Tumultuous Uproar

A cruising boat with a racing problem...

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Baby Shark doo doo doo doo doo doo

11 April 2019
Lisa Alberte
We haven't exactly been living under a rock...but nearly. We live next to some beautiful rocks, above some beautiful rocks, and unfortunately, one time stuck on an ugly rock. The past five months we have had only three hours of decent internet. But even as isolated from the outside world as we are, we have enjoyed the Youtube ditty, "Baby Shark."

Swimming and snorkeling in French Polynesia means you are swimming and snorkeling with not only Baby Shark but Momma Shark, Daddy Shark, and Grandpa Shark! We are quite used to them but they still can be startling when they appear out of the corner of your eye. They are also hugely entertaining, some of the largest and most beautiful creatures in the sea.

Fakarava South Pass is world renown for the diving and snorkeling. This pass from ocean into the lagoon is about ¼ mile wide, ½ mile long, and 70 feet deep. The entire pass is full of beautiful coral and teaming with fish. Above all, there are hundreds of sharks in the pass. Water is so clear we can see the bottom easily from the surface. We see all the flora and fauna right from the surface but free dive down to get a closer look and take pictures.

We snorkeled the pass with Frank from Maxim and Silke from Ocean Maiden. There is a buoy near the outer edge of the pass where we tied the dinghy. If there is current (incoming please!) someone hangs on to the dinghy and it drifts through the pass with us. Yesterday there was no current so we were able to leave the dinghy and explore. Silke suggested we snorkel out from the edge to the "wall of sharks." We did!

The sharks were thick near the bottom, at least 50 feet down. When they saw us they came up for a visit. Within a few minutes there were at least 50 sharks circling us. It made for some great photos and videos. There were Blacktips, Whitetips, and Gray Sharks. Some were pretty big, none were Baby Sharks!

Fear turned to euphoria as we enjoyed these magnificent creatures. After about 10 minutes, they tired of us and returned to the deep. Throughout the pass, at least one shark is always within sight. I almost touched one that passed quite closely. Some play a little game of chicken, swimming right at us and turning when only a few feet away.

Strangely enough we didn't see anyone eat anyone. All the fish seem to be swimming in a relaxed ballet, with the snarks steadily roaming. Sharks need to be moving to keep water flowing through their gills or they would drown. Only when the current is strong can they sit on the bottom and let the current oxygenate their gills. We have spent approximately 15 hours in that pass on numerous trips and everyone from sharks to small fish seem to get along.

But at night we can hear the verse, "Let's go hunting, do do do do do do..."
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Vessel Name: Tumultuous Uproar
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 42s7
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Russ Whitford & Lisa Alberte plus Sophie our Jack Russell Terrier
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