It seems almost a little foreign to me to say that I’m the one who got to SCUBA dive in Tahiti. Just the whole idea of having been in Tahiti is something that I think will take a while to apply to me… Before going to Tahiti, I only knew one other person who had been here.
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to go. Thanks to Air Tahiti Nui, staying in Tahiti really was the least expensive possibility for Carrie and I to get to New Zealand.
We are planning to return, and already have an idea of how we will structure our return visit to the islands of French Polynesia to maximize time.
On to our SCUBA experience.
SCUBA diving in Tahiti was really fun.
Triggerfish, which are fun because of their fins being mounted vertically on the top and bottom of their bodies, and moving in tandem to propel the fish through the water.
We also saw some things which look like giant sea caterpillars. They are about 16-24 inches long and as thick around as a 3 liter bottle.
We saw a crown of thorns starfish, doing what it does best, which is digesting coral.
However, the two highlights of the first dive were a shark and two turtles.
The first was the visit by a silky shark. We’re not sure if it was multiple sharks, but we saw it three times, and we are pretty sure it was just one shark.
Arnaud, who has been diving in Tahiti for 25+ years, said this is only the second time in his life he has seen a silky shark.
We didn’t know what we were looking for (the shape of the tail), and we’re still such new divers that we just think it’s cool to see fishies in their natural habitat. But through the process, and through excellent guides, we’re learning what to look for and how to see it under the water.
Both of our favorite part of the first dive were the turtles.
It wasn’t until our guide pointed out the two turtles feeding on the side of a coral rock face that I even saw them.
Swimming along underwater, you’re looking at lots of shades of green, and the turtles blend right in with their environment.
However, at one point, one of the turtles swam around on top of the coral, right where we were hovering, and swam right by us, close enough to graze his shell across my fingers.
Above the water, the shell might have felt slimy, but under the water, the shell felt so smooth. And he looked right at us, about 2 feet away from my face, just lazily moving through our group of four divers.
This is, I think, my favorite diving experience so far (except maybe playing with non-stinging pink jellyfish in Bocas Del Toro, Panama).
They were beaked turtles, and our only experience with beaked turtles is hawksbill turtles, so we assume these were hawksbills. I will have to look up the various kinds of turtles that can be seen in Tahiti to make sure.
The second dive wasn’t as filled with fun underwater life, as the visibility wasn’t as good. However, during the second dive, there were 4 guides and 6 divers, including us. This made the experience a bit more crowded of course, but one of the divers was filming.
Seeing what he could capture underwater reinforced the desire I have to learn underwater photography/filmography, though I have already seen that some of the equipment is quite expensive.
In addition to the filming on the second dive, there were also 2 turtles (though not as close as the turtles on the first dive) and all kinds of fun fish .
The neat thing about the second dive was the time of day. We ended the dive at sunset.
Going under the water during full sun and coming up in time to watch the sun setting, off the coast of Moorea in the distance, brought with it spectacular pinks and a beautiful sun on the horizon.
Bobbing in the water really gave me a chance to appreciate the sunset in a way I haven’t done before. It was short lived, but amazing.