More Mopelia Diving…..

Dear F&F,
June 12-14
More Mopelia Diving (Posted via HF Radio Email from Mopelia Atoll).

After a later than normal night, we slept in a bit. When we finally got up, we were treated to a full arc, gorgeous rainbow. The sun was shining with lots of puffy clouds, absolutely magnificent.

Jerome called about 8:00 a.m. on the VHF radio asking to join us for a dive. We told him we\’d radio when we returned from dive #1, to join us for the second dive. He is a great Dad, but we know he is happy to get a break from the mayhem of three boys aboard. The clouds filled in and it rained as we went out for the first dive, but we enjoyed it very much anyway. Scott did not take the camera or video which is kind of rare and has pros & cons. On the one hand, he notices and interacts more with me. Of course when I am modeling for him he notices, directs and we are interacting, but it is not very relaxing. But we both love the results and are willing to do that. When he is photographing stuff that does not require me as a model, small stuff especially, it is great for me because he doesn\’t swim much. I can be in my own world, while he is in his, yet I can easily keep an eye on his position. Sometimes without the camera, like this morning, he swims fast in order to explore a larger area of the reef. It is always a give and take compromise. Thank God I taught him finger spelling because I can tell him to slow down and he does listen.

There is a lot of \”action\” in the pass. Schools of fish, sharks, the current always goes out. Sometimes stronger and other times weaker, but always out, never in. This means the water is a bit cloudy because of the sand from the lagoon gets kicked up as it is swept out. But the marine life loves Natures way of \”stirring the pot\”, so it is a fun place to just hang on to one side and just watch the action: schooling barracuda & jacks above, sharks below.

We saw our first lemon shark here. Those were the big ones in the \”Fins of Bora Bora\” video. It clearly felt Scott\’s shark shield and reacted in the appropriate way: quickly swimming away from us! I love to see evidence that these things actually work. The 6 foot long antenna frequently gets hooked on coral. If you touch it, it zaps you. The on/off control is not easily managed with gloves on. A royal pain. But I wear it because we dive \”in the wild\” so much, Scott is adamant about it. Like a motorcycle rider or airplane rider: the more you do it, the more chance there is that eventually there will be an incident. I would never ride a motorcycle without a helmet. So, we always wear our shark shields when we are diving alone The fact that we DO NOT spear fish reduces our risk of confusing a shark & de-promotes an accidental nibble of neoprene.

Returning through the pass we saw the 3rd boat (2 French guys) snorkeling near their kayak. Their wimpy motored dinghy was anchored safely inside the lagoon, but the poor guys were clearly getting pushed out to sea due to the strong current. We had them hop in our dinghy and towed their kayak safely to their dinghy. They were keen to find the shipwreck, which they had read about. Without a strong motored dinghy they would not be able to return to the lagoon against the current. We suggested they walk across the shallow part of the reef, then snorkel, but they did not have any shoes! C\’est la vie.

When we were back onboard after dive #1, we hailed Jerome on the radio and he did not waste any time jetting over. No Leo snorkeling above today, which was good, because the sea state got rougher as the morning wore on. While we finished filling tanks, Scott loaded some weather viewing software on Jerome\’s memory stick. We also showed him untouched photos from diving on the \”Seeadler\” wreck. Once Scott \”develops\” the digital images to his satisfaction, he will burn them a CD. Jerome was thrilled to be in many photos with his son and knows the little boys will be very excited to see them.

Nice 2nd dive. We covered the same territory as in the morning. Jerome is a very compatible third diver and we know he really loves it like us, so it is a pleasure to share. I had a \”Zena Warrior Princess\” moment when I saw the evil Crown of Thorns starfish on the reef. I didn\’t have my own long knife and got pricked on a thorn using Scott\’s short knife. Scott got pricked too. Now my right hand is really spastic. Finger #4 is still recovering from my crush injury of 2 weeks ago and now I have a new owie on the tip of my right index finger. We do not believe the thorn breaks off nor is it known to be poisonous. It did bleed and is quite bruised looking. But Scott kissed it all better so I am sure to be fine soon.

The days pass quickly. By the time we rinsed gear, showered, Scott loaded fuel to the tank that runs the generator and I made yogurt and salads, it was 3:00 p.m.

We are having pretty darn comfortable weather. I could do with less rain, but the cloud cover is mainly what keeps it cooler.

Cindy and Scott