' but are looked after and harvested by villagers
f220716: pawpaw also grow well in the wild and they taste very nice.
forests are dominated by vines
f220724: like elsewhere in the tropics, much of the forest is dominated by climbing vines
a vine in flower
f220727: one of the pretty vines in the forest
spider in the forest
f220729: Niue has large coloured spiders, but this picture exaggerates
a variety of mangrove
f220816: these trees on crutches are mangrove trees. Did Niue once have mangroves? It once was an atoll with a large lagoon, about one million years ago.
mangrove tree (Pandanus)
f220817: a stout mangrove tree (Pandanus) on stilt roots. Pandanus leaves are used for intricate weaving of detailed baskets and mats.
a crane lowering a boat into the water
f221323: a fishing trip begins with a flight by crane, since all boats must be able to leave the sea. Niue does not offer any boat shelter against hurricanes.
a good catch of tuna
f221403: a good catch after two hours of dawn trolling. Large tuna like these yellowfin and albacore are found within 1km offshore.

life on land
coconut crab - Birgus latro
f220829: coconut crabs are threatened by being eaten and by being run over as this one we met on the road by night. It has disappeared from many other islands. Birgus latro
coconut crab
f220831: already 30 years old, this foot-sized crab may not escape the pot. But for now it is safe under the admiring eyes of the photographer. Who could eat such a beautiful animal, so unique in the animal kingdom?
the uga
f220832: the uga (pronounce oongah) in a submissive pose. The coastal road running through its main territory, is a death trap for many semi-coastal animals.
land crab Geograpsus crinipes
f220912: the coastal road also threatens land crabs that play Russian roulette with motor cars. Fortunately the locals drive slowly and they are adept at dodging them 
Geograpsus crinipes
a land crab Geograpsus crinipes
f220914: a land crab considers crossing the road. These land crabs depend on the sea to complete their life cycle. Females deposit their eggs in the sea where the larvae develop into young crabs before climbing on the land.
land crab Geograpsus crinipes
f220918: feisty female land crab brandishing her claws. Geograpsus crinipes
purple land crab  Geograpsus grayi
f221121: a purple land crab on the road. Geograpsus grayi


purple land crab Geograpsus grayi
f221123: a large female purple land crab defending her brood of eggs under her abdomen. Geograpsus grayi
a purple rock crab claws
f221125: a purple rock crab attacked this cord and left her claws behind, a ploy to distract attackers.
large red land crab Discoplax longipes
f220922: large red land crab uses one of its long legs like a blind man's cane. Discoplax longipes
dead red land crab Discoplax longipes
f220924: many land crabs face death on the road as road kill, like this large red crab. Discoplax longipes
a swarm of butterflies
f220902: a swarm of butterflies draws attention. Cyclone Heta upset the normal ecological cycles. Pests of caterpillars and no birds to eat them, are followed by swarms of butterflies.
closeup of the dominant butterfly
f220904: closeup of the dominant butterfly
butterflies descend on spongy leaves
f220909: after rains, butterflies descend on spongy leaves to drink water

places to see - Avaiki
sea track Avaiki
f220612: through this impressive cave one can reach the sea at Avaiki near Makefu village
sea track Avaiki
f220613: impressive and colourful dripstone formations but the sea stormed through to destroy all vegetation inland. Notice the many colours of red, brown and green algae able to live here because daylight enters from two sides.
the seaward side of Avaiki cave
f220614: the seaward side of Avaiki cave is clearly subjected to storm damage.


the rock pools at Avaiki
f220616: the rock pools at Avaiki are colourful and full of life. In the background the swimming pool of kings
the main pool at Avaiki
f220620: the main pool is like swimming inside a cathedral. Crystal clear sea water overlaid by cool fresh water. But no swimming is allowed here on Sundays.
main pool Avaiki
f220622: spectacular colours of encrusting life in the main pool of Avaiki
coral flat and cathedral  of Avaiki
f220631: coral flat and cathedral pool of Avaiki



the Togo Chasm
Togo sea track
f220723: the Togo sea track leads through some nice native coastal forest.
edge of Togo track
f220815: the end of the forest is marked by a lonely coconut tree, warped by winds. From the top of the ridge, one descends to the Alofi platform surrounding the whole island.
Togo track
f220732: the Togo track leads through an alien landscape of razor sharp pinnacles where plants are forbidden. These sharp rocks were formed by wind-driven saltwater raindrops excavating ancient sharp coral organisms.
Togo track
f220733: this is the landscape that belongs to the coast facing away from cyclones. It consists of ancient coral rocks in which the corals are still largely whole while pointing upward.
ancient corals carved out by rain drops
f220811: the rocks here are very sharp indeed due to ancient corals carved out by rain drops
raindrops excavated coral structure
f221523: raindrops excavated this coral structure, as sharp as if it were still alive today
coral structure excavated by rain drops
f221524: a million year old coral, excavated by rain drops. The dark paint consists of lichens that can live almost anywhere from the moisture and fertility in the air.
coral structure
f221525: the excavated sharpness in detail is uncanny
Togo chasm
f220734: in this hostile landscape lies a hidden oasis inside a chasm, complete with forbidden palm trees
Togo chasm
f220735: the Togo chasm contains a beach and palm trees and more hidden treasures
descent into Togo chasm
f220737: descent into the chasm is steep and deep. No OSH here.
steps down into Togo chasm
f220801: looking back at the 27 big steps down
inside the Togo chasm
f220802: an oasis with the feel of a desert oasis
the back of Togo chasm
f220804: behind blockading rocks lies another oasis, moist and cool with a green fresh water pool at its very end
sea cave at Togo
f220809: a sea cave with a roof light leads to the sea. It can be found immediately left of the ladder.
a natural bridge
f220814: at the end of the sea cave the tradewind-fanned sea foams wildly under a natural bridge

