Sea Snakes

According to the guidebooks it is fairly uncommon to see the highly venomous black and white banded sea snake (look up the snake on google images…) in Fiji. I say that is a bunch of @^#&&%$!. In two months I have seen three, each time the snake has gotten closer to me before I even realize its there. The first time on Ovalau Island, jumping off the small town bridge, a small sea snake came up the river. Just as I was about to jump in a local yelled stop, if he hadn’t said anything I would have jumped on it. The locals all cleared the water for at least 20 minutes until they were sure the snake had left. The second encounter, I was on a beach with some friends, enjoying a cool, breezy Fiji night and doing some star-gazing. We walked down to the water and realized that the water had some bioluminescent organisms and as we moved our feet in the shallow water, the microorganisms would light up a purplish, bright color (a very cool experience). As we were watching the bioluminescent, the person standing to the right of me, graded the person standing to the right of him and essentially threw her out of the water. He shined a light and a medium sized sea snake was slithering up on the beach, about 5 feet from me, so it must have been inches from her foot (safe to say our beach night ended there). The most recent experience I was in the waters of Taveuni, throwing our rugby ball with some friends in stomach deep water. Directly in front of me I saw a wavy string-like object and half paying attention, I thought it was the string of my bathing suit so I began to reach for it. Then I saw the black and white stripes and serpentine-like movement. What happened next was a blur but I know I sprinted out of the water, probably yelling and I remember seeing the snake dart off in the opposite direction. The snake could not have been more than a few inches away from me and must have been at least a two feet long.

 

These events all happened before I did my research on the sea snake. That night I asked the locals at the lodge about see snakes. The told me that the venom of the snake, is easily strong enough to kill a man (true), and 20 times more potent than any land snake’s venom (untrue). They also told me that the snakes are very docile, not aggressive and their mouths are generally too small to bite people. The only places they can bite are the webbing between the fingers and maybe where your ear lobe attaches to your head. I looked this up later and that was all true.

 

So maybe I overacted a bit but I am not exactly keen to test out the theory that they are docile and their mouths aren’t big enough to bite. Additionally, it’s weird that I have seen so many and been so close to so many. Anyway, if a sea snake finally finishes me off, its been documented now haha. Again, I encourage you to look up a google image of the snake, not fun to be so close to.

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