Wednesday, May 25, 2011

From the Captain...

 And here we go, we're all caught up again! *fist pump* ~S

Sounded like a good weekend with your winning run and the damage sustained by the third baseman. Mom said she hadn't heard from you then seemed to recall it was a long weekend and you likely had ball.

I got in another pass dive with the same guy - and again lucked out because it was just with him and another local.  I think this was mostly because we spent a couple of hours talking about his pet project from an engineering perspective.  Anyway, we started out over deep water, well away from the wall and dropped immediately down to 135', to see hundreds of grey sharks below, and then the current carried us into the midst of them!  These guys aren't small, 3+ m.  They apparently come here to breed, and he was looking for "great hammerheads" that sometimes feed on the greys.  Didn't see any of them, which from my point of view was just as well.  It's quite something to be busy looking down at all these sharks and then to look sideways and seem some swimming on the same level, and then look up and see some above you.  All is well.  Drifted through those and then came up close to the wall, seeing some large barracuda on the way.  Next drifted over the coral gardens and immense variety of colors and sizes of tropical fish ending up in a canyon where we stopped for awhile in a hole out of the current.  In there was a very big Moray eel, at a "cleaning station" - the head of the eel was pretty close to 12" across with it's mouth (and teeth) wide open and the little fish darting in and out and around, picking out and cleaning teeth etc.  Neat to watch - and an interesting piece of symbiosis.  Next we went up and out and got carried along in and out of three canyons including the one he'd like to put a tunnel / viewing station in to allow tourists to walk down in shirt sleeves, to get deep enough to see the big sharks in their environment.  I think it could be built, but I really doubt it would be financially viable.  finally we came out of there and drifted at speed over a plain of dead coral that is slowly recovering.  Much of the coral around here, especially that in shallower water was killed by the El Nino years (too warm, too much fresh water) a few years ago.

The total drift was 1.5 to 2 nm over 55 minutes.  If we get the opportunity, this would be a good place to get certified with this guy - though I'm sure there are other places equally as good.  The nice thing here is that he doesn't take life seriously, so the operation is small and shoestring, and informal.  I've been watching daily other dive boats going out, doing the same thing with 10 or 12 clients and one dive master with a helper - and here I've had a super diver all to myself for three great dives.

Anyway, I can't really describe what I've seen and done, and I can't take photos or video (even if I had the gear) just because to do so would require so much focus, skill etc that I wouldn't see anything myself - so consider the stuff you see on National Geographic or PBS - and that's really whats here.  With any luck, I'll see some Manta Rays at the next island or after that.  The next stop is Tike?? atoll, about 35 nm away - say 8 hours where there are supposed to be rays.  It's a much smaller place.  From there I'll head down to Moorea and Tahiti.

That's about it - not sure how long I'll hang into this life style but it is "interesting" - we'll see.

At 25/05/2011 12:56 AM (utc) our position was 14°58.07'S 147°38.21'W