Eggs in the making
Sometimes it takes a girl a while to get the house in order before she starts a family!
The female Anenomefish is laying eggs at the end of the clip.
Where’s your itsy bitsy teenie weenie RED polka dot bikini?
Return to The Cave
At various times since September 2014, when I last filmed The Cave, I have bubbled by to check it out. No action to report until last week when all the glass fish, shrimps, coral trout and the Ornate Ghost Pipefish were there in all their glory (4 of them). It seems that they come with the cold water and they hang out at the same places each year, but where they go after is a mystery.
In my experience there is only one more exotic than these elegant creatures, that being the leafy sea dragon.
Happy bubbling, Jill, Grant, Jase, Katie and Corey plus Team Uepi
Soft Coral crab decorates itself!
The NEPHTHEIDAE family of soft corals have bloomed in the past 18 months at Uepi. So there are lots of chances to find the soft coral crab (Hoplophrys oatesi) and observe these tiny critters close up and personal. No wonder they look like the coral they live in - the decorator comes out as it cuts a bit of coral, appears to chew or put some glue on the end and then plants it on its back. See what you think - fascinating huh??
Kellys and Uepi Crew
When the tide comes in with a rush it's time to watch out for everything. Chances are good for rays and sharks as well as a ton of fish. It is a challenge holding position with the water raging around, but well worth the effort just to catch a glimpse of the rarer and more elusive animals.
Stay with the rush!
Kellys Inc and Team Uepi
Fish encounters of the daily kind
Our daily adventures underwater always include a lot of fish. Sometimes it's just a flash as they dash out of sight, however on occasions they want to be the star of the show.
Jill, Grant and Team Uepi
This action is not something I see often. The sharks are always wary of sharing their moment, however its always a treat to see them sitting up on their tails with tiny cleaner fish darting in and out of the teeth and the gills. Stay scrubbed!
Kelly's Inc and Team Uepi
Helpful Hints for a Healthy Holiday
Helpful Hints for a Healthy Holiday
Traveling without the right medicines could be as awkward as taking a banana to a pineapple fight! Once you land on Uepi Island, you’re not going to want to leave. So, if you get sick and need medicines it’s much better if you’re prepared!
Start your holiday with awareness of the health risks when travelling in a developing country. When staying or transiting through the larger towns, use public toilets only if absolutely necessary and stick to bottled drinking water, as these are the most likely sources of nasty stomach bugs. If you are so unlucky to contract a diarrhoeal illness before you arrive at Uepi Island, you should be prepared. Your doctor may prescribe emergency antibiotics to cover for bacterial diarrhoea and you should have them dispensed to bring with you. Remember that for infective diarrhoea, anti-diarrhoeal medicines (like Gastrostop or Imodium) should only be used in an emergency situation, as typically, it’s better out than in!!! A supply of rehydration salts (like Hydralyte or Gastrolyte) is most useful to prevent dehydration related to illness or even if you find yourself excessively sweaty in our humid climate.
The common cold or flu could attempt to spoil your diving holiday, however, some medicines might help you cope with the symptoms. Pseudoephedrine is the most effective nasal decongestant and in some cases enables you to return to diving sooner. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that you find the most suitable product for you.
Our marine environment is absolutely full of life. Of course, we are able to observe and enjoy the visible sea creatures, however, the microorganisms that we don’t see can cause the odd ear infection. Otitis externa (outer ear infection) is common and usually requires treatment with an eardrop (like Sofradex or Otodex). Otitis media (middle ear infection) is also quite common and will require treatment with oral antibiotics, typically Amoxycillin. The above are prescription medicines in Australia and you must discuss with your doctor. Drying agents (like Aqua Ear) can be purchased over-the-counter and are useful to prevent external ear infections.
You might already know that mosquitoes and other critters call the Solomon Islands home. Although we are lucky to have no mosquito born illnesses here on Uepi Island, Malaria and Dengue fever exist throughout the Solomon Islands. You may choose to take anti-malarial medicines (especially if you are spending time in larger towns and villages) and it is important to discuss the risk-benefit of prophylactic measures with your doctor. Insect repellent should be used and longer clothing worn at dusk and dawn may also prevent unwanted mosquito bites. Mosquitoes and friends like to bite, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little itchy. Make sure someone in your group travels with over-the-counter oral antihistamines and a topical product (like Medi-Cream or Soov that contains a local anaesthetic and antiseptic) to deal with any unexpected skin conditions that can be related to the climate, mosquitoes, minor wounds or stingers in the water.
