Aitutaki Diving…..

Dear F&F,

June 29, 2010

Aitutaki Diving

We had a lovely calm night inside the lagoon. What a pleasure to be still!
There was a bit of rain in the early morning. We got up early to get out our
dive gear & put fenders out so the dive boat can get close for gear transfer
without damage.

The Health Inspector & Agriculture Inspector (2 different guys) showed up
just as the dive boat arrived. It was great because they knew we were
already in wetsuits & needed to be on our way. I managed to hide my
contraband meat/few veggies without discovery. He did paw through my trash,
but did not find anything to protest. A few forms filled out. Fees of $20 NZ
dollars paid to each (about $14 USD). We got to take our Quarantine flag
down & are fully official. We asked where we can dispose of our trash & they
told us, so all is on the up & up now.

Scott took the video as it is the easiest rig to swim with. Sadly the
visibility was not great, partly due to damage/sand covering the coral from
Hurricane Pat in Feb. And plenty of the reef-eating Crown of Thorns
starfish. I gave them the evil eye, but kept my distance. Divemaster Onu
(company name = Bubbles Below) says he kills them by the hundreds, but he
has clearly not got the upper hand. We saw one large Napoleon wrasse & one
Triton Trumpet mollusk, which are two of the main predators that eat the
C.O.T. The reef is not pretty. Very monochrome, rubble looking. What the
C.O.T. does to a reef is the equivalent of strip mining on land. There were
fewer fish than the last 2 islands. I\’d always rather be diving than just
about anything else, but the sites we went today were very mediocre. The
coolest thing was the \”ghost coral\”. It\’s brown, touch it and it turns
white in sections, then back to brown.

The water visibility was murky in many places & a FULL 3 DEGREES COLDER! I
may have to switch to my dry suit soon! I know that sounds ridiculous, but
when I am submerged at 80 degrees for 2 hours per day my core temperature
goes down. Fine for a few days, but if we do multiple days of diving in a
row I will have to switch suits. Today I felt cold but not miserably so. A
nice warm pee helps you toast up. This probably sounds absolutely grotesque
to you non-divers, but you that dive have a knowing smile. Besides rinsing
all our gear in fresh water at the end of the day, we use white vinegar &
lavender scented fabric softener to counteract any residual effect.

The 2 other divers were Honeymooners. Nice couple from S.F. that met on
EHarmony 3 years ago. They were dive novices but did fine. The dive master
took her up to the boat ahead of the 3 of us whose air lasted longer. She is
a dietician at a hospital. He works for Intel, so lots of good conversation
all around. They are staying at the fanciest resort here, good for them!

Finger Report: Sloughing skin area enlarging. I taped it loosely for
protection but cut the tip of that finger off on my dive glove. No pain with

It is time to think about dinner. Eager to hear the report of the day from J
& N + kids. I think their plan was to tour the island via rented bicycles.
Not sure if we will dive or take tomorrow off. Time is very fluid now… No
whales seen or heard. Any day we hope.

Cindy & Scott