Tahanea’s North Pass, Underwater

We drift snorkeled the pass, aiming for slack tide, and found ourselves zipped inside the lagoon at a quick clip. But we saw lots of things along the way, like this big grouper and humphead wrasse.

There were a lot of these weird looking guys – some kind of squirrelfish? And right, the always-shy pennant bannerfish.

A grownup version of the pacific sailfin tangs we’ve seen a couple of times, and some colorful kind of fangblenny probably.

A couple cool red things we hadn’t seen before, a fire dartfish and flame angelfish.

We went back the next day, armed with scuba gear and a longer dinghy painter. The waves above the water were pretty rough as we approached the outside of the pass, but once we got in it was nice and calm, and Dinkus slid along at about the same rate we did – though carrying him meant that it was much harder to stop.

Here’s a longnose butterfly fish (creative naming, huh?) with its fins lowered and raised.

Fourspot butterflyfish, reticulated butterflyfish, and the similar-shaped orangestripe surgeonfish.

Left, a checkerboard wrasse, almost done being a juvenile and taking on the yellow fringe of its intermediate stage; it’ll take on another whole color scheme when it becomes an adult. Right, some kind of coralgoby(?) we keep seeing and can’t seem to identify.

There were two lionfish with squirrelfish guards outside their hidey-holes. Yellowstriped on the left, tailspot squirrelfish on the right.

Left, a lemonpeel angelfish, and its emperor cousin.

Also in yellow, the goldsaddle goatfish, alongside its more subtly dressed cousin the manybar goatfish.

The orangestriped triggerfish keeps the trend of obvious names; also pictured, titan and scythe triggerfishes.

We see a decent number of these pacific bird wrasses and piano fangblennies.

Here’s a yellowmargin moray and a luzon sea star.

This steephead parrotfish was surprised when we floated by, and flicked up its dorsal fin in alarm.

These pineapple sea cucumbers are just the coolest looking. Right, we think, an intermediate-stage golden trevally.

And last, but certainly not least: sharks! Here’s a blacktip reef shark, and a sleeping whitetip reef shark.


  1. I didn’t think that you could out do the last post, but this one was over the top! What a wonderful life you are enjoying.

    1. We have Reef Fish Identification, Tropical Pacific edition. It’s the same group that makes the Caribbean one, with Paul “Definitely a” Humann, et al.

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