Diving The Coral Gardens at Vaka'eitu
North: 18°42.630'S /
Middle: 18°42.971'S / 174°06.231'W
South: 18°43.396'S / 174°06.336'W
The Coral Gardens at Vaka'eitu are in the gap between Vaka'eitu and Nuapapu island. The closest anchorage is the Vaka'eitu anchorage (Anchorage 16).
The Coral Gardens start at about 8' deep, on the eastern side, and slowly slope off toward about 50' deep, toward the west. The further south you go, the more the slope turns into a wall.
Access via dinghy, from Anchorage 16, is best done in very calm weather and close to high tide. In these conditions you can carefully motor across the reef from Anchorage 16 to the outside (west side) of the Coral Gardens. Even in very calm conditions, there is some swell breaking on the reef. Watch the swell, when you see a set of 3 waves, proceed smartly over the reef to the outside, in the calm between sets.
If you don't want to do this, the other options are to anchor your dinghy inside the reef, and swim over (ok for snorkeling, but not advised in dive gear), or take a boat around the long way to the outside of the reef.
The area between the North and Middle waypoint is vibrant with coral and fishes, and is generally an easier, shallow dive.
If you go farther south than the SW point of Vaka'eitu, you may encounter a strong current.
Dive Profile courtesy of Two If By Sea Sail & Dive Charters