Wall Dive #2
22 May 2012 | Toau, Anse Amyot
Our basic routine for places where the diving is good is this: Sage does schoolwork while Lorca and I SCUBA. We come back, snack and either do chores, help Sage with homework or go on a shore adventure. Or read and nap. Or take Sage on a snorkeling adventure. Back to the boat to chill then off to snorkel and/or SCUBA again with Sage.
This morning Lorca and I dove the wall again since the ocean is even mellower today. We headed to the South wall dive here in Anse Amyot and it was quite a treat. We weren't sure exactly where to drop - we had GPS coordinates from the Soggy Paws Compendium (highly recommended - best guide so far - if you use it, send them some money if you can too!!) but we didn't have mobile GPS for the dink so we just eyeballed it from the description. We did pretty well - we dropped just at the edge of the wall and Lorca had a good line on a spool to drag the dinghy along. The current was running roughly parallel to shore and not to rapidly so it worked pretty well. We topped out at 51 feet or so but mostly stayed at 30 feet so that we'll be able to take Sage on SCUBA later. I'm SOOOOO glad we have a compressor. We're just divin' fools these days and it ROCKS. Since it was so mellow out Lorca told me that he didn't get his arm yanked off by the dink. On this wall dive there were many canyons and caverns and grottos to drop into where many fishes would hang out. One thing that was really interesting was that there was a concentration of juvenile Humphead (Napoleon) Wrasses along one particular portion of the wall. There were a few of the large ones but mostly what I saw were lots of juveniles. I was glad to see them on the wall because apparently there aren't a lot left because people spearfish them and send them off to Tahiti. They grow very large and very old. It was good to see lots of young'uns on the wall. The surgeon fishes were super aggressive today. A single surgeon fish would chase after small schools of very large parrot fish scaring the crap out of the poor parrotfish who were only trying to nibble coral. The goatfish also seemed more frisky than usual so I wonder if it's egg-laying time for certain species of fish and they're staking out their territories and defending them fiercely.
If you remember from my last BLOG I had decided to select a maximum of three fish per dive or snorkel to identify with our reef fish book. Today's fishes of the day are:
The Orangefin Dascyllus, Pacific Half-and-Half Chromis, and the coolest of all of them: The Slingjaw Wrasse in the terminal phase. The terminal phase is the phase where the fish is usually the largest and most colorful. There was another little fish that I've not yet found in our book - olive green with a thick white racing stripe on other side, cool orange lines around eyes and it rested on its pectoral fins on coral. It looked a lot like a wrasse but I didn't find it in with the wrasses. It looked like a wrasse but acted like a goby... And I'm still trying to find the trigger like fish that had a really cool retractable spike on his head. I'd swim toward him and the spike would some out. Id' then swim away and the spike would retract. ....later.....I just found it in the book! It was a "scythe triggerfish."
We haven't seen a lot of anemones here but today's dive yielded one very large, flowing anemone with fluorescent blue tips and seafoam green appendages. WOW! I grabbed on to a hunk of coral and let myself settle to the wall and just watched it for a few minutes. THe fish associated with the anemone were some kind of damselfish-like things but after a bit I saw these super tiny black fishes with bright blue stripes. They were TINY. Maybe, a generous estimate would have been a quarter of an inch. Very cool and very well-protected in the depths of the anemone. I saw one moray eel and one, maybe 6 foot gray reef shark swimming lazily about at the very edge of the wall. At one point we shallowed to about 15 feet and the wall had plateaued and was full of short, stubby coral heads and lots of small, flittery fishes. For a moment I felt like I was back home hiking out at Pierce Point. With the light dancing on the earth tone corals it looked very much like the bluffs of the Point Reyes National Seashore. I half-expected to see a Tule Elk off in the distance. My favorite dive so far is still the pass dive at the South Fakarava Pass. I'm so glad we didn't skip Fakarava! We had talked about just blowing by it thinking that it would be too much big town-ness. There were a lot of people there - more than 8 boats at any given time and several giant mega-yachts but the diving was so superb it was totally worth it. It's weird to get in the water and see so few sharks though.
We'll be in Tahiti in just over a week and we have lots of chores to do in the mean-time. But there's so much diving to do....I guess the chores can wait - the diving isn't supposed to be nearly as spectacular in Tahiti. Chores, schmores, right? But I been meaning to rebuild that winch since Mexico...so I guess I'd better git to it.