Earlier this week Kelly Slater, John John Florence and Rosy Hodge joined Tavarua's managing director Rick Isbell in the island's effort to restore the giant clams to the protected reefs surrounding the tiny heart-shaped island. In fact, Tavarua is now building its own hatchery tanks that are hosting hundreds of baby clams.
The experience was both enlightening and humbling for all involved.
"It's pretty amazing that these things just sit there and get bigger and bigger over a hundred years," Florence said after swimming out to get a closer look at the full-sized clams.
"These are spectacular creatures," Slater said after diving down to get a closer look. "Anything that's that old you gotta have a lot of respect for."
"It's pretty incredible that we looked at the tiny little ones and here on the ocean floor these things are Giant," Hodge said. "It's insane that they've been wiped out."
Fortunately, the location and currents surrounding Tavarua and its reefs are the perfect ecosystem to try to grow the clams. The group returned to Tavarua with 500 baby clams to put in their new hatchery. In typical Fiji fashion, the locals celebrated the arrival of these baby clams as they would any other, with a huge celebration.