Monday, 1 October 2012

Visiting Fiji Pearl Ocean Farm - as seen by a seven year old

We went to the Pearl Farm – it is just down the road from our house. 

First he lady explained to us how you get different coloured pearls. 
They look at the edge of the shell inside, and if it is gold, then the pearl will grow that colour. 
If it is green or grey, then that is what pearl will grow inside. 
It is because they take a little peace of the flesh and with tweezers they put it in a pocket. 

We head down to the sheds and learn about the pocket too. 
The pocket is where the pearl will grow. 

A ‘specialist pearler’, sits and opens the oyster shell with a tool, and then he puts a wedge in the spot so it doesn’t snap like a mouth on his fingers. 

He gets a metal tool and tweezers and he will put a shaped object in the pocket too, and the pearl will grow around that shape. 

If they want a round pearl they put in a little round bead, and if they want and unusual shape it can grow from sand and grit. 

So this is how they get the shape and the colour. 

We also learn that an oyster grows, and the same shell can be used up to 4 times and each time they will put a bigger bead inside the pocket. So big pearls are super expensive.

We see some pearls worth over $5000 a pearl.
Next we see them wash them and thread them on lines.
These are then hung off ropes in the ocean and the pearls get to grow inside.

 Here is the big tank where they rinse them.
This is the lady who tells us all the facts.

 They have to be careful, as turtles, fish and other things can eat them.
So we head out in a glass bottom boat and we get to see how they are hung off the lines to grow.

You can see the lines and they have seaweed on them, but under the clumps is the shells where the pearls grow inside.

The water is really clear and blue.

We also see stacks of cool fish and coral, and some amazing big blue starfish.
We head for a little Nawi Island which is just in our bay.  You can see it in the picture below.

I am learning a lot in Fiji.

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