Snorkling Coral Gardens
18 August 2015 | Taha'a, Coral Gardens
East of Bora Bora in French Polynesia lies the lush island of Taha’a. She is a high, green tropical island of volcanic origin, surrounded by a circular lagoon, fringing reef and numerous small islands called “motus.” We snorkel through a pass between two motos where the wild South Pacific enters the calm lagoon, bringing in cool water and nutrients to feed this abundant ecosystem.
Entering the pass at the far end, the current sends me drifting over an undersea garden. There are thousands of reef fish of every color. Schools of yellow, black and white striped butterfly fish swim up to me as I enter, like it’s a Disney movie. Iridescent blue juvenile damselfish that grow into bright yellow adults (how does that happen?) dart in and out of purple coral. Orange and white clownfish, Nemo’s cousins, swim through two and three-foot wide bright pink anemones. Artistic Picasso fish have cream-colored backgrounds painted with pastel pink, blue and green markings. Bright blue-green parrotfish with pink stripes and lime highlights look at me with their yellow eyes like they are in love, or at least posing for a photo.
With the clear water and natural abundance it is ten times better than swimming through the New England aquarium. Dennis and I linger and drift, and then repeat the process, until we shiver and head back to Centime for hot showers and soup.
The candid photo below illustrates how Dennis feels about this experience.