Monday, June 4, 2012

A trial dive and trip ashore

We are still at the south pass on Fakarava. Each day we snorkel the pass and see new species of fish and corals. The clarity is fantastic and we are getting used to having 1 to 2 meter sharks swimming as close as a couple of meters from us. Rani will look into doing a dive today so she can experience the deeper waters and see the great numbers of sharks that gather at the mouth of the pass about 30 meters down.

I had my first diving experience a couple of days ago when Mike from 'Chapter Two' took me over into the shallows and lent me Karen's BCD and tank to see what diving is about. He explained how to use the BCD so as to achieve neutral buoyancy and then had me practice using my breathing to ascend and descend (how much you fill your lungs will raise and lower you). We then swam around some coral heads and descended to 26 feet. I was surprised at how different it felt from snorkeling - you are no longer a creature of the surface but now move in a new world. I looked into PADI certification here but the cost is steep at over $700 for a 2 day/3 dive course. So maybe I will do this in Tonga or the Cook islands...

We finally visited the main motu here, on which the primary village of the Tuamotus once stood. All that remains to indicate this are wide coral roads, two graveyards, a few old coral block structures, and a lovely church with a mother of pearl alter and chandeliers made of thousands of tiny shells strung together. There is a resort here with cottages on stilts over the water and a restaurant that is built on stilts right in the pass. There is a small beach/lagoon area ideal for children to play in as it is full of corals and fish yet is out of the currents in the pass. The only downside for nervous Mums is the presence of three of four (harmless) sharks at most times of the day!

We plan one more snorkel/dive today and will then sail north through the lagoon to the main village.

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