Monday, July 23, 2012

Drift snorkelling

Jordan was fishing from Sea Turtle in the Rangiroa lagoon when he snagged a Remora fish which are common in warm seas. These are very unusual fish as they have a flat sucking disk on the top of their heads. They use this disk to attach themselves to other sea life such as sharks or mantas and feed on parasitic copepods found on their hosts' bodies. They also attach to boat bottoms and may rarely attach themselves to swimmers!

Jordan with hitchhiking Remora fish

The suction disk on top of its head consists of a series of ridges sloping backwards and the outside ring creates the suction between the Remora and its host. By sliding itself backwards, it can increase the suction; by swimming forward it can release itself. As Jordan tried to release the fish from the hook, it attached itself to the dinghy floor board. He had to poke a knife under the disk to break the suction and then successfully returned it to the sea!

Sea Turtle, Jabula, and Birka went snorkelling in the afternoon. We first went to a small motu (islet) within the Rangira lagoon that the locals call the aquarium where the visibility was excellent and there was a prodigious array of sea life - the best we have experienced to date. The most exciting sight was watching hundreds of small yellow fish all feeding in a large coral. The variety of coloured and patterned tropical fish was amazing (haven't I said that before?) One small black tipped shark was spotted and Bruce found a perfect shell.

We then dinghied out to the entrance of the Tiputa Pass where we donned our snorkelling gear. Hanging onto our dinghy ropes, we jumped into the water and drift snorkelled through the Pass back into the lagoon being carried along by the brisk incoming tidal currents. What a riot! The visibility wasn't as good as at the motu but it was still a first-rate experience.

The Kia Ora hotel was having a Polynesian dance exhibition so we dressed up to attend. (The luxury hotel has overwater bungalows for $1,000 per night!) It felt good to be dressed up for an evening as usual attire is a swimsuit or shorts. The exhibition was enjoyable with the Moari warrior costumes and the women in hula-type skirts but the Manihi competition had been the best so far.

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