One of the “must do’s” in Fakarava is the South Pass. The journey down is via a “lane” of surveyed area with channel markers. Outside the channel is a no man’s land of reefs and pearl farms – not a fun place to navigate.
There are resorts along the way pretty typical of all the resorts here – tiki huts on or over the water.
The anchorage was like our own personal aquarium – the reef fish showed up at the boat within minutes of our arrival.
Along with he reef fish came the black tip sharks – at various times we had up to 12 around the boat never far out of range. Harmless but a bit disconcerting.
Across from our anchorage was this affair which we learned was actually a resort and wood fired pizza joint.
We made reservations for the following evening but there were requirements to meet. More about that in another post. We also made reservations for a drift dive thru the South Pass (snorkelling) for the following day and that was indeed a spectacular affair.
We used Tetamanu Diving by Eleuthera who also own the main resort at the South Pass and were most pleased with them. (As an aside, son George and Gel spent a night at the resort which is where they got engaged and loved it – no pictures unfortunately). The dive boat picked us up from Iron Lady and ran us to the seaward side of the pass at slack tide. We exited the boat and a guide went with us. At the conclusion of the dive, they brought us back to Iron Lady. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Scuba enthusiasts dive the deeper water near the centre of the pass while we drifted along the reef walls at the side. The attraction for the scuba folks is the sharks but we got to see our share.
Some more up close and personal then others. These guys were all squabbling over some fish. Int he last pic, it seemed like one shark was attacking another shark.
George tried out an introductory scuba dive and now wants to get certified.
At the beginning of the dive, we were barely moving but as the tide came in, we reached speeds up to 2 knots and the sensation was that of flying over the reef. Very cool.
One final comment about the condition of the reef here. It was just about the best we have seen. Without engaging in editorial commentary, the vast majority of the reefs we have snorkeled on in Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia have been in poor condition and under obvious duress and stress – it is a very sad thing to see – especially when you see something like the South Pass on Fakarava.
A good dinner aboard and a nice sunset and the good ship and tired crew were off to bed early.