Snorkeling the False Pass, final part trois

By Spencer.

The underwater seascape on my journey back from the False Pass towards Aldebaran was filled with pockets of sand peppered between coral heads. Most of the coral was showing signs of bleaching on the lagoon side; however there were numerous colonies thriving.

One that caught my eye in particular was a small white coral sitting alone in the sand. I dove down the twenty some odd feet and anchored myself to the sea floor with my camera ready for action. The coral head was a refuge for tiny black and white striped fish. First they were timid of their giant visitor but with patience they emerged from the branches of coral to swim in circles around their home which was glimmering in rainbows of the refracted sunlight from the world above.

Sitting at dinner talking with our marine biologist friends Tom and Sonja and their son Keanu from Pakia Tea (, who sailed on a catamaran we met in Galapagos, and re-joined in Gambier, we learned that the coral in here is making a valiant effort to fight the bleaching and they are quite happy with what they saw. With luck the coral reefs will survive the warming waters and acidification caused by excess CO2 in our atmosphere.

Things you can do to help coral reefs around the world include: – Be responsible with your waste; reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle. – Support protected marine areas.
– Choose the correct type of sunscreen which won’t kill the coral, even in places like cold California there are corals which are affected by the type of sunscreen we use. Avoid oxybenzone and nano zinc (see the ingredient list). Avoid sunscreens with SPF over 30 as they usually have high chemical contents and don’t significantly improve protection.
– A great website to check out on the subject and purchase EcoConscious and Biodegradable sunscreen is

Photo: aerial view of Tarauru-Roa, the long motu that is adjacent to the False Pass. Note Aldebaran anchored on the far right side. The houses on the motu’s beach are likely related to the pearl farmers but we aren’t sure as nobody was around. Shot with Honey Bee, our DJI mavic drone, launched from the boat at anchor; it was our first time using a launchpad – two pieces of plywood – from the nets!

2 thoughts on “Snorkeling the False Pass, final part trois

  1. Sooo gorgeous…what’s the water temperature? Matt & I just spent the Mem Day weekend in Cabo and swam 2 miles every day. The last day we happened upon a large school of medium sized fish with pointed yellow tipped fins and tails. I don’t know exactly what type of fish it was, but it was amazing….they swam with us for a little while!!

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