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Some morays cooperate in hunting and others appear to be bitter enemies + large schools of silky and hammerhead sharks – Clipperton Atoll – Guest blog – 20 APR 2010

April 20, 2010 Written by

The diving here at Clipperton Island is great.  The reefs are full of fish and healthy coral.  The fine-spotted moray eels (Gymnothorax dovii) are amazing.   They swim free.  Some seem to cooperate in hunting and others are bitter enemies and battle for territory.  They show no fear and will attack.  I have had to push them away with my camera or hit them with my fist to avoid being bitten.  The sharks I have seen have all been small.  Many small silvertip sharks and a Galapagos today.  Today near four palms I found a large antique anchor.  The coral had grown around it.  From the construction I suspect it was from the early 1800s.  Shooting macro at many sites is difficult because of the surge and currents.  The currents can come up at any time, and seem to switch direction at random.  There seems top be no relation to the tides.  I am glad I came back to Clipperton Island, I have never seen anything like this place.

Having been to other remote atolls, Clipperton Island far exceeded my expectations in regards to coral abundance, the amount of reef fish, and overall beauty of the reef. What a pleasure it was to simply slip on a t-shirt and shorts, strap on a tank and hop in the bath like water. Going to a place as remote and relatively untouched as Clipperton would have felt more expedition like had it not been for the uber luxury standards of the Nautilus. Simply stated, an amazing trip with an amazing crew, and a great mix of passengers.

Clipperton Atoll….What an AMAZING adventure!!!!!!  From the schools of hammerhead sharks, to the tuna, silvertips, eels by the thousands….what an AWESOME part of the planet!!!! Doc Dave was able to perform surgery and save the day on two occasions as well as enjoy pelagic diving with fifty….read that again…FIFTY silky sharks that were a bit interested in altering his persuasion?! Thanks Sten!!!!!! The Nautilus Explorer and it’s crew have been OUTSTANDING….. food has been beyond belief and the service makes you want to come back aboard in the future for more of the same!  You can’t see things in the underwater world if you’re topside. The Nautilus Explorer and the crew make sure that the dives are not limited necessarily by the clock.  Spectacular diving can’t be limited based on a pre-determined dive time. Freedom to dive you own profile is another hallmark of Nautilus Explorer diving and this sets apart the Nautilus Explorer from most every other liveabaord. Now on to Roca Partida and more GREAT DIVING (hopefully no need for any more surgery)!!!!!  David

Different.  Dive where you will, but you have not seen this.  Moray eels at night?  No. Free swimming throughout the day.  One? Two? Five? Twenty-five? Fifty?  They keep coming! Stay back!  They move with purpose!  Juvenile Silver tip sharks (2-3′) on most dives for the last six days, and momma today! Some silkies today(not like two days ago when the paraded in from the blue).  Saw a 10′ tiger shark the third day (only picture is in my memory)identified by the flick of a large striped tail as it moved into them blue. The Clipperton Angels, Leather Bass, Surgeons, etc…..  all numerous  on every dive, fearless, and easily photographed. The Nautilus Explorer crew is outstanding!  On the boat, in the water, service is the objective.  Dives were exploratory, but well managed and timed with everyone allowed to dive to their own capacity and taste.  Onboard, no want goes un satisfied.  Now north to Roca Partida, happy there is more diving ahead!!  John B.

After over a week of diving all around Clipperton, I’ve come to the conclusion that the windward side of the atoll is definitely better for diving.  We’ve had more sharks, more eels, and generally more varieties of fish on the windward side than the lee. Couple that with surprisingly less surge and current, and you get some really fantastic dives.  Today, on our post-lunch dive, I decided when I jumped in that I would do a quick, deep dive towards the bottom portion of the reef, where the colorful coral peters out to white rubble.  There’s been a persistent thermocline down in the 170 foot range all around the island, and I wanted to see some of the life that preferred colder waters.  As I came back up to around 130 feet, I fell in behind a group of other divers from the boat, who were joined by a solitary big eye jack that decided he wanted to be part of the fun.  As the rest of the group bubbled across the reef, this lone jack dutifully tagged along behind the group all the way up until they made their safety stops in the shallows and climbed back into the zodiac.  If he could have, I’m he would’ve probably climbed into the boat with them and ridden back to the Nautilus.  The behavior of the wildlife out here at Clipperton is completely different almost anything I’ve ever seen before – from this lone jack to the bizarrely aggressive eels, it’s been a fascinating week of true expedition exploration.
Cameron E.



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