Archive for April 20th, 2010

Fatu Hiva From Below

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Fatu Hiva doesn’t have the best reef or visibility in the world but for us it has been the most memorable time in the water in the last 20 years (“and how!” as Grandma Kelley would say).

The regular cast of characters were all there – and then some.




juvenile Triggerfish only a few centimeters long…


a flashy Lionfish…


a well-disguised Stonefish…


morays with Cleaner Wrasses and red-eyed crabs…


(These Cleaner Wrasses were very interested in K but not so much in S. K assumed they just wanted their pictures taken, S thinks they saw a lot of material to work with.)


one of S’s favorites – a little Lemonpeel Angelfish with comical blue eyeliner…


dapper peppermint shrimp with blue shoulders (who thinks this stuff up?)…


and lots of octopuses.


In a stroke of luck we even parked the dinghy directly over this huge manta ray


Then we went around a point with a crazy keyhole arch


and were minding our own business when a dozen of these 6 footers suddenly showed up and milled around less than 10 ft away from us with unnerving curiosity.


It seemed like a very long swim back to the dinghy only 100 ft away (on the other side of the sharks). We tried to whistle nonchalantly in our snorkels as we passed.  It must have worked. For a short time we thought they might want to eat us (S looked just like a yummy ocean cupcake in her flowery shorts) but after reflection, K thinks this pack of hammerheads was acting like a pack of friendly neighborhood dogs (S thinks: yeah, a pack of 6-ft long, extremely toothy neighborhood dogs!). 

They were probably just looking for any goats that may have fallen off the very steep cliffs surrounding the bay where they’ve lived since Captain Cook brought them here 200 years ago. Who can blame a shark?

10°28.36’S 138°40.50’W 10-Apr-20 12:30 PDT