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Pitcairn Islands Expedition: Arriving at Henderson Island

We arrived at Henderson Island at dawn. The island was like a long, low rectangle, with limestone cliffs and lots of green. The sea near the island was picture perfect. It was like the typical view that people in office buildings have on their walls, to inspire dreams about where they’d rather be.

Manu San Felix, our underwater cinematographer, Nathan Lefevre – Manu’s assistant – and I dived with rebreathers. These are closed-circuit diving tanks that recycle the oxygen from the carbon dioxide we exhale, and therefore don’t produce bubbles. This means that we can stay longer underwater, and because we are silent, we can get closer to the fishes. And closer we got.

As soon as we reached the edge of the reef drop off, at about 20 meters, four grey reef sharks came straight to us, and shortly after six yellowtail jacks and several black jacks joined them. The sharks were with us during the entire dive, and followed us to the surface. A shark even cut between Manu and me, dorsal fin out of the water as in the movies. That made everyone on the boat laugh.

This giant coral probably was already alive when Pedro Fernandez de Quirós “discovered” Henderson in 1606. Photo by Enric Sala

 

Our second dive, in the late afternoon, we descended onto a giant coral colony. This coral probably was already alive when Pedro Fernandez de Quirós “discovered” Henderson in 1606. Underneath the coral were crevices and a short tunnel, full of squirrelfish – a fabulous display of red in motion.

In summary, our first impression of Henderson has been very positive. It is clearly a predator-dominated ecosystem – the best indicator of marine ecosystem health. I hope the next three days will bring many more exciting encounters in this wild marine world.

 

Comments

  1. Maritza
    Fortlauderdale, Fl
    April 4, 2012, 4:49 pm

    Lovely images. Congrats.

  2. mahender
    india faridabad
    March 28, 2012, 2:47 am

    beautiful image

  3. Mr. Marco
    Monaco
    March 27, 2012, 11:36 am

    What a Paradise, Mr. Sala! Great expedition ……. We keep following !

    Mr. Marco

  4. Beatrice Barry
    Fairfax, VA
    March 27, 2012, 10:31 am

    The pic of the coral is amazing! looks like a little planet!