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Date: 03 Jul 2010 06:22:14
Title: Rangiroa

Hello Friends                "14:58.0S 147:38.4W"
 
We've been exploring Rangiroa - or at least the bit around the larger pass into the atoll. Depending on how far you zoom into the googlemap you can see that we're tucked into a sheltered corner of the atoll, just to the west of Passe de Tiputa, Tiputa being the very friendly village on the other side of the pass.
 
The principal attraction here is the snorkelling - both in shallow water inside the lagoon and also drifting with the current in the pass.
 
Just in the lee of a small sandbank inside the pass is an area the locals call "the Aquarium" which is a great area to see the tropical fish. To some extent the fish congregate when a boat arrives as they are accustomed to being fed by the dive boats with tourists.
 
Here's a few underwater photos courtesy of Greg's underwater Lumix camera.
 
these little fellas are everywhere around the dinghy when you pick up the mooring and are very tame
 
and the clams - maybe the size of your hand - are brilliant blue or purple
 
this one we called a unicorn fish, but we don't know what it really is
 
 
and these bright little chaps are everywhere and swim right up to you as well - we saw them in the fish counter at Carrefour in Papeete
 
and you may be thinking that all this looks good fun - so did Greg
 
 
We also did a drift snorkel in the pass, which is amazingly deep and has very steep sides. You get dropped off as far to seaward as you dare (it's rough) and drift back inside close to the steep coral walls. This wasn't quite so good as the water was a bit turbid with the swell crashing on to the reef outside and washing bits in with the tide.
 
But we did see a full size shark swimming past below us, fortunately occupied with other matters as well as huge shoals of fish close to the wall. We also saw what we subsequently identified as a stonefish - terribly poisonous of course - which looked very odd and which Michael poked with the tip of his long fins. At least we know what to avoid in future. I'll leave you to google a picture of a stonefish as we didn't have the camera with us.
 
 
Tomorrow we hope to sail across the lagoon to inspect 'the Blue Lagoon' which is a pool inside the thickness of the atoll perimeter on the SW side. Again, I think you can see this on googlemaps.
 
 
Other than this, there's not too much to report. The weather has not been entirely to our liking though the fresh winds keep it cool and the bugs away; however the occasional squalls are rather irritating !
 
Best wishes from Rangiroa
 
George, Michael and Greg
 

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