Turtles, Turtles and Even More Turtles – Diving in Moorea

We have done seven or more dives in Moorea on the Opunohu Canyons, Garden of Roses and Eden Park dive sites. The one constant in all of the dives has been turtles and lots of them. Interestingly enough, the turtles are happy for divers to get very close to them but when Tristan has snorkelled and free-dived down they have swam away; perhaps his shadow quickly descending scares the hell out of them.


Tristan, Andrew and I did our first dive in Moorea along the Opunohu Canyons. A few of the turtle photos from the trip:

Our second dive along Opunohu Canyon, Ilo from Distant Star joined us. Ilo got his dive licence in Rangiroa and is really keen to dive. You can see Ilo below with a turtle in the distance.

The turtles sit among the coral for a bit of a nap and you often can’t see them until you are right above them, like this little guy.

Okay I will admit I kept stopping to take a photo of another turtle and my dive buddy Tristan was anxious to catch up to Andrew and Ilo, so much so that he swam straight past the turtle below and didn’t even stop. We ended up using the safety sausage and going up when our air got low (after a safety stop) so as to avoid being run over by the many boats as we couldn’t find the mooring buoy where the dinghy was; it turned out to be not that far away.


Today we went to the Eden’s Park dive site and had just started getting in the water when a dive boat arrived. We moved to a nearby mooring buoy and started again. I was happily swimming behind Andrew and turned to my right and was eye to eye (about 50 cm) away from a lemon shark. After my initial heart attack and screaming “Andrew” over and over to no avail (you can’t really hear underwater) the shark swam over to Andrew before quickly disappearing. Unfortunately my reflexes were too slow to get a photo of it.

We did come to a clearish slope covered with coral rubble where a pair of white tip reef sharks were happily relaxing until some diver decided to disturb them; me, coming up and photographing them. The sharks swam away and returned when I left them alone.

It was shortly after our white tip reef shark encounter that we saw another larger, barrel-shaped lemon shark but it swam off too quickly to snap a photo. We did see lots more turtles though. Here is one I swam beside for a while.

Quite a few of the turtles were tucked amongst the coral, resting.

Or eating.

or getting a pat from Andrew.


Our first dive at Eden Park Ilo joined Andrew and I. Tristan came but chose to snorkel it instead of dive. We did not see any lemon sharks this time but ended up in the same spot where we had seen the white tip reef sharks yesterday.

Just as we were leaving the sharks I spotted a large turtle swimming past, unbothered by the sharks nearby.

I did spot something new; an eel. After showing Tristan the photo, he said it was a white-mouthed eel.

Just as we were finishing our dive I saw a large turtle and beside it the silhouette of a body, turns out it was Tristan frightening the turtle away.

Tristan free diving with a turtle

Our second dive, just Andrew and I began at the Miri Roses and followed on to the section of Opunohu Canyon where the turtles are. Miri Roses look like rose blooms when you look down on them, but a lot less colour than actual roses, still it looks pretty cool.

We saw a lot of turtles again on the dive and Andrew petted one.

My favourite find of the day was this little coral section which I think looks very whimsical and almost like little toadstools.

How to better end a dive than watching turtles?