Monday, May 18, 2015

Raroia Pass Drift Dive

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We did our first drift snorkel through the pass on the atoll of Raroia, where we are anchored in the Tuamotus (in the east central area of 1700 km chain of atolls). This place is known for its sharks – actually all of the Tuamnotus are known for sharks. So I wanted to get the shark thing out of the way in the first picture.  The drift dives in the pass are just what they sound like. You wait till the current is going into the lagoon, go out to the ocean side in the dinghy and jump in holding a long line to the dink and float through the pass. When we first got there the pass current was probably 3 kts and you  jetted through the pass, floating over the corals, at high speed. By the time we were on our fifth or sixth run in, the current had laid down to a gentle shove.

raroiaP5120021On each drift in we saw three or four sharks cruising around. There is a pretty wide variety of sharks here. The upper photo being a Black Tip Reef Shark, the next one being a White Tip Shark. Both species non-aggressive, or so our book says. The unidentified sharks are the ones that worry you while you are in the water.

raroiaP5120041  The drift dives are really perfect for GoPros. Chris got some good video. A scene like the one above goes flying by you in about 5 seconds when there’s a strong current.

raroiaP5120026 Reticulated Butterfly Fish. You can tell it is a reticulated one by the way she looks at you.

 

raroiaP5120039A Striped Surgeonfish (front) and a Steephead Parrotfish (back)

raroiaP5120048 Moorish Idle idling away in the cut

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Another Parrotfish, uncertain species, probably another Steephead.

raroiaP5120061 Interesting sponge growing among the corals in the pass

taehataP5070001 I snuck this picture in because it is so cool, a Cushion Star we saw in the Marquesas

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Did I mention that there are sharks in ‘dem waters?

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And the correct direction for a shark to be swimming – away from us.

Paul

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