After climbing down along a trail through dense and luxuriant tropical vegetation, we arrived at a small cove, bordered on three sides by jagged uplifted limestone. The pool beneath us was glowing a glorious blue color, inviting us in to have a closer look. After donning our snorkel gear, we glided through the water, crossing paths with butterflyfish, Moorish idols, and other brightly colored reef fish.
While we were watching a group of brick-red soldierfish hovering in the dark beneath a rocky ledge, we heard the call: “sea snake!” We dropped everything and sliced through the water in the direction of the voice that sounded the call. And there it was. From head to toe (well, tail), the snake’s body was covered with black bands alternating with grayish-white bands, terminating in a keel-like tail, completely unlike any terrestrial snake we’d ever seen. The snake was slowly poking around on the bottom, sticking its head into holes and crevices in search of its favorite food: moray eels. We watched the snake for a time, before it finally disappeared into the cover of the rocks. We had just seen the endemic Niue sea snake, an animal that can be found nowhere else in the world, but here on Niue Island. Another day of wonderful discoveries in tropical paradise!