Five hundred sharks in the night

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Sat 23 Jun 2018 20:27

16:30.4S 145:27.5W

Fakarava South Pass

Tonight we will dive. This is no ordinary dive, we will be surrounded by 500 feeding grey sharks. It isn’t a gimmick, nobody is feeding the sharks, they gather here in the south pass of Fakarava, every night more numerous, waiting for the incredible event which will take place on the night of winter full moon, in just a few days time. Eighteen thousand groupers will congregate in this narrow channel to fertilise and send forth their eggs into the Pacific Ocean. Why so many? Why here? And why on one night only? Nobody knows.

A French diver, Laurent Ballesta, put together an international research and dive team, and secured vast amounts of funding, to find out. They spent two months here, in a hut in Tetamanu Village and filmed the most amazing underwater scenes. Despite using cameras that take a thousand shots a second, only once were they able capture the instant when two groupers mated.  Their incredible footage was shown on TV in the Arte docu-film ‘The Grouper Mystery’.

They had come for the groupers and left fascinated by the grey sharks. Last year Laurent and his team returned, this time to film and research the sharks. Their results are documented in another Arte docu-film ‘700 Requins’ (700 Sharks) which was broadcast on French TV on 9th June.

If you get the chance, watch these excellent programmes, and if possible, please record the shark documentary for us. 

We will take no photos, our little camera is waterproof to 15 metres only. Besides, no photo I can take will portray the amazing scene we will witness, as well as Laurent’s photographers have done.