25 Août 2012
Dive site : Tumakohua pass (tetamanu) - Fakarava
Date : Thursday, 15 September 2011
Editor : Mary anne - TOPDIVE
Divemaster : Franck
Copanions : a couple of novice divers from France
After a boat ride of an hour and a half, I finally reached the South coast of Fakarava - Tetamanu and the famous Tumakohua pass. Weather was windy and sea conditions were quite choppy. Elvis, the Tahitian boatman was stoic and focused on driving our aluminium hulled boat finding the shortest trajectory possible to allow us to get there faster. I was the only passenger that day. It was sunny but our crossing proved to be bumpy.
Reaching Motu Penu, the TOPDIVE South pass base, I met up with my Divemaster/Instructor Franck, a jovial and pleasant chap who sorted me out for equipment and informed me that I was to be joined by a couple of novice divers from France.
Unlike the north pass of Garuae, the south pass of Tumakohua in Fakarava was much narrower in width. Although the dives were still very much scheduled around the tide tables, they were much calmer and less technical. We were scheduled to do a drift dive that would take us with the incoming slack tide into the pass. This smaller reef entrance allows for currents that were not as strong compared to the Garuae pass, perfect for underwater photographers and novice divers. Although, we still experience a rather moderate current taking us inward at around 2 knots. Nevertheless, it still promised to be an extreme diving experience.
As we settled along the outskirts of the left side of the pass, we line descended to a depth of around 90 feet. As we followed the edge of the pass to work our way along the pass entrance, we noticed incredible shark activity, mostly greys and black tips - I understand why we talk about sharks Wall . The visibility was superb that afternoon and the reef was buzzing with life. The density of fish life was just incredible. Countless species of fish in all colors nestled in the coral array. One is amazed by the symbiosis of the marine ecosystem. Swarms of miniscule builders inhabit the reef and in return the reef protects its little inhabitants. One notices huge Napoleon wrasses cruise over the coral beds, schools of unicornfish, and large spotted groupers. A school of colored parrotfish graze on the coral pastures, our unexpected presence frightens them and they flee in a small cloud of calcified dust.
Here, the coral growth leaves nothing to be desired. A huge variety of endemic species of madrepores: pocillopora, favia and acropora are the most common and quite grow quite abundant. As we progressed along the pass entrance, we levelled off to a depth of 50 feet where we saw rather much of the same marine life. The light from the shallower depth rendered the colors a bit more vibrant and we did our safety stop pleasantly enjoying the coral life at 10 feet.
We surfaced right at the pass entrance as we felt the incoming tides push us gently into the lagoon.
© Pierre Lesage / V.Truchet / E.Cheng / C.Covo