French Polynesia: Rangiroa + Tahiti : 14/03/04: Thanks to JB and Severine

I spent my last day at Rangiroa as relaxed as possible. But I was also trying to get some news about the Madrid bombing.

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People here on Rangiroa really seems to be far away from the worldnews: they say they like it this way: far away from war and terrorism. I will have to wait untill New Zealand before reading some worldnews.
I spent the evening with JB and Severine and some of their friends. I met them at diving and they invited me to spend my waiting time in Papeete at their house. We had a nice dinner and exchanged pictures. Then a few hours sleep before heading off in the middle of the night to the airport for the flight to New Zealand.

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French Polynesia, Rangiroa, 10-13/03/04: more sharks!

Currently, I am diving at the reefs of Rangiroa. Rangiroa is an atol of the Tuamotus (another archipel of French Polynesia).

From the sky, you have a great view of the atol with its blue lagoon. And again it looks like paradise here: different from Moorea, as it is totally flat.

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It is low season which you can notice in all the hotels and pensions: here, only 2 out of 10 bungalows are occupied.

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You should come diving to Rangiroa for the sharks: 100s of them (at least, that is what they told me). Except, the first day of diving hasn’t been that successfull. OK, we have seen a few sharks, but definitely not how it should be. And yes, we saw 2 manta rays, which of course is spectacular as well, but where are the sharks?
Diving here is all related to the tides: water coming in and going out of the lagoon through 2 narrow passes. At this moment, the time of the incoming tides is very bad, but today we managed to dive early in the morning to catch the incoming current. And yes, at the bottom at the entrance of the channel, you see sharks all over: chasing all the food/fishes that are incoming. It is quite exciting dive, especially also with eagle rays, …
I fully understand the diveguides want to stay away from these channels when it is outgoing tide. The currents are so strong that you would end up somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

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This afternoon, I am on a bicycle-trip: it will be short as the road is only 12 km long, with 2 villages at each end of the road.
And tomorrow evening, I am off to New-Zealand (it will be finished with the nice warm weather). I had plans to wait 9 hours in the airport of Papeete for my connection flight, but 2 nice french couples invited me at their house in Papeete for dinner and a few hours sleep before my flight at 05:00. Super!
BTW: At Moorea, there was a diveguide whose arm was totally wrapped up: he claimed he had a soccer accident. Now, it turns out he has been bitten badly by the sharks (36 stitches). So these sharks were not that nice as what they told us.

French Polynesia: Moorea (6-9/03/04): sharks in paradise

After almost 9 hours flighttime (the plane was half empty so I lied down and slept almost the whole time), I arrived in Papeete, Tahiti where I had to wait a few hours for the connection flight to Moorea. …

Moorea is an island of French Polynesia, belonging to the Society Islands and only 7 minutes flying from Papeete.
The hotel is very nicely located in Cook’s bay with a superb view on the mountains of the island. The first day already, I went for a walk along the 2 main bays (Cook and Opunohu and then back through the mountains). I maybe underestimated the sun and the heath a bit: it definately was hot, but spectacular views.

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The past 3 days, I have been diving. The main attraction here: Sharks, sharks, sharks. Already when you jump in the water you see them: mainly blacktips and lemon sharks.
The lemon sharks have like a grim on their face. When they come in your direction, it looks like they smile and show their teeth and think by themselves: ” that looks like a good meal”. But in reality they don’t do anything. At first it was a bit scary when they come up to 30 cm from you so I tucked away my arms and hands, not to give them any idea.
The new stuff for my camera is giving me a hard time: strobe direction, power, with or withuot strobe, with or without red filter, … But I will learn it.

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