“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

American in Niue, part 3

Our first dive day was Monday, and we met the boat at the Alofi wharf. As there is no harbor, boats are launched via a winch.
The inflatable boat takes four divers and one driver/divemaster. On the way to the dive site, we had dolphins cruise with us. We hooked up to a mooring ball near the Limu pools area and dove a site known as Twin or Two Caves. I was comfortable in my 3 ml neoprene with a beanie. The highlights of diving in Niue include the incredibly clear water and hence terrific visibility, and the caverns and caves. And the whales- during our surface interval, we watched a group of 3 beaching and spy-hopping, and saw another two that were approachable. Annie, our divemaster, got the boat in front of them and told us we could slip into the water with snorkel and fins. I didn’t see them at first, but then they came into view, out of the blue- right below me. It was so incredible to be in the same water space as them. The most visible one just sort of hung out below us for a good 5-10 minutes before swimming off. Our second dive was called Bubble Cave. You swim into a cave and come up above water into an enclosed cave. The structure was so interesting to swim through, and the water so clear, there was nothing to be scared of despite being surrounded by snakes swimming all around. They breathe air but live in the water, and are curious so they will sometimes follow divers around.
The other divers in the boat recommended the lemon cheesecake ice cream at one of the shops, so we had some to recharge after diving.

Our second day of diving departed from Avatele ramp, about 15 minutes south from Alofi. The surf was a bit larger today, and so it was good that our dive sites were relatively close. The first was Matavai Bommie, a small coral head, and the second was Snake Gully. Both sites had much more coral than the previous day’s sites, and also a wide variety of beautiful fish. Darin had his underwater video camera with him and got some great footage of the fish. Snake Gully was my favorite, because it had lots of fish and coral variety as well as a gorgeous cave and cavern. Not to mention lots of snakes! They are curious and not dangerous.
For lunch, Darin cut up the yellowfin tuna for sashimi, and I made rice- both eaten with soy sauce. We ate tuna again for dinner with one of the package pasta meals I brought along. Diving really tires you out, and I was coming down with a cold, so we watched a couple movies while here- Hancock, which was good except the ending, and Burn After Reading, in which Brad Pitt totally aced his role.