Fakarava is considered to be virgin diving. There are two major dive sites. Both are the pass entrances to the lagoon from the open ocean. Both dive sites start in the blue water and drift into the pass.
The north channel, named Garuae, is the closest to the dive shop and is over 1,600m across. Over 160 different fish were spotted riding in and out of the pass during the week we visited. Although we dove this pass every day for a week, each dive was different depending on the flow of water in and out of the pass. While diving, we never saw any other dive groups at the site, which is unheard of. It makes you feel that you own the ocean.
Near the end of the week, we took an hour boat ride to the South Pass named Tumakohua, which is 200m wide and the second dive site in Fakarava. This site provided even more virgin diving. We docked at the South Pass Pension wharf so the dive masters could check the current in the pass. We saw black-tip sharks with their fins breaking the surface, which was a first for me. I'm not sure if they were looking for dinner or sunning? Our first dive was outside the pass, with an entry into blue water and a drift into the pass. Two divers in our group reported seeing a tiger shark. A silky and a silvertip were also spotted among the hundreds of other kinds of fish.
After our first dive, we went looking for our own private motu to enjoy our picnic lunch. About 20 minutes from the South Pass, we found the perfect place. We beached the dive boat and carried the coolers onto the motu. The sand was fine and white, with turquoise-blue water surrounding the motu. After lunch, many of us explored the motu. Some of us spent time just lying in the shallow water sunning. When the snow flies at home, I think of our lunch on the motu and the snow melts away, if only for a little while.
Our second dive was a fast drift though the pass alongside all the fish. We had an hour boat ride back to the shop as the sun was setting over Fakarava lagoon and our trip was sadly coming to an end.
Hillsdale, New Jersey
March 7, 2005
From journal Tahitian Adventures