Was fortunate enough to score great conditions for my first couple SCUBA dives in Tahitian waters. My little GoPro camera stopped working about a quarter way into the first dive, but before it died, was able to capture some hungry black tip reef sharks on the surface, before hitting bottom at 70 feet, where a bunch of eight to ten foot lemon sharks were cruising around. Was fun starting the dive jumping into the middle of a shark school.
It’s fascinating how curious marine life is when you have on a SCUBA rig. Fish swim to you, and even allow you to touch them. Freediving is so much more pure, but creatures have a tendency of being on-guard when diving without tanks. Maybe they can sense the anxiety humans give off when we hold our breath at depth, or are just attracted to the bubbles from the breathing apparatus?
Toward the end of the second dive, the biggest moray eel I’ve ever seen swam out of it’s cave straight at me. It was at least ten feet long, and caught my interest much more than the sharks (it’s mouth was about the same size as the sharks). After watching moray eels attack and spin prey in the past, I wanted nothing to do with it, so I ignored the sea monster and it swam away through open water.
Surprisingly there were some sea turtles in the area (I’ve seen very few in Tahiti because their population has been decimated by fishermen). There were lots of beautiful lion fish, deadly stone fish, and a wide variety of other alien-like species to trip out on during each dive.
One thing that’s surprised me about Tahiti and Moorea is the lack of vibrant corals. Hopefully the outer islands hold more species of reef, because what I’ve seen so far is struggling. The majority of corals are dead, possibly due to humans and big crown of thorns (psycho starfish that eat coral), but I’m hopeful it’s natural. Tahiti gets lots of rain flushing fresh water into the sea through large river-mouths, which could be preventing coral growth while creating the large reef passes. Fiji is around the same longitude, but their reefs are thriving. Most Indonesian reefs have been bleached dead by humans, which needs to stop. Be great if the corals grew stronger in Tahiti.
The SCUBA dive’s were amazing, and I highly recommend them to anyone heading to Tahiti. You can get certified on the island, or bang out a quick course at home before heading down. I dove through Moorea Fun Dive and the staff was professional and courteous. They offer some of the best deals and a great boat.
Heading back to Teahupoo on Tahiti for a new swell tomorrow. Moorea has been awesome.
Photo: Carlos Villoch