The Arue fault
Arriving at the TOPDIVE Tahiti Dive center at 7:10 AM, I was one of the first ones for the dive departure of 7:30 AM. After a quick rundown of the gear I needed, I set out to prepare my gear on the boat. Once checked in at the front desk for certifications and such, gear with the Dive operations coordinator and the other dive masters.
The dive masters’ Yannick and Franck (another one) were managing the dive. I was scheduled to dive with Franck Chasboeuf, dive instructor who had 2 Nitrox students and another advanced diver with made our merry band of 4: 2 buddy teams plus Franck. I was a Nitrox training diveand the Arue Fault dive was an ideal fun dive to put the training to good use.
The Arue fault
Underway on the boat at around 8 AM. I supposed the staff didn’t expect that many drop-ins. 25 minutes to the dive site. Conditions were calm with no current. Standard backroll entry with a line descent. This dive was going to be a breeze. A beautiful and healthy coral environmentunfurled in front of our eyes compared to the barren wasteland of the west coast dive sites; lots of table coral, brain and other hard coral covering a site of amazing topography.
The faults run perpendicular to the island in waves that end in a dropoff and a beautiful sea wall towards the direction of the open sea. Abundance of pelagic fish; jacks, bonitos, runners, scads – bec de canne. A lone blacktip shark surveys the reef and in the distant blue, scores of huge parrotfish, groupers and enormous puffers are in constant motion. We saw about 3 morays venturing out of their holes to investigate their curious visitors.
“ The marine flora and fauna in the area was quite impressive with a multitude of coral fish dwellers: squirrelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish… ”
As the dive progressed, we skirted the dive site wall and even got to a new depth of 25. We ended our 45 minute dive exiting and surfacing through an amazing grotto-like fault resembling a church door. Filled with a burst of color of schools of red squirrelfish. The scene was worthy of a photo. From the depth of about 90feet at the bottom of the grotto, we exited out from the opening above. So through the upper door…out… and up to a shallow plateau of around 20 feet. I ended dive with 400 bars left to go. Fabulous!
It was one of the best dives in Tahiti I’ve seen in a long time. Too bad we didn’t see the Tiger shark the site was famed for…
© Photos : V.Truchet, G.Lecoeur