Saturday, July 05, 2008

Coral Garden!

Yesterday we moved to the neighbouring island of Tahaa. Having filled the propane bottle, with butane for about $50, I then transferred the four Gerry cans of diesel from on deck into the aft fuel tank. About a three hour motor in no wind inside the reef took us to Baie Tapuamau where I carried the jugs in to fill with diesel and then did another trip to fill four jugs with water. Picking up the ubiquitous baguette from the little store, we were all set to throw another lamb roast on the barbeque!
Today we took the dinghy out to the edge of the reef that surrounds both the island of Raiatea and Tahaa! From Baie Tapuamau, where we are anchored, it was about a half hour ride to the three small 'motus' on the edge of the reef. We had heard about some great snorkelling and were not disappointed. We pulled the dinghy up on the sandy shore among the palm trees and hiked down a narrow path to the outside of the lagoon. Here, a shallow depression in the reef allows a weak current to flood into
the lagoon from the ocean. Donning masks and fins and using our flip flops on our hands, we drifted through a channel and over the most amazing collection of coral you can imagine. Myriad colours and lots of strange looking sea life with no fear of us whatsoever. Long pointed narrow little fish, almost transparent, not much bigger than a pencil, hovering an inch below the surface so hard to see unless you look up at them. Bigger, funny shaped fish with small mouths and teeth! I hoped they were
not going to nip at my ankles, like some piranha! Lots of tiny brightly coloured fish and camouflaged rockfish as well as sea urchins and the big clam shells with the brightly coloured lips, as if they had just put on lipstick. It was stunning!
The current pulled us along and we could just barely swim against it or hang on to sections of brain corral. At places it was so shallow we risked scraping it but managed it all with no injuries. Other places were too deep to touch bottom. It was like flying over small canyons. The water was crystal clear and a beautiful aquamarine. The sun beat down on us and as there was no wind, it was a perfect day in the water.
The legendary Bora Bora looms on the horizon.

No comments: