Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Arbuthnotts
Arbuthnotts is a dive site on Rarotonga, Cook Islands. It is located on the north east corner of the island. It is about a seven minute run from Avatui Harbour to this site in a fast dive boat. This dive site is located a few hundred metres off the shore. This section of the island does not really have a fringing reef like most of the rest of the 32 kilometres of the island's coast. The site's name comes from the owners of the two large houses on the shoreline, just north of the small bridge over the creek.
You anchor in about eight metres on a sandy bottom with many small bommies. Just north of here there is a much larger sand patch which leads out to the reef edge. From the anchor, you follow the southern side of this sand patch as it gradually slopes till you hit the reef dropoff. The depth here is about 25 to 30 metres. From here the bottom slopes more steeply to 35 metres and then to much deeper. The reef winds in and out as it heads south. There are some canyons and gullies.
|White tipped reef shark||Guineafowl moray eel|
The coral here is probably the worst I have seen anywhere in the world (and I have dived in 10 countries with coral reefs). I estimated that there was less than 5% live coral. There was not a single sponge nor any gorgonias. Fishlife was also sparce.
We saw two white tipped reef sharks, two guineafowl moray eels, heaps of black sea cucumbers and a few species of surgeonfish, triggerfish and other tropical species as well as one firefish. There were a few Moorish idols, short and long-finned bannerfish, long-nosed butterflyfish and even some very long-nosed butterflyfish (yes, this is really a species). All in all, not many fish, but at least there were some nice ones.
After 20 to 25 minutes, you turn around and come back a little shallower than the outward trip. Once again, the coral is not very good and the fishlife poor.
The one good thing about this dive was the visibility, in excess of 40 metres. Water temperature in June was 24.8° and air temperature 25°.
For more information about the Cook Islands, especially Rarotonga, see my Cook Islands General Information Page.