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Monday, February 08, 2016

French Polynesia 2016 Summary

I had a fantastic time in French Polynesia.

In this post I want to collect all the links with information and pictures from this trip

The first part took place in Tahiti, where we stayed in a nice hotel
 The second part was the main feature, a 15-day liveaboard trip with the Aqua Tiki II starting in Raroia and ending in Fakarava
Thanks for everyone on the trip for making it such a memorable experience!

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Sunday, February 07, 2016

The long way home...

It was clear from the beginning that traveling home from the other end would take some time.
However, we had a good connection worked out, leaving Fakarava Friday afternoon (local time) and arriving Sunday afternoon in Z├╝rich.

However, this wasn't meant to be. One day before departure we received the bad news, that our plane from Tahiti to Paris was delayed 11 hours, which first of all meant one overnight stay in Tahiti and then another night in Paris...

In Tahiti were treated very kindly by the Air Tahiti Nui staff and after a short discussion sent out to a luxurious hotel. Luckily, there was a great dinner with a local show waiting for us.

Our journey continued Saturday morning after an extensive breakfast.
On the plane to Los Angeles, I wasn't very tired, so I watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E, a very funny spy comedy set in Berlin in the 50s.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Large Schools of Fish in North Fakarava

We first returned to Rotoava, the main city of the Fakarava Atoll located all the way in the North, to rendezvous with the supply Ship Cobia 3. There the captain refueled the ship. Funnily enough, we encountered a young German journalist, who is traveling the world and currently spends one week as a guest on the Cobia 3. Strange to meet other German speakers on the other side of the planet.

We then headed a bit closer to Garuae Pass, with 1'600 meters the widest pass in French Polynesia. During the first two dives we were overwhelmed again by the number of Sharks present. And contrary to the South Pass, they didn't focus in one wall, but were everywhere! Up, down, left, right, in front and behind us! Unfortunately, the visibility wasn't too good, so it was difficult to capture this experience on photos.

The dive profile in Garuae Pass was interesting. After our first descent to 25 to 30 meters at the edge of the channel, we went with the current into the Channel up to 10 meters, after several minutes we descended again to a depression called Ali Baba, where we encountered huge schools of Soldierfish and Paddletail Snappers.

This was the perfect end to our diving trip in French Polynesia!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Baby Sharks in Toau

After a short pitstop in North Fakarava for supplies we headed further West towards Toau, a small atoll which features two passes located close together.

The larger Otugi pass features lots of Sharks joined by huge Dogtooth Tunas, some of which are bigger than the Grey Reef Sharks! After several stops along the reef the time came to fly. We ascended into the channel where we were picked up by the current, which for once was so strong, that it was possible to do loop-the-loops and other acrobatics with ease.

At the smaller Fakatahuna pass we always dived on the outer reef, where we encountered a large school of tiny juvenile Grey Reef Sharks. That was a real highlight! The small Sharks behaved like the adults but were so cute! After about twenty minutes at the corner of the pass with the sharks we headed back over the reef which also had a lot to offer. Hundreds of different fish as well as a lot of intact coral.

Between the dives we made two visits to the uninhabited islands, there we encountered in a sheltered pool of water a small number of tiny Blacktip Reef Sharks. They were so cute! They stayed in the shallows and it was brilliant to see their small fins cut through the water surface.

During our second island visit we also encountered an Octopus near the shore, which at first shied away from us and thus showed us a colorful spectacle.

After three days it was time to say goodbye to this fascinating corner to head back to North Fakarava for the two last days of diving.

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