We had a hard time leaving Rarioa. This was our first stop in the coral atolls that make up the Tuamotu Archipelago, our first pass diving, and our first time surrounded by sharks, every dive.
Not only was this diving special for the sharks, but also the large groupers, schools of Jacks and Barracuda, Napolean Wrasses, and so many cool fish found on the healthy reefs… all indicators of a “pristine” or healthy ecosystem. With so many environmental pressures, this is something we cherish these days. Getting to see a shark every time I jump in the water… hell yeah! This is something I never thought I’d get to experience.. and I feel so lucky to say that I am.
We are diving with many Black tip reef sharks, white tips, nurse sharks, a Lemon shark here and there and our new favorite the Grey Reef Shark like the top image. I wouldn’t say these have been our favorite because of their friendliness, actually quite the opposite! These guys keep you on your toes.. or fins? Anyway! They mostly are found swimming along the outside wall around 30M, at the mouth of the pass in packs of 50+, or zooming by as we fly through the pass. And it’s their behavior that is always interesting. They aren’t your average, lazy reef shark. They zip in and out.. circle around you, they are curious, get easily aggravated, and are all around a lot of fun! Ok, maybe that doesn’t sound like fun to most people. But for me, I think they have helped me gain a new, or refreshed, respect for sharks. I was getting too comfy around them. I still can’t say I’m “scared” of these sharks, but I am definitely aware when they are around! And these sharks, along with the other species we’re surrounded by, are such fascinating, special creatures.
We usually dive the pass a few days in a row and when the slack tide times don’t match up, we head out to the outside reefs of the motu. And these reefs are in great shape too! Healthy coral, schools of reef fish, groupers in every crack, octopus, and your other usual suspects. Another thing to add to our diving adventures- not only are we diving through passes for the first time (small inlets into the coral atoll, where currents rush through 4 times a day and are packed with large Pelagic fish), but we also are getting our first experience at diving with our dinghy in tow. Because all of our diving are drift dives, and we don’t have a dinghy captain to man the boat, we get to bring it along with us. And hold on to it for dear life! If we lose the dinghy… well- it wouldn’t be a good thing. So this is what our dives look like now. Chris and I take turns, one gets the dinghy, and the other gets the camera. And then we switch. Bringing this along, while flying through the pass at a few knots is VERY exciting!!
If only we could train the dog…