We dove twice at the Tiputa Pass at Rangiroa during the past two days. This pass is deep, and has a very fast current when the tide is flowing. During both dives we went a little past low tide. There are a lot of fish in the pass, and divers often see dolphin, shark, rays, shark, many other varieties of fish, and shark. 🙂
On our first dive we started outside the pass at about 5 PM off the reefs and were looking for the dolphin. It was already getting dark, so most of our still camera shots didn’t turn out. But, I took some videos that turned out ok – unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for a fast Internet connection to upload any of the videos. We didn’t see dolphin on this run, but we saw a large school of barracuda, and a GIANT Napoleon fish about 5 feet long (he probably weighed 200 lbs). We were down to 100 feet deep on this dive for a couple of minutes at the beginning – a new record for most of us.
We then moved into the pass and the current. The current changes direction fast, so sometimes the current starts up quickly. We were soon moving 1-2 knots, and ultimately over 5 knots over the bottom of the pass. It was like flying over the ground! Our objective was to get to a canyon that crosses perpendicular to the pass and dive into the canyon to stop the effects of the current. The canyon is where the sharks hang out. It is breeding season and they said we might see some interesting action.
Well, we did find the canyon and were suddenly surrounded by about 30 sharks – but, only one or two got within 20 feet of us. But, it was still quite an experience! Unfortunately, the current was still effecting us and we somehow missed the part of the canyon where we were supposed to stop. Karen got too high and the current grabbed her out of the canyon. Since I was her buddy, I stayed with her. So, the whole group drifted out and manuevered to a reef area and saw countless other fish. The most interesting were the trigger fish which were present everywhere. So, we did a lengthy safety stop before ending the dive.
The next morning, we did a similar dive, but this time we saw the dolphin at the start. It was only for a minute or two, but four large dolphin were playing around spinning and going up and down about 20 yards away. On this dive, the current was much less, and we managed to stay in the canyon. Only this time there were only about 4 or 5 sharks. We did see an Eagle Ray, some large dog fish, napoleon fish, barracuda, and a variety of other fish. Jason was in a separate group that went down to 150 feet. He saw huge tuna hanging on the edge of the dropoff to deeper waters. Somehow I managed to use more air than normal, and had to use some of the dive master’s extra air during our safety stop.