Julia Leaves, We Take a Rest Day
27 June 2018 | Raiatea, French Polynesia
By training, Julis is a Marine Biologist, and we had made plans for her to make a dive here on Raiatea, which supposedly has some of the better diving around. We departed Uturoa in the morning and motored to Apooiti Bay, home of the Moorings and Sunsail charter fleet. We grabbed a mooring and headed to the small marina to connect with Hemisphere Sub, the local, and highly-rated, dive shop.
I had exchanged email with them the day before and knew that they had a 1400 hour dive planned, a "drift dive" through a local pass through Raiatea's surrounding reef Passe Teavapiti. It's the main pass through the reef and we've been through it many times. It's the pass closest to Uturoa, so there's a lot of traffic through it.
I love drift dives! One is deposited on the outside of a reef pass and simply drifts with the incoming tide through the pass (hence the name), watching things as one passes them by. The dive was at 70 feet and Julia was apprehensive about the depth, but I've been that deep on many occasions. I'll never be a good diver since I have such trouble clearing my ears, but once at depth, I have no issues with my ears. We made the arrangements.
In the end, Julia felt the dive was too deep for her experience, so I went by myself. It was a great dive! We saw LOTS of Black Tip Sharks, a few Lemon Sharks, a school (is that the collective noun?) of rays gliding through the water, a school of Barracuda, and many other exotic (to me, anyway) fish. There was even a goodly amount of living and colorful coral: pink, green, purple, and yellow. Beautiful. It was also interesting and informative to see the bottom of the pass since we regularly traverse it. It's nice to know that it's clear and that the sides aren't too steep or rocky.
Today, we arose early and after breakfast, loaded into the dinghy to take Julia to the airport. The channel beside the airstrip is difficult to follow and poorly marked, where it's marked at all. With some difficulty, we did navigate to the terminal and said goodbye to our crew mate. Julia, thanks for everything. You were great and you helped us enormously.
Our original plan was to get to Taha'a today, but after an hour of "second breakfast", we decided to just sit at the mooring. We did odd jobs around the boat, whipping lines, replacing broken gear, cleaning, checking fittings: necessary but hardly demanding. It was glorious!
Tomorrow, we go to Taha'a and Tapuamu Bay. It's one of our favorites and we look forward to seeing it again.