Fakarava is well known for great diving and snorkeling. We have been here a couple of days now, anchored inside the south pass, off a dive resort. The anchorage is quite full of coral heads and most boats have caught their chain in coral despite buoying the chain to keep most of it off the bottom.
We snorkeled the pass twice today while our friends Mike and Karen dived it below us once and then snorkeled it after their air ran out. There were hundreds of black tipped, grey, and white tipped reef sharks in the pass, which the divers were able to view close up. On the surface, we had to content ourselves with 20 to 30 at a time and I was able to view some larger groups by free diving to 40 feet, watching the sharks swimming gracefully in the current 10 feet deeper.
At one point, we drifted in the flooding current past a restaurant that was built on pilings out into the pass. In the shallow waters adjacent to this, over a coral ledge, were dozens of small sharks and a huge bump head Wrasse that was as big as Rani, with an eyeball the size of a baseball - AMAZING! The corals here are very lovely, too, with lots of colours and shapes and we saw dozens of varieties of colourful reef fish, which Rani is currently trying to identify. Our friends on Southern Cross are here and have taken pictures underwater while on their dives. We hope to post some of these when we reach Internet access in a couple of weeks.
We plan to stay here a few more days and then sail north through the 35 mile lagoon to the north pass where there is a large village. From there we will visit one more atoll before we leave for Tahiti where there is a rendezvous on June 22 of various cruisers who sailed here from Mexico.
Our current location is roughly 16 30 S 145 28 W