Written by Prosperine on 04 Apr, 2002
I was eager to dive once I arrived in Rangiroa. The problem was that I wanted to see more, but all introductory dives are set to take place at The Aquarium which is fairly shallow waters. There was a true first-time diver and…Read More
I was eager to dive once I arrived in Rangiroa. The problem was that I wanted to see more, but all introductory dives are set to take place at The Aquarium which is fairly shallow waters. There was a true first-time diver and a photographer on the dive. The instructor, Sebastien, took his time bringing the other girl to the bottom. He had me sit on the bottom & hold onto coral so as not to wander. The photographer who had been feeding fish filmed swarms of butterfly fish and wrasses around me. Lots of triggerfish and tiny Napolean fish appeared as well. I wasn't expecting too much from this dive. I was surprised that Sebastien would not hold the intro diver's hand to guide her. I could tell the girl was nervous and found it difficult to stay grounded. At one point I reached up and grabbed her hand so that she wouldn't float away. On another occasion while Seb. was tending to another divers weight belt, he had me hold onto a piece of coral while the photog entertained the other girl with feeding the fish. I was quite startled when the instructor swam to me & shoved me. Stunned, he grabbed my tank and swam me a few feet to the left of where I was. He pointed as I looked over my shoulder to see a large moray eel snapping it's jaws at me from the coral I was holding onto! I nodded that I understood. The instructor and the photog later mentioned what a close call that was...I assume the eel was planning on taking a large chunk of my hand. Anyhow, we both turned back and the photographer got closeups. The agitated eel swam off. We later saw another moray eel with a head as large as my computer screen! Fortunately, I came nowhere near the jaws of that beast! After the dive the photographer showed us the tape of our adventures.
My husband's second dive (his 1st here was unremarkable) was an advanced dive to 180 ft. That's correct! That's where things can get dangerous. He remarked how no fish were even seen at 50&100ft. While descending further the pressure became quite high, the 3 divers/2 dive masters were surrounded by hundreds of large sharks swarming around them. There was no need to feed them for this was their lair! He couldn't even identify them since there were hundreds darkening the water! Though wiped out for the entire day afterwards, this experience was quite a memorable one for him.
After cancelling a second dive since it would lack the excitement of the previous day, I was truly blessed on my last swim through the hotel reefs. This spotted eagle ray allowed me to follow it closely & take pictures for some time while it scavenged the ocean floor. In the pics it's hard to see the purplish "duck-like" beak. I motioned to my husband on the shore hundreds of yards away to come & share such a great experience.
This excursion was a glassbottom boat shark trip to the outside of the reef organized by a mom&pop operation. Out of the group of 13 people on the boat only 3 entered the water - the spearfisherman, my husband & I. I stayed…Read More
This excursion was a glassbottom boat shark trip to the outside of the reef organized by a mom&pop operation. Out of the group of 13 people on the boat only 3 entered the water - the spearfisherman, my husband & I. I stayed at the surface while the other two dove down into the water which was already filled with large snapper and a giant Napolean fish trying to get at the fish on the spear. Then arrived 10 inquisitive white tipped sharks which had me on guard. It was exhilirating, but I soon grew cold since I was wearing a bikini.
The sharks took turns lunging at the bait before turning around and circling our backs. I must admit there were many times at first that the sharks approached my husband who was skin diving and unaware on them behind him. There were also times sharks approached my feet as I remained on the surface. These are not sharks which are accustomed to multiple tourist feedings at this location since this isn't a daily excursion.
Sharks of different sizes joined in the chase as the fisherman hid the "bait" under a piece of coral and those from the boat watched the sharks were in a frenzy trying to get at it. A 5 foot long moray eel appeared on scene, pried in between the five sharks, stole the bait and swam off with the angry sharks following behind it. You can catch a tiny glimpse of the eels head in the photo on the right below. Here the moray eels are much more apt to take a bite out of a human than the reef sharks are.
(All photos except for a few fish and the spotted eagle ray were taken on a disposable underwater camera by my husband.)