Date de publication : 2010-08-05

[texte en anglais seulement]

Nestling  in the far northern part of the mozambique Channel, Mayote is composed of several islands wich have flat erroded topology composed of volcanic rocks. Mayotte’s lagoon is unique in that it has the exceptional feature of having a double barrier reef wich streches out over about hundred miles : one of the largest lagoon of the blue planet. Spearfishing in the lagoon is prohibited and you must hunt in the open sea. This area is wellknown for observing sea mammals, in particular the spectacular sight of the humperback whales giving birth and preparing their young to the Antartic migration. Despite the fact that October is the end of the « whale season », we could freedive carefully very close to a couple of whales and the feeling was amazing.
Underwater fauna and flora is there about the same as in the Indian Ocean : a treasure chest of biodiversity and an extraordinary sight.
Two french friends have been organizing for weeks a catamaran trip to an isolated reef located at about 70 miles northeast off the coast : Jack Passe a wellknown french pioneer in blue water hunting and Pierre Baubet a proficient former world record  holder (dogtooth tuna).
So we did a one week boat trip in the middle of nowhere, getting provided with ice and gas every two days by a local fishing boat. Everyday we used a twenty feet tender exploring the reef wich emerge the sea surface only during the low tide.
Weather was sunny and pretty hot, underwater visi could change from about 150 feet to fair, according to the tide strong currents  wich meant action!
We did diving/ hunting close to the reef  on different spots located at 100 to 150 feet depth, the volcanic wall is merging from about 10,000 feet depth…
Fish was plentifull there, blue water hunting was the main trip goal and we did’nt catch any reef fish.
 Dogtooth tuna is one the most exciting  gamefish we had to hunt. Frequently swimming among grey reef sharks, they do swimming in small groups, most of the time a female (the bigger) and a couple of males frequenting depths between 70 and 120feet around coral reefs. Dogtooth tuna average were 60 to 150 lbs. It’s well known that chasing these fish is a deep waiting game and that you have to stay quiet at the time these distrussfull pelagic endly decide to circle the flasher.
We lost several good size tuna because of sharks attacks wich were, as usualy, collecting a local tax…
An unforgetable diving trip.

Philippe Virgili

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