Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Black Rock Passage
The airport at Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands, is located on the north-western corner of the island. The runway (which is large enough to handle Boeing-747s), extends a little out across the edge of the original shoreline. The runway runs approximately east-west (perhaps the western end is slightly south of west). Straight off the centre of the runway there is a dive site called Diana's Ridge. This is also straight off the beach to the south of the runway and north of Black Rock and the dive sites called Black Rock Chimneys and Black Rock Passage.
These rocks are (as far as I can see) the only major outcrop of rocks on the shore's edge of the whole 34 kilometres of the island's circumference. For most of the island, the fringing coral reef comes close to the shore, like it does off Black Rocks. The rocks give their name to the small village (locality?) and some villas. They are just north of the Edgewater Resort and south of the western end of the runway. This site is about eight minutes from Avatui Harbour.
The anchoring spot is 30 to 50 metres off the fringing reef. The GPS reading for this site is a latitude of 21° 12.315' S and longitude of 159° 49.530' W. Note that this GPS Reading was taken using WGS84 as the map datum. See my GPS Page for more details.
This site consists of a series of ridges and gullies. The depth at the anchoring spot is above seven metres and there is a gully right next to it is about 12 metres. As you go west the reef drops gradually to 25 metres. surface.
|Guineafowl puffer||Threadfin butterflyfish|
The coral here is not very good. I estimated that there was only about 15% live coral. I also saw no sponges at all and not even a tiny gorgonia (let alone a huge one like seen in many South Pacific Ocean countries). There were some blue, yellow and pink Christmas tree worms in the coral, one of only a few locations that we saw them. There were a few giant clams, although not too huge. Fishlife was also sparce. We saw two barracudas and a few bluefin trevally as well as a nice Guineafowl puffer. There were a few surgeonfish and trevally, some different butterflyfish (threadfin, longnose) and a few Moorish idols. That is about it except for heaps of black sea cucumbers.
The one good thing about this dive was the visibility, in excess of 40 metres. Water temperature in June was 24.0° and air temperature 23-25°.
For more information about the Cook Islands, especially Rarotonga, see my Cook Islands General Information Page.