Saturday 11th August - Tales from the Deep by our Special Correspondents (Revised Formatting)

Jon & Carol Dutton
Sun 12 Aug 2012 23:10

17:30.75S 149:51.14W

Saturday 11th August – Tales from the Deep by our Special Correspondents


                                                                                Very friendly Turtle in Rangiroa


                                                                                    Manta Ray down at 34 metres         

Whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles and more sharks than you can shake a stick at.  Even for an experienced diver the Tuomotos and Society Islands have proven to be quite spectacular.

Starting in Rangiroa on 2nd August, Carol was subjected to her first drift dive through the Tiputa pass. Despite being a ‘slack dive’ we were still battling a drift of up to 5 knots whilst clinging on to rocks trying to look at a meandering turtle. The blue (deep water next to the reef) is the real highlight in Rangiroa – this is where the dolphins hide. They frequently come down to play with divers, making this a world famous sub-aqua destination. Sadly we had no such luck and had to watch the dolphins playing on the surface from below, but they were kind enough to join us right off Arnamentia’s bow when we headed on to Tahiti through the pass the next day.


                                                                                                Elusive dolphin                      


                                                                                Friendly Napoleon fish in Rangiroa



                                                    A burst of colour. Lemon Peel Angel fish seen on every dive so far


Mira, after an early wakeup call. We are not entirely sure what this chap actually is, but he was a lot more friendly than he looks – not unlike Mira


Having expected the diving to be rather more mundane in Tahiti we were in for a big surprise. The first dive was with sharks; hundreds of them. Mainly grey and black tip sharks, but the occasional lemon shark was also thrown in for good measure. Lemon sharks grow to longer than 3 metres, which keeps you on your toes when they swim by. It is a shame that we cannot upload videos to show their feeding frenzy half way through the dive, but do make friends with James and Mira on Facebook to have a look when they have had a chance to upload after their return.



                                                                Where’s Wally? James is in here somewhere, honest


                                                                                A really bad hair day!             .



                                        Worryingly large Lemon Shark and amazingly relaxed yellow margined snapper fish!





                                                                                Black tip reef shark in Tahiti



                                                                            Carol in the so-called “Aquarium” off Tahiti


All of our diving trips have been well documented by James and Mira’s incessant snapping both under and over the water. Unfortunately, however, the climax of all of our adventures has been confined only to memory. James was so shocked to look down and see two adult humpback whales swim less than 2 metres below him that he managed to capture only a blue screen by the time he had made the camera ready. James, Mira and Jon are off for a whale and dolphin snorkelling trip in Moorea tomorrow, so hopefully this problem can be rectified by the end of the day!


                                                                            Blackside hawkfish in St Etienne, Tahiti



                                                                    Sunken Cessna, also at the “Aquarium” in Tahiti             



                                                    Damien Hirst exhibition of grey sharks 25m below the surface, Moorea




                                                                    We found Nemo! A clown fish at the “Aquarium”, Tahiti



                                                                    Yellow Box fish, found under Arnamentia in Tahiti



                                    Jon having discovered that the chart plotter had stopped working / moray eel in Moorea


                                                                            Lunch. A prickly sea cucumber in Moorea.

On the less exotic diving front, James and Mira donned their equipment to give Arnamentia’s hull a good scrub whilst in Marina Taina, Tahiti. James reappeared a little blue faced after 30 minutes, having taken the opportunity to empty the cylinder of air for the first time. In fact, both of them were looking remarkably blue thanks to Arnamentia’s anti-foul coating on her hull.

Next stop Raiatea and perhaps Bora Bora where we are hoping to see more manta rays.