June 18

This morning we moved back to the anchorage by the pass after having spent three lovely but windy (and sometimes rainy) days at the SE corner of the island protected behind a large motu. We left the anchorage at about 9am and were comfortably anchored by 11am. The trip across was uneventful - we motor sailed with the genoa in 8-10k wind from the NE. By noon the wind had died completely to about 1k.

Markus and Chris arrived a couple of hours later and by 1pm we were on our way out the pass in the dinghies to dive. Well, what can I say about the dive except that it was the most amazing dive of my entire life. Now I am not someone who can claim thousands of dives in my career, but I have been diving since 1975 when my father taught me at about age 12 and have been certified and diving regularly since 1987, so I've been on a few dives.

What made this such an amazing dive, you might ask? To begin with, we dropped down on a wall that went from 60ft to infinity (ok, perhaps 600ft, who knows how deep it really went) and immediately we were being checked out by 3 or 4 large gray reef sharks. My breathing was rapid right from the start. They only showed cursory interest and once they were gone the real fun began. The sheer number of fish was probably the most memorable thing about the dive for me - I have never seen so many fish in my life. Clouds and clouds of them, hundreds of varieties, all around us in every direction. Huge groupers, maori wrasse as big as a person (perhaps 150lbs) schools of tuna, jacks, and every other species imaginable.

We swam up current toward the pass expecting the flow to be into the pass. However, we timed it badly and the current was flowing out of the pass and in the opposite direction of our intended travel. Kate was above in the dinghy with Jonah following our bubbles. We never got anywhere near the pass but simply circled about on the outer reef. We saw numerous sharks, grays, white tips, black tips, some spotted rays, and I am fairly certain I saw a Wahoo of about 6ft in length! The reef itself was overflowing with life - coral of all types, reef fish swarmed everywhere. It was simply beyond belief.

Tomorrow Kate gets her turn and Markus drives the dinghy, fortunately that means I get to dive again! This time we will go earlier in the day and drift into the pass although if it were up to me we would just stay outside on the reef and not bother with the pass. It may be a while before we leave here. The diving is so outrageous we cannot possibly imagine it being any better on the other atolls, although my only frame of reference is Makemo. Chris and Markus, however, spent a week on Rangiroa (about 100miles to the NW of here) about 5 years ago and say the dive here was far better! And that's after only one dive.