Taotoï pass, Moorea
The “Taotoï pass” dive site is located in front of the TOPDIVE center, just about 5 minutes by boat. This pass oriented on the north is characterized by a strong and steady current flowing out the pass. This drift dive, therefore, starts from the lagoon to end in the ocean drifting through pass.
The topography is a typical sandy bottom surrounded by the coral ocean slope. Often frequented by Black Triggerfish, Titan Triggerfish, Butterflyfish and turtles. Some openings sometimes shelter Nurse or Whitetip Sharks.
Marine turtle swimming into Taotoï pass in Moorea
Arriving at the depth of 30 feet, the show begins. We quietly settle on the sandy bottom. Looking to the surface, we spy a large school of around thirty spotted eagle rays gracefully flying by. A breathtaking sight!
As we skirted the coral wall, the strength of the current intensifies. We follow our guide under an overhang. Four whitetip sharks encircle us – intrigued by our presence. We fin backwards to enter the coral cavity to find two large nurse sharks sleeping in peace. A “cloud” of bright red soldier fish flutter over them as we invade their domain.
“ The current continues to push us toward the “exit” of the pass. We cross a sandy area cluttered with shellfish (lambis lambis) and fragments of a wreck.”
The current continues to push us toward the “exit” of the pass. We cross a sandy area cluttered with shellfish (lambis lambis) and fragments of a wreck. Finally we find ourselves facing another coral wall, smaller than the first. From there, we observe the sunlight passing through holes of the reef where big Pufferfish live. Such natural beauty to behold!
We progress and find ourselves pinned to the side of the wall with the strength of the current. Its power carries all the tropical fish offering a real whirlwind of color! Then, our guide waves us to get to the bottom and move slower. We feel the strong current making our masks flutter. Suddenly, a mass appeared in front of us. As we progress, we find ourselves face to face with a huge shoal of Bigeye Jacks. The school opened intermittently for the passage of a grey reef shark and a spotted eagle ray. We stay motionless watching this incredible ballet. It was mind-blowing!
As our air aluminum air tanks deplete; it is time to surface. Our guide waves us to line up behind him. We move into a narrow canyon. The current pushes us toward the ocean with a high-speed. Like a rocket in space! A Napoleon wrasse welcomes us in passing. Our guide inflates his DSMB (Surface Marker Buoy) to indicate our location to the boat.
I loved this dive. Really different from the other reef dive sites of Moorea with the feeling of a gracefully flight in the current as an eagle ray.
© Photos : V.Truchet, P.Joachim, G.Lecoeur, T.Kotouc