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SCUBA-L  March 2000, Week 5

SCUBA-L March 2000, Week 5

Subject:

Trip Report - Tahiti

From:

Huw Porter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 30 Mar 2000 20:41:03 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (52 lines)

On my way from South America to New Zealand I had a choice of two hours or nine days in Tahiti.  I mean, what would you have chosen?  Tahiti is catastrophically expensive - at least to a travelling bum who has just arrived from Bolivia and Peru, and Papeete is pretty grim - bit like the port of Calais with palm trees.  The best option is to get out of town as quickly as possible.

I really wanted to experience a liveaboard, but after several hours wandering around getting nothing but blank stares every time I tried to explain in stuttering French what I wanted I gave up and settled for day diving with Eleutheria Plongee in Taina, who operate a 'turn up and be in the water in half an hour' operation.  The owner asked me if I knew how to rig a tank!  I asked him if he would be prepared to take someone diving who had an AOW c-card and didn't know how to rig a tank, but I don't think his English was up to the question :-!

Dive 1 - Outer reef, Taina, Tahiti.
30.4 m, 30 minutes. vis at surface about 10m, vis at depth about 30m.

Very square profile - almost the entire bottom time was spent between 25 and 30 metres, and came within a couple of minutes of NDL on my Aladin Sport.

I was diving in all hired gear, including mask.  My - prescription - mask was still in my hostal, so even though the shark (which would have been my first - black tip reef shark, just over 1m) was pointed out to me, I couldn't see it! :-)

The water is warm enough to dive bareback without weights - a steel tank is enough on its own.  It took few minutes to get used to diving with all my weight balanced between the shoulder blades.  It also meant I didn't have any ditchable weight - but there were quick releases on the BCD in a pinch.

When I got to 60 BAR, I could see the RIB's anchor line, so I indicated I was going up to do my safety stop.  Another diver indicated she had air which I could breathe from her octopus to continue the dive, but, as some list members may remember, I learnt my lesson about reserve air in a most forceful way about 6 months ago, so I was having none of that, :-/ and went on up alone.  Comments?

Dive 2;  outer reef wall, Taina, Tahiti.
Max depth 32.6m, time 30 min.  Vis - no idea, but a long way.

A pleasant, but not very lush wall, highlight a gently sloping overhang that disapeared into the black below.  The surge near the surface was strong enough that the safety stop was between 4M and 6M!  I tried to hang on to a piece of - dead, of course - coral, but it broke off in my hand! :-!

Dive 3; Outer reef wall, Taina, Tahiti.
25.8m, 46 min.  Vis 20ish metres.

My hosts have realised, bless them, I'm a bit of an air pig and provided me with a huge bucket of a 15L tank.  Having all that air on my back had a curiously calming effect - my consumption was probably better than usual and I was back on the boat with 80 BAR.  And I had my own mask, so when le requin came past, I could see it!  Ok, it was a shark, not a SHARK! or even a Shark, but it was still my first :-)

Dive 4; The aquarium, Faaa lagoon.
13.5M, 58 min.  Vis 15-20M.

A very pleasant dive site in the lagoon, with golden sandy bottom, swarming with (almost certainly regularly fed) fish, two small boats and a two seater cessna, all covered with pink and peach anemones.  Diving with a group of recently qualified open water divers, but, for me, it was nice to be filling the role of the grizzled veteran for a change... ;-)

I found an octopus in a hole, and was having fun trying to lure him out with his own curiosity, when the Dive guide came over, shoved a hand into the hole, and then made a grab for the poor terrified creature as it fled! :-( :-! :-x :-%$%=+;@!  I waggled a finger at him, but he failed to look ashamed! :-!

Dive 5; Outer reef, Taina.
18.4M, 46 min.  Vis 30 plus meters.

Featuring a valley of coral heads looking uncannily like a gnome village, and my first nudibranch!

Towards the end of the dive there was a *thunk* on my fin - yup, you guessed it, it's nesting season, and a parrotfish had taken offence at my presence.  Time for a dignified retreat... :-)

Tahiti diving conclusions - very few divers (- at least this time of year -) means there is lots of space in the water (at no time was there another dive boat at any site I dived, and a maximum of 6 divers on our boat at any time.)  There is lots of good condition coral, but diving practices are pretty shoddy - anchors being dropped onto carpets of acrophora, dive guides kicking off pieces, and that poor octopus!

I wouldn't say Tahiti was a destination for the serious diver, but I've managed to blag a half price flight to Rangiroa atoll tomorrow, which is supposed to have fantastic diving with lots of big stuff, including SHARK!s, watch this space!

Cheers,
Huw (in an internet cafe in Papeete, Tahiti ;-))

--
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