Victor Bonito's visit to Naitauba

Naitauba’s reef is a complex living system nearly 12 miles in circumference, extending many hundreds of feet into the ocean depths, and millions of years old. And yet, as a living system, it is under threat right now, largely as a result of human activities, and most significantly, over a span of the past few decades.

The vast scale and complexity of the reef make monitoring and understanding it a humbling task, especially as the changes seem to unfold more and more rapidly with each passing year. And yet it is a fundamental part of our care for this beautiful and unique Island.

So we are immensely grateful to have had the opportunity in July 2016 to host innovative marine ecologist and biologist Victor Bonito for a one-week visit to Naitauba to see the reef, assess its condition, identify the factors affecting its health, and give us directions forward.

Naitauba Reef Update - The State of the Reef After Cyclone Winston

Cyclone Winston hit Naitauba almost four months ago - in its aftermath a lot of our time and energy was dedicated to repair the damage it caused to roads, utilities and marine transportation and to provide safe shelter for all the residents on the Island after so many buildings had been damaged by the cyclone.

It is only gradually that we are getting a picture of the impact of the cyclone on the reef. Our most recent outing was offshore from Lion’s Lap, a more remote part of the Island. One major observation that we made so far is that the impact of the hurricane on the reef varies significantly in different sections of the reef.

Relief Support Efforts For Naitauba Affected by Cyclone Winston

The strongest cyclone in recorded history hit Fiji yesterday. The Island of Naitauba has been utterly devastated, crucial structures have been destroyed, but thankfully everyone on the island is safe, there have been no injuries. Communication with Naitauba is limited to satellite phone as power and internet are down. If you would like to help please consider making a donation through the website below. It will help us to assist our friends on Naitauba with their most urgent needs. We will keep updating details about the destruction caused by Winston as we receive more information directly from the island.


March 2015 - El Nino arrives on Naitauba

Over the past five years, we have witnessed and documented a period of almost unbroken re-growth and recovery on Naitauba’s reef. Coral and fish populations have been growing for well over a decade following the severe coral bleaching incidents that damaged much of the reef in 2000 and 2002.

It has seemed that global warming has been somehow miraculously “on hold”, letting us glimpse the richness and extraordinary regenerative capabilities of this living reef system. Still, we have known all along that this fortunate period of benign weather and sea conditions would likely not last forever.

A major change is underway now. Key cycles in Pacific Ocean currents and weather are moving into a new phase. “El Nino” conditions have now been confirmed across the Pacific, and are expected to extend into the Northern Hemisphere summer.

We saw early warning signs back in January, 2014, with a long string of hot sunny days and flat calm seas that heated the surface waters of the lagoon to the point that we began to see coral bleaching in many parts of the inner reef.  

January 2015 - Update on the reef study process

First, we want to begin this update by offering our sincere thanks to everyone who has helped this remarkable process to manifest and grow. The strength of your response has given us the confidence and inspiration to keep moving forward, and your expressions of support and encouragement keep the absolute importance of the entire process always before us.

Since the visit from the University of the South Pacific’s reef team in September, we have been working to integrate what we learned and look ahead toward our next steps. During their visit, Cherie, Lai, and Ben not only carried out their surveys on the reef, they also helped to open up a dialogue about making sure that all Island residents and staff are fully educated and comply with sustainable fishing practices on the reef. This is an essential dimension of our care for the reef now and into the future.