Dive Site: Coral Garden Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Diver over the coral at coral gardens diving cook islands banner

Site Overview

Site Type: Scenic Reef
Depth: Bottom: 20M
Location: Another of the northern sites easily accessed from the Avatiu Harbour

Description

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape which is actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish. There are all sorts of stuff hiding in the coral once you actually look.

This shot shows the hard coral terrain typical of many of the Rarotongan dive sites in the Cooks.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

I like coral – don’t get me wrong – but I find that what lives in it to be more interesting. However sometimes it’s insightful to look at the actual coral and think about how supports the life around it.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

At this site you will find all the varieties of coral with very little if any touchdown space in between.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

Look at the coating coral everywhere are the tell-tale scratch marks of the parrotfish.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

There are fire corals and coating coral covering all shapes of boulders and “helmets”. Inside the fingers of fire coral you’re likely to find humbugs and if you’re lucky a coral croucher!

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

So hard coral landscape might at first look a little lunar compared to the colourful seascapes presented by soft corals, but look carefully as it sustains its own colourful marine ecosystem.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

There are also localised variants. There are freckled Freckled Hawkfish.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

And Freckled Hawkfish who have hardly any freckles.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish

One thing that is consistent is the friendly Blue Triggerfish who comes to check out all divers.

Coral Garden presents a hard coral lunar landscape actually home to lots of marine life like the whitemouth moray, pyramid butterflies and freckled hawkfish