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Off the Wall [1989]
Posted by Tony on 1st April 2017 at 15:25:33
What does it mean when you discover the source of magic?
Diving Rangiroa has always been great
First the simple act of discovery and rediscovery
Progressing to renewed skills, familiarity, expectations
And of course the sheer wonder of the living sea
And all this with my personal world models racing into complex systems
I don't remember if any one of the dives of my first two too short visits was especially better than the others
But the third time round, having to suffer six nights in paradise because of problems with flight connections
One dive suddenly stood head and shoulders above the rest
Kia Ora's in house dive leader had gone without replacement
So henceforth diving was with Raie Manta Club and a more mixed clientele drawn from several Rangiroa accommodations
That afternoon seemingly no different from other dive days
Outside Tiputa Pass a largish group rolled out of the inimitable Zodiac and descended sixty pristine feet
Into wall to wall sharks
Just reefies, nothing we weren't used to, but the numbers
And the dive stayed high
So high the details just disappeared into the general impression of an experience that was simply over the top
Even the compulsory deco run was a classic rendition
Of the widely acclaimed Tiputa Pass tidal drift
But all the details quickly submerged below that central memory of pure unadulterated magic.
A year later, a sensible four night stay scheduled
Should one ever risk trying to recapture real magic?
Three standard dives, that is standard here, exceptional anywhere else
The Raie Manta gang wanted an afternoon's recovery
And they had nearly exhausted all their current clientele
But my few Aussie dollars and some Japanese yen
Had “Mrs Thatcher” pushing us outside Tiputa Pass on a sunny afternoon
A small group of better than competent divers dropped 25 feet
To a colourfully lit array of coral and fishes
We routinely meandered to the edges of the abyss
At forty feet where the slope steepens and at sixty where it falls away
I had had sufficient of micro scenes on the previous few dives
So I determined to just hang and drift twenty feet off the near vertical face, a lazy eighty below the ruffled surface
And then it hit me, the source of last years magic
The sinking sun refracted at just the right angle
To silhouette the ever changing intermix of schools
Of fry and tiddlers, typicals and bigger fish
All going about their business in their chosen areas
I stayed off the wall (and had a memorable head on with a barracuda)
Eventually the shark count got to 23 plus 3 or 4 eagle rays
But this day was no match for last year, it was only a bit better than great
But also this day I managed to discover that one specific source of magic
So now when time and tide is right, I might make that magic come again
Not just for me but to share with others
And the next day we dived there with dolphins.
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