I returned from a coral collecting and scouting trip to the Solomon Islands less than a week ago and all this time, I’ve been anxious to see how the corals collected would fare on the extra long, 48 hour flight from Honiara to Los Angeles. Yesterday, the ‘main event’ of coral shipments finally arrived at Unique Corals and the pieces I collected and selected landed in excellent condition.
There are many gems of corals in this curated delivery of exquisite stony corals; while their beauty was obvious when the corals were first spotted in the wild, and looking at them under natural light at the holding facility, yesterday is the first chance I had to see what all these corals look like under the most flattering lights that we used today.
The Solomon Islands excursion yielded a whole new crop of great stony corals including a teal and purple A. humilis, a screaming pink A. millepora with blue tips, and several chalice corals with exotic colored mouths and growing edges that will make incredible grow-out broodstock in the future. On the one hand I was most excited about the super oddball corals like branching Echinopora, branching Favits complanata, Stylocoeniella, orange Cantharellus and simply weird corals that only I or Julian or Victor get really worked up about.
On the other hand, I knew that this special delivery of corals included one Australomussa (Parascolymia) the likes of which has never been seen before. I told the guys that we had a ‘UFO/Master/Rainbow Australomussa’ coming but I didn’t know how well it would handle its journey, and I also knew that this coral is too exquisite for words. Thankfully, as you can see from the picture this coral is quite singularly one of the most beautiful corals we have ever seen, and I am still awestruck that I had to physically go to the reef, and find this coral in person for it to see the light of day.
There have been a few bleeding apple australomussas before, and even some with a certain degree of rainbowyness. But to be able to have a single piece, a single colony like this one come to symbolize the fruits of my labor well beyond the edge of civilization, something to make all the hardship and discomfort worth the effort, well that is a piece of satisfaction I could have only dreamed of.