Dive Site: Mataora Wreck Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Diver on the wreck at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Site Overview

Site Type: Scattered wreck surrounded by hard coral reef
Depth: Top: 8MMedian: 16MBottom: 18M
Location: The most easterly of the Northern Divesites

Description

Mataora presents the best wreck diving in Rarotonga. Parts of the wreck are scattered over the hard coral reef attracting a variety of marine life.

The MV Mataora was an outer islands schooner deliberately sunk in 1990 to create an artificial reef for divers in the Cooks. Several cyclones later, she is now broken up into reasonably large pieces spaced out on the hard coral reef.

Along the wreckage at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

The broken pieces of the wreck are always interesting to explore as you try to work out which piece of the original three-dimensional jigsaw you happen to be looking at now.

Diver amongst the wreckage at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

There’s a port hole so that must have been a bit of the hull, and so on. Is that a piston or a boiler?

Piston end or boiler at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

It’s also fun to shine a light inside and under some of the more enclosed sections-often much to the chagrin of the inhabitants, a soldier fish trying to catch some shut eye before his is nightshift, or a pair of surgeons caught unawares.

Brown tangs caught unawares at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

And wherever there’s a wreck that is usually a moray eel too; in this case a White-mouth.

Whitemouth Moray at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

This dive is not just about the scattered wreckage.

Damsels above the corals above the wreckage at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

The reef around the wreck is interesting too, among the hard corals you’ll find the usual culprits, but also potentially something more exotic like this Spotted croucher in the pocillopora.

Spotted Croucher in pocillopora at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

There are also plenty of nudis. Some you’ll need to be quick to keep up with. This Hypselodoris in full racing trim, was moving like greased lightning.

Hypselodoris with racing stripes at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Whereas this Spanish Dancer, the biggest I have ever seen anywhere, was not.

Spanish Dancer with finger for scale at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

On the sand there are plenty of gobies and dartfish to creep slowly up on – until they literally instantly disappear into a nearby hole.

Blue