Saturday, June 5, 2010

Diving the Yellow Dog Canyon

Current Location: Anse Amyot, Toau Atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia 15-48.21S / 146-09.14W

The diving in general at Anse Amyot is spectacular. Unlike the other anchorages we have been in in the Tuamotus, we are only a couple of hundred yards from the lee side of the atoll. Here, the coral reef goes from 10' deep, to 30' deep, and then plunges to untold depths.

Gaston and Valentine, the Tuamotuan family that lives here, not only has put big boat moorings in their small cul-de-sac, but also put dinghy moorings out on the wall, to facilitate diving. There is one bouy just outside the anchorage, and another down the wall a little ways.

The best dive, according to Gaston, is called Yellow Dog. It is 1500 meters east of the channel entrance. Gaston has marked the spot with a bouy, so divers can hook their dinghy to the bouy and easily dive the spot. The feature of this spot is not just the 100+ foot visibility, nor the near-vertical wall, but a big canyon.

The wall plunges from 30 feet to nearly bottomless in a short space. The bottomless depths are deep dark blue, and as you drift down into the canyon, it almost feels like you are diving into deep space. It is a really weird feeling. Johanna, from Visions says she felt she was going to be sucked down into the hole. But there is no current, nothing but crystal clear 82-degree water, live coral, and thousands of fish. And of course, the spectactular vista.

As a group, we drifted down to close to 100' deep, and then looked up. The water is so clear, it does feel like you are in a canyon on land. Dave got a couple of great pics of me down in the canyon.

The canyon does go deeper... I ventured to 130' (that's pretty deep for casual sport diving) before Dave motioned me back up.

We have since dived on that spot 2 more times, and will likely go back a couple of more to show our friends the spot.

But the whole rest of the wall is pretty fantastic too. We have started a series of slow drift dives down the wall from the Yellow Dog, doing about 400-500 yards a dive. I tow the dinghy, and Dave takes the camera. There is about a quarter knot of current with us, and only 10 knots of wind in the lee of the island, so it is a really easy, gentle drift. We bounce up and down between 80 deep along the wall, to 30' deep on top of the wall, following the contours and the fish.
At 6/3/2010 7:13 PM (utc) our position was 15°48.21'S 146°09.14'W

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1 comment:

  1. I loved Toau so very much but didn't dive there. Sailing left me very afraid of the sea! You donated to MAWF (Majuro Animal Welfare Foundation). We are indebted to you and want you to know that at our short clinic (delayed by customs Honolulu) 198 dogs were sterilised in 3.5 days, a wonderful achievement. More funds are needed for our ongoing clinics. Great to hear about your adventures.
    Carl (used to be on S/S Sisiutl)