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Barracudas: Big Fish Country

From a narrow perspective Nabucco Island's main attraction is Nacha as the locals call it, which translates into something like Big Fish Country.

At Nacha/Big Fish Country you dive down to about 26 metres – preferably at the height of the tidal current in the early morning – along the eastern wall of the Maratua atoll just in front of a deep entrance into the atoll and then hang on for dear life – waiting for stuff to happen.

Pickhandle barracudas at Big Fish Country

After the first dive we complained at length because people were hanging on to corals of all shapes and sizes. We were then issued a hook so we could easily “fasten” ourselves to rocks and the like. But the rewards were great though: Zebra sharks, white tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, tuna and the greatest school of barracudas we had ever seen.

Our dive guide Medi knew a thing or two about attracting barracudas – at least that was what he claimed. On one of our dives he kept swirling his hook round and round and round. The blue horizon got darker and darker and little by little it grew into a veritable tornado of barracudas. The top of the school almost touched the surface and the bottom seemed to loose itself in the depths. Barracudas were everywhere.

We left our safe haven at the edge of the reef and slowly dove towards the school. It was totally unreal to hover but one meter from a wall of barracudas that almost didn't care to move for a pair of tin cans like us. It was just so impressive when the silvery predators slid into a formation of a horizontal figure of 8 where we could see the school almost in 3D.

Of course, this dive was widely discussed afterwards. Minimum bid was about 2,000 torpedo shaped predators.

Before we had our first dive at Big Fish Country we were warned not to bring the uw video camera as our guide thought the currents would make it impossible to hold still and, more seriously, it could constitute a safety hazard. Of course, we obeyed though seen in the rear-view mirror we must admit that if you've experienced (and survived) the sounds and belts of Denmark on one of their more disobliging days you are reasonable well prepared for whatever hardship other of the world's dive spots may have in store for you.

We had a super dive at any rate: Six white tips and a grey reef shark, a couple of big tunas, a large whitespotted eagle ray and a small school of barracudas. Lene had positioned herself at the far end of the group and became just a tiny bit nervous when one of the large white tips took a particular interest in her – so she thought, anyway.

The small dive boat at Nabucco Island

The rest of us just rejoiced in this spectacle as the shark even in spite of the stiff tidal current effortlessly swam back and forth to have a closer look at us. I did get a sense of Lene's state of mind as she came hopping along the rocky edge and settled down within arm's reach.

We spent a lot of time at Big Fish Country :-)

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