Anaphylactic reactions are always serious, but please, be aware that at Uepi we can not call 000. This means, you must travel with 2 Epipens (Adrenaline injection) if you have a known or potentially serious allergy (to foods, insects, jellyfish etc).
If you’re travelling with children, we already know you’re organized. Be sure to bring medicines for your kids, as we don’t have access to a pharmacy once you’re in the Marovo Lagoon and children’s formulations are unlikely to be available on site.
Keep in mind that Uepi is remote and the weather can unexpectedly affect your travel. For this reason, it is essential that you travel with an extra supply of any regular medicines just in case you are stranded in paradise! Always carry essential medicines, prescription eyewear or other must-haves in your carry-on luggage, as you can never be sure your checked bags will have the same journey as you!
Travel tips and hints
The weather at Uepi is tropical & equatorial (latitude 8 deg S), with warm air & water temperatures all year round. Daytime temperatures average 30° C (around 87 deg F) with some humidity, depending on the time of year. Temperatures at night are generally mid to high 20's (around 75 deg F). Rainfall is year round, but the period from December to March is generally a little wetter, mildy hotter & more humid. May to August is breezy at times due to the moderate South East Trade winds and is the cooler, less humid period. Daily weather is greatly affected by local influences and most days have a changing mix of calm periods, breeze, sun and clouds. Generally speaking the weather is warm and comfortable and not extreme.
Please see Helpful hints for a healthy holiday
Water supplied by Uepi is fresh rainwater and we go to great lengths to ensure it is safe to drink. This does not guarantee that water from other sources within the country are safe. If in doubt, we recommend boiling water before consumption. Bottled water is also available for purchase from our bar.
Light casual clothing is fine at Uepi.
Custom protocol for women : Uepi staff are comfortable with western fashion including brief modern swim wear. However whilst in the presence of other local people at Uepi, and especially elsewhere, women should cover their thighs so as not to offend (e.g. sarong or non-brief shorts).
Suitable footwear is essential. Whilst Thongs (Jandals, FlipFlops) will generally be enough around our resort paths, the jungle paths and other excursions require a pair of sneakers or good sandals.
We strongly advise all guests to bring a light raincoat as much travelling in the Solomon Islands is in the open (ie open boats etc) and rain showers, whilst normally light and brief, can be frequent and heavy some days.
To counter sunburn a shady hat is necessary (preferably one that will not blow off when travelling in boat) and at times a longsleeve shirt.
We also recommend guests bring a small torch and small fold up umbrella .
The Solomon Dollar "SBD$" is the unit of currency. The ANZ 'Solomon Islands' Internet site provides typical bank counter foreign exchange rates. Note that exchange rates at foreign Airport cash exchanges and within the Solomon Islands at hotels and businesses will vary considerably. There are authorized cash exchange facilities at the Honiara International Airport arrival/departure area. ANZ, Wespac and BSP operate in Honiara and some other towns.
If after clearing customs in Honiara you have a domestic connection to catch then you should be aware the domestic terminal is alongside the International, about a 5 minute walk along an unsealed road. If you choose you can catch a taxi having established the fare beforehand (we suggest SBD$30 maximum). Once at the domestic terminal check in immediately and ensure you know what other airports your aircraft will land at so as to listen out for any boarding calls. Note that when booking your airline seats try to ensure that your domestic baggage allowance matches your international allowance as most times the domestic ticket allowance is less. In Brisbane check in all the way to Seghe as this simplifies your ticketing and baggage allowances.
The current (Jan 2014) taxi fare Airport to Honiara (one way) is SBD$100. Uepi has a specific taxi driver (private owner) we highly recommend who we use for transport, tourism services and others tasks.
What to bring:
We are often asked how guests can help out and what gifts they can bring for the local people. Basic school materials are always useful and very well received, ie exercise books, pens, pencils, coloured pencils and chalk. Other useful items are clothing in good conditions; shorts and t shirts for the men and boys and skirts, t-shirts and summer dresses for the women and girls, cotton sheets & towels. Shorts and skirts should not be 'short". Baby clothes are very popular.
Medical evacuation insurance is compulsory for all divers at Uepi. Divers Alert Network "DAN" is highly recommended and cost effective. DAN evacuation insurance can be purchased via the DAN website. Our experience is that DAN are far superior in dealing with a diving medical incident including Medical Evacuation. Other travel insurance may cover divers but this should be confirmed beforehand. Whilst Honiara has a Decompression Chamber it may not be available at times due to operational requirements. Townsville is the next option for decompression therapy.
Disruptions due to airlines, weather, illness, civil and personal matters are a fact of life throughout the world. We strongly advise that insurance to cover these matters is taken out to cover any such incidents.