5 Go to Tahiti

Five of us made the very long journey to Tahiti in French Polynesia to dive an area we had not been to before. On arrival we spent a few days getting over jet lag and wandering round and over the island. Before joining the liveaboard, French Polynesia Master, we went on a side excursion to snorkel with humpback whales. Wow, what an experience that was!! We spent time at close quarters with a number of mums and their babies. While mum rested about 15 metres below us, baby would pop up by the side of us every few minutes to breathe. The babies were impressive weighing in at about 2 tonnes but the mums, who came up every 15 minutes or so, were enormous! Definitely one to retain in the memory banks.

We spent 10 nights on the liveaboard visiting a number of different atolls – all turquoise waters and palm trees – very nice. The first few dives were a little disappointing as the coral in this area is not the best and we didn’t see much big stuff, but this changed after a few days. As you can see from the photos, we met up with shoals of fish, friendly dolphins, mantas and loads and loads of sharks. These were mainly grey reef sharks playing in the currents, with black tips hanging around the boat waiting for food scraps. We also saw a lemon shark which was another first.

When conditions were right we dived in the channels through the atoll fringing reefs. These were pure adrenaline rides with very fast currents sweeping us along. Where we could we would hang on to watch the many sharks swimming gracefully in these currents showing us how it should be done. One of the other highlights was a night dive on the edge of one of these channels. The light from our torches attracted the grey and white-tip reef sharks which were hunting for food. We ended up with dozens swarming around us and getting very close. They weren’t interested in us a food, they were chasing the fish, but the occasional one would get a bit too close for comfort and need nudging away! I don’t normally bother with night dives but I was glad I did this one.

Unfortunately it was all over too soon and we had to jump on a plane to start our long long journey home.

Thanks to Geoff for the photos.

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