August 29, 2009
Yesterday & today we enjoyed diving with Serge, the outgoing divemaster here in Manihi atoll. Marc, has been getting oriented to the sites & dive center operations. We hope to see Wilfred again when we get to Tikihau in about a week. The 5 of us are all very experienced divers so it has been a very enjoyable group. We dove at the manta ray \”cleaning station\” several times. They hover & swirl around this 70 foot deep pile of rocks & uninteresting coral. The small fish nibble clean any wounds or parasites. Win-win: the little fish get a meal & the mantas stay healthy. The mantas are filter feeders, plankton, so the small fish are not in jeopardy of being eaten. In fact they swim inside the mantas mouth & do oral hygiene. Very interesting to watch. The water was murky, but Scott video & photos turned out surprisingly well.
The second dive today Serge baited the sharks. We had been on one of these experiences years ago in Moorea. A big frozen tuna head was lowered into the water in a wire cage. We dove while the tormented grey reef sharks swirled around smelling but not yet able to eat it. After Marc, Wilfred & Scott got their fill of close up shark photos, Serge tripped the line to open the cage & the mayhem began. I\’m not afraid, but I don\’t love it. We kept a safe distance from the short-lived feeding frenzy. I find it more enjoyable to watch sharks calmly swimming vs in a feeding frenzy. We had one other French tourist who had apparently requested to see this, which is why they did it. It has been a very enjoyable 3 days of diving here & we look forward to diving at 2 more Tuamotu atolls before spending the cyclone season in Tahiti.
We are checking the weather & will pick our time in the next day or two for the overnight sail to Rangiroa, the largest of the Tuamotu atolls. Wilfred gave us a referral for a dive operation there. Everyone who we\’ve spoken to that has visited raves about it.
Cindy & Scott