Friday, June 4, 2010

Scaredy Cat Swims with Sharks

16* 30.2' South
145* 27.2' West
Tumakohua Pass, Fakarava, Tuamotus, French Polynesia 
June 4, 2010

 Faka 009

Faka 016

Everyone is shark crazy. They are so excited about shark sightings! I am not in this group. Ignorance is bliss as far as I am concerned. In Makemo, when Jamie surprised me to show me a sea cucumber while snorkeling, realized that I needed to be a little less focused on my picture taking and just a little more aware of my surroundings. Even with my heightened awareness, I had yet to see any sharks while I was in the water.

Pass Drift SnorkelIMG_2370

Faka 047 Faka 006 Faka 042  
Yesterday, with a gentle shove from my friend, Andrew, I entered the Tumakohua Pass on the incoming tide where there would almost certainly be sharks for a "drift snorkel". We had two dinghies drifting with our group so that anyone and everyone could get out of the water at any point. I have to admit it was a very cool experience. I did not see the 42 sharks that were reported from a drift snorkel the other day, but I did see three on each of my two passes. You basically just float with the current and the whole pass and channel is full of coral and tons of fish. Where it is deep, you will see a shark swimming below you out the pass (against the current) and they really aren't paying any attention to the humans floating on the surface. There were also lots of big fish hanging out in the medium depth water.

Potluck location


Sharks in the shallows

In the evening, we were able to use the outdoor gathering area of a small resort (consisting of four beautiful bungalows on piles over the water) for a fantastic potluck. The covered area was lit which is very important as it is pitch dark here by 6:00 pm. It was also built with one edge out over the shallows a bit. The lights attracted fish which were very easy to see in the crystal clear water. The kids spent alot of time in calf deep water checking out the critters. They say the best was the small octopus that they found and would not leave alone until it squished itself into a small hole where they could not bug it any longer.  Oso Blanco and Mulan had been the only two boats in this anchorage 5 days ago, now there are 19 boats. It made for a great spread with lots of variety. We are noticing that there has been a bit of a change in cruiser demographics. Out of the 19 boats, 10 of them were cruising families with kids. Last night was fabulous for the kids to be able play on shore with so many other kids.

The “village” – really just a dive shop and snack shack, was the old capital of the Tuamotus.  Due to its small “landmass” the capital is now in Rangiroa.  There are a couple of pensions like the place where we had the potluck, but for the most part it is fairly abandoned.

Old Main StreetIMG_2397 IMG_2389  .IMG_2393

Sculpture near the dive shop                            More Sandcastles for hermit crabs

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