Jun 12, 2008

Extreme Sports Aboard Bite Me

Now and again, the hard working Directors of Matava Resort get the chance to take a day off and go play with toys normally reserved for guest activities. Sometimes we go explore diving along the mile upon mile of outer slopes of the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef. Sometimes we go heavy tackle marlin fishing or chase a National or World line class gamefish Record.

Sometimes we just do something crazy.

In March we elected to do someithing nutty and geared up Bite Me with medium to heavy tackle, deep drop jig rods, underwater camera - and snorkeling gear.

About an hour and a half offshore from the resort is a seamount that rises from depths of about 9,000ft to a shallow peak at 400ft. Its a very fishy place to go and Bite Me often fishes there for marlin, yellowfin, wahoo and mahi mahi. We also find sharks there, much to the distress of livebaits set for marlin and it is normal to see the occasional hammerhead, tiger or oceanic white tip cruising around. The largest shark we have ever seen aboard Bite Me was a huge tiger shark out on the seamount that followed a hooked fish right up to the transom.

On arrival, we drifted gently over the seamount with a freshly caught yellowfin tuna head on the end of a rope off the back. We then dropped a deep drop jig rod to the sea floor with a couple of small hooks baited with fresh yellowfin tuna . In no time we were bringing up a big fat large eyed bream. Delicious to eat but this fish was meant for something else. We brought it up to just below the surface and then waited for its distressed actions to call in the nearest shark. Cameraman Richard and his 'watch my back' man Stuart geared up.

After about a minute I spotted a shark coming in and gave the signal for the baits to be pulled in and the snorkelers to enter the water. Stuart dipped his head in to check the sharks species and behavior and then off they went.

This shark was cautious and circled the snorkelers in a wary fashion before cruising off into the depths. Richard fired off some amazing photographs and we are now in the process of asking several shark experts to help us identify her. So far our research indicates a species of oceanic whaler but her unusually thick caudal penduncal (tail wrist) and keel is causing some debate.

Whatever she was, she was majestic and a thrill to swim with in open water.

Personally, I prefer to keep my feet high and dry on the bridge....