After spending the first hours snorkeling around the anchorage, on the second day we sailed towards the outer reef where the ‘proper’ dive spots are to be found. We take Jason’s Yacht and tow two dingies in the back. Not far from the northern entrance to the reef we put the SY Bodhran on a mooring and use the dinghies to explore the reef.
The sea is calm and the visibility under water quite good. Sitting in the dinghy we can make out the dive spots and decide to go for a quick one at ‘Grand Central’ while Jason and Melanie are snorkeling with the incoming tide and drift over the reef back towards the yacht.
The second stop is at ‘Arkansas’ – a lonely coral column extending from -25m up to about -4m. While Bertel and Jason dive circles in the deep I’m free diving and again amazed by the sheer beauty of this site. The soft coral on the top looks like wheat fields (hence the name: Arkansas) and the rock is surrounded by colorful soft & hard coral, lots of ‘unicorn fish’ and numerous other species. We stay for quite some time and are all happy we made the decision to visit Namena.
During the next days we also explore the southern reef and the dive sites called ‘Chimneys’ and ‘Mushrooms’ as well as the ‘Four Sisters’. All of them breathtaking beautiful. Timing is important tough: the sites on the northern side should be visited shortly after high tide, while the ones at the southern side are best visited at low tide. The difference between slack water and out- or incoming tide is huge and the currents can get quite strong. If one got the timing wrong, it’s definately worth waiting in the dinghy for the current to change.
During the final dive at the mushrooms I dropped our camera which neatly sank into a depth of about 25m – which I guess it could survive – but despite wasting a full bottle of air on it, I still couldn’t find it again. So for the time being those will be the last underwater shots. Damn ! The Nikon AW110 was an awesome all-round camera and I’ll definately miss it a lot.
But good news for everyone who plans to visit Namena during the next months: When we arrived there was only one mooring at the anchorage and one about 0.5nm ESE from the northern channel. There are plans to put as much as five moorings near the island and numerous at the dive sites. That will make visiting those spots a lot easier for cruisers.
Thanks to Jason for many of those awesome photos. Please visit his blog to see more !