Overnight, the seas calmed. We were treated to deep blue, glassy seas with a small swell for most of the day. We thoroughly enjoyed time on the deck with beautiful clouds and a few rainbows. Some flying fish were spotted, but the seabirds were the highlight for me. We observed sooty terns, jaegers, and red-footed boobies, but the tubenoses were the best. We also spotted a few rare Vanuatu petrels, along with other petrels and many wedge-tailed shearwaters. After a delicious dinner, it was time for the one and only National Geographic Orion crew show!
National Geographic Orion
Early this morning, we came inside the reef that surrounds the island of Ono. There are many other small islands inside the reef as well, so we had a great opportunity to get out in the Zodiacs. After breakfast, our scouting parties went off in different directions to find the best places to take guests. We settled on one of the islets that is a wildlife sanctuary, and we found many masked and red-footed boobies perched in the trees. Though they are not yet nesting, and many were out at sea for the day, we still saw dozens of birds. Higher up, we saw both greater and lesser frigatebirds, and on the way back to the ship, we spotted some black-naped terns and a fruit dove. This afternoon was our last chance to get in the water on this voyage, so we set up the snorkel platform and the glass-bottomed Zodiac. We had a sunny and hot afternoon to cruise around the coral heads. We observed new fish and appreciated the ones we have come to recognize and love. Our captain bid us a fond farewell this evening while we enjoyed the guest slideshow dressed in our finest clothes. From the Solomon Islands to Vanuatu and now into Fiji, we have experienced much of the beauty and diversity of this region of the world.