Picking up a mooring in South Fakarava

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Sat 2 Jun 2018 05:44

As we circled the Fakarava south pass anchorage, we recognised the green Swiss boat that we had seen in Tahuata and then again in Oa Pou. Up until then we had never met the crew. This time they were onboard and shouted over to us:

“Pick up that mooring, it’s free!” 

Once attached to the mooring, we decided to dive down to check that it was in good condition and well fastened to the coral. We peered over the side, the water was so clear, we could see all the way to the bottom, six metres below. As we marvelled, a shadow passed beneath us ... a shark.


Shark below Caramor

“Hmmm, I’m sure we’ll be fine for a bit, let’s have some lunch!” I suggested.

After some procrastination, Franco dived in, checked the mooring then passed our rope through the shackle. With two ropes attached, Caramor wasn’t going anywhere. 

When he came back up he reported many sharks, grey reef sharks at the bottom and black tipped reef sharks near the top, we were a little daunted.


A shark’s view

Bravely we decided to snorkel to the beach and go for a stroll on the atoll. Once in the water, I quickly concluded that the sharks were smaller than me and that if one tried any funny business I would punch it on the nose. At the end of the day, they were just large flesh eaters a little bigger than mackerel. I swam around quite happily until I came nose to nose with a large pipe fish. Irrationally, I find these terrifying so I headed over to Franco for moral support. 

Franco was behaving very strangely, he was walking backwards through the water.

“What are you doing?” I asked. 

“See those two grey sharks, they are following me,” he explained. “I’m staring them down.” 

It was true that the two grey sharks were tailing him, they were thinking:

“That human is sure behaving strangely, I wonder what he’s up to! Let’s follow him, he might catch us some fish.”

Once in shallow water, they gave up. We stood up about to wade ashore when a dinghy with an outboard came over, it was Elisabeth and Thomas, the crew from Jade Akka, the Swiss boat. 

“Hey, want to come drift snorkelling with us in the pass?” They shouted. So off we went with our new friends.