Monday, 12 March 2012

Diving Club Med corner

This morning we saw there was a strong ingoing tide on Kudakalhi Channel so we decided to do a drift dive from the corner into the atoll as we had not yet dived this particular segment of the Club Med corner. We went an ample distance along the Ocean side of the reef to gear up and once ready we simultaneously jumped in at 10m depth. 

BA chart 3323

The current was not very strong there and we took our bearings and checked everything was ok and started slowly drifting along the reef towards the Kudakalhi Channel. Here we could feel the wave surge as we had watched huge breakers were crashing against the reef on top.

Oval butterflyfish

Yellowhead butterflyfish

As we kept on drifting the current was getting stronger. I was expecting to see some fish action like Reef sharks or Jackfish preying on fish near the entrance but so far did not see anything but a lone Napoleon Maori wrasse and a Turtle. Both going against the current like it was nothing to it. 

Oval butterflyfish and Peacock rock cod

Forster's hawkfish

Coral rabbitfish and Powder-blue surgeonfish

Chevron butterflyfish

Orangespine unicornfish

Watch the knives om the tail of the unicornfish

At the same time the visibility was going down as there was more debris in the water. It was not like flying blind but from the usual 20-25m it was 10-15m. We stopped from time to time to watch the surroundings but it was the same every time, seagrass was slaked against the bottom and the current was trying to rip our grip off the rocks we were holding onto.  

Collared butterflyfish

Imperial angelfish

Bird wrasse (?)

There was a noise in our ears from all the things grinding and chafing against everything due to the current. We let go again and just floated away in 15m depth, the feel is exhilarating as everyone knows who has done a proper drift dive, it is like flying. We must have been doing 2 knots at best. 

Turtle swimming against current (see the seagrass)

Fan coral

Yellow boxfish

Bullethead parrotfish

Giant moray's

At the entrance of the Kudakalhi Channel the current slacked off and turned downwards. I saw a huge overhang at 20m depth but there was nothing interesting underneath it. We swam against the weak downward current inside the channel and suddenly all went quiet. All the background noise had gone.

Big school of snapper

Blacktip grouper

Sleek unicornfish

Clark's anemonefish

Turtle in the distance and a Titan triggerfish

We had entered somekind of eddy with no current at all. The visibility was down to 10m and everything was rocky like in a moon landscape and covered in powdery sand. Several Titan triggerfish swam around chasing each other I guess because having nothing better to do. I saw a turtle emerge from the white "fog" and swimming lazily out towards the Ocean.

Clark's anemonefish



Queen coris (?)

We were almost down in the red and we knew our surface boat had lost us as we could not hear the engine noise so we hoisted the orange sausage and surfaced. The boat was a couple hundred meters away looking the wrong way but after blowing the whistles on our BCD's we got his attention and were picked up. Good diving again.

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