Hannan Airport
f220822: with only two flights arriving each week, Hannan Airport lies abandoned most of the time. Its big trees downed by Heta.
the tempory hospital
f220823: the temporary hospital and ambulance after the old hospital close to the sea, was severely damaged.
Broadcasting Corporation Niue
f221320: Broadcasting Corporation Niue with its dish antennas to the rest of the world, still buckled
Government House
f221312: Government House, spared from Heta's wrath, right above the sea.
Alofi shopping centre
f221321: the shopping centre with the WestPac bank on left
the main intersection of Alofi
f221409: the main intersection of Alofi with on the right side the police station, the development bank and the market place. Just visible on left, Government House
families are often buried at home
f221329: Many locals bury their family close to home and look well after their graves.
flame tree
f221310: the first rays of the sun sets the budding flame tree alight over Alofi's anchorage for visiting yachts.
a view from Alofi in the setting sun
f221331: stripped trees and ships at anchor in a setting sun

show day at Tuapa
show day at Tuapa
f220926: show day at Tuapa begins early with food
a tethered uga Birgus latro
f220927: a tethered uga of some 40 years old sells for NZ$15. Males grow much larger than females. At ten years of age, coconut crabs are only fist-sized. Birgus latro
coconut crabs are varied in their colours Birgus latro
f220928: coconut crabs are rather varied in their colours. 50-year old males are truly awesome but this one is only 30 years old.
show day offers produce for sale
f220930: the show day also offers produce for sale like gigantic taro roots, strange bananas and more
a large island turnout at Tuapa show day
f220935: counting a few hundred participants means a large island turnout
local parties are well catered
f221101: the local parties are well catered to but the food tastes bland
Saturday is used for communal working bees
f221205: the Saturday is used for communal working bees like this one replacing an asbestos roof

the Ship arrives
heavy equipment for shifting containers
f221404: heavy equipment for shifting containers,  waiting for the Ship to arrive. Reef Shipping has a large permanent investment here to support its shipping operation.
stacked empty containers are waiting for the ship
f221405: neatly stacked empty containers are waiting for the ship which incurred delays
the container ship has arrived
f221421: the container ship has arrived and is swinging around its anchor for a stern line to the shore.
heavy container moving equipment
f221422: heavy container moving equipment is readied - trucks, loaders and forklifts.
loading and unloading the ship
f221423: the first full containers have been unloaded; from the ship into barges and from there onto land. It can be a tricky operation in unfavourable conditions but today the sea is unusually calm.
the crane used for loading and unloading
f221424: much depends on this crane. Containers are loaded onto transporters by the wharf crane and must be unloaded with this crane to free the transporters up again. If one breaks down, the ship's departure is delayed.

a new future
young women of Niue
f221006: will these girls have babies in Niue or Auckland? Educated through a NZ education system with English as main language, they are well prepared either way.
young men of Niue
f221037: will these young lads stay or leave? Niue needs fit men prepared to bolster the revival of Niue's economy, but Auckland's way of life beckons.
the new fish factory
f221401: the new fish factory nearing completion but will there be enough fish and which men and women will go out after them? Will there be ships suitable for this special task? Will the catch reach distant shores?
a vanilla plantation
f221203: a vanilla plantation in the rain. Vanilla is an orchid, of which the valuable black dried seed pods are used. Being a shade loving vine, it is trained on a living shade tree and draped in loops around it.
a young nonu tree
f220708: a young nonu tree, already bearing fruit. Nonu juice is believed a health panacea, in eager demand worldwide.
the nonu fruit
f221520: the nonu fruit on which much of future prosperity depends. Organically grown or wild nonu is even more valuable.
nonu saplings
f221527: tens of thousands of nonu saplings in long rows await the tribulations of the dry season, yet to come. The vagaries of nature are large.
the nonu processing plant
f221530: the nonu processing plant is nearing completion, hoping for rich harvests from the forest and from own plantings

f221534: photography by Floor Anthoni floor@seafriends.org.nz. All photos are available in high resolution format.