A while ago I wrote a piece on working out the tides around the Tuamotus, specifically in regard to what you would find around the passes of the atolls where I said that I would be looking at a lunar model suggested in the British Admiralty Pilot from 1969 I have on board. I haven’t yet but still intend to have a decent look. Let’s just say I’ve been collecting evidence.
I had finished diving the N pass with Top Dive, one of the companies based in Fakarava (thoroughly recommended BTW), heading back in and I ended up in conversation with Mano, a local Dive Master, instructor and all round good guy, who has been working for dive schools for 10 years. It was his turn to be driver that day so I stood at the bow with him as he expertly guided us through the chop back towards Rotoava. I asked him how the school judged the dive times they used. By way of explanation, the school will generally do two pass dives a day using the incoming stream only. An outgoing current is dangerous as the current dives strongly at the ocean wall drop off, which can quickly take any diver foolish enough to be subsurface there down to lethal depths in a matter of seconds.
His answer surprised me. “The Moon” with a nod of his head. Pointing with one hand, “ when the moon is there, then the tide is high, when it is there, then it is slack, there, then incoming and there, outgoing.
He told me all the local fishermen used the same system as they also knew by the moon’s position when the best fishing was to be had too.
This method had been taught to him as a boy in Tahiti by his Grandfather and he had always found it accurate enough for his years fishing and in the diving industry. I also queried him on the more modern method of tide tables. He just smiled.
“The moon is always there. All you need to know is how to read it”
Don’t you just love technology?
More practise required by this callsign……..