One of the best diving days I’ve ever experienced. Clipperton 13 April 2011

I’m celebrating, with a Canadian wine of course, one of the best diving days I’ve ever experienced.

All was progressing pleasantly on the reef wall with good hard corals and numerous fish, when we started hearing dolphins. A group of us swam out into the blue and suddenly all was frantic activity. Large numbers of rainbow runners and then the silkies moved in. We reckoned there were 50 to 60 all swimming past us, sometimes at just one to two metres distance. Some of the rainbow runners attached themselves in surprisingly large numbers to the odd one or two sharks. And then the dolphins decided to join the fray with up to 20 plus enjoying the excitement. Their calls could be heard all around us. On looking down we found the source of all the activity: a large bait ball of skipjack tuna below us. Even when we were picked up by the zodiac, the dolphins swam alongside us until we reached the Nautilus Explorer. Each leap out of the water was greeted by loud shouts of appreciation.

On my last dive of the day I was with 3 other divers and Joel from the dive crew. We were again out in the blue enjoying rainbow runners and big eye jacks when suddenly we had 4 hammerhead sharks swim up to us, within one to two metres of the divers. Again high fives were exchanged under water! As Joel said: it was eyeball to eyeball with the hammerheads.


HAMMERHEADS!!! Loads of them and Silkies too.

4th day at Clipperton Atoll – cloudier this morning and the pre-breakfast dive a little more shady but still plenty of activity on the reef with many reef fish and the slithering Morays terrorising the Squirrel fish (although non eaten). A lovely morning dive and surprisingly it was raining slightly when we reached the surface and the boobies were just stirring. But it was the 2nd dive that set the scene for the rest of the day – HAMMERHEADS!!! Loads of them and Silkies too. The first indication were the sweeping Jacks passing through and hot on their heels (if they had them) were the sharks schooling from the sand below the reef and sweeping upwards. Those of us on the reef could follow the tell- tale bubbles from the blue to join the rest of our divers enjoying the close encounters from the depths and then when it was time to ascend – DOLPHINS at the surface. The sharks stayed with us for the 3rd and 4th dives with 1-2 metre encounters with Scalloped Hammerheads for some of the divers and celebrations at Cocktail Time that evening that for some it was in the top ten diving days ever!


In the middle of a highway of sharks and dolphins!

We went to some of our old dive site , a place that I remember we had an encounter with a huge school of Silkie sharks that time maybe 500 or a 100.
This time we dove a bit out of the reef. We could hear dolphins the whole dive and finally they came by , They left after a while but where still in the surrounding and at a time I could see big galapagos sharks moving in one direction, then the rainbow runners then yellow fin tunas and one , two, five, ten… no twenty silkie sharks and then the dolphins all moving as if in a one lane high way, towards what we later could see a big baitball of bonitos. They where just all over!! All the animals just made a dull dive to very excited dive. The dolphins followed our inflatables to Nautilus Explorer and we continued to snorkel and freedive with them for a good while around nautilus.

The other dives we also had scalloped hammerheads and, the first big schools turned up today.

So far this trip has really been a exciting one. I think we are seeing more animals this trip , but we also started to learn how to dive this Atoll. It gets more interesting more I put down time on Clipperton. I am already signing up for next year! 

Surface conditions: 30 C rain in the morning but from mid day sunny . Calmer wind.

Underwater conditions: From easy 30 m or 110 ft down to 60. Temp 29F

Dive guide Sten Johansson

By Nautilus Staff

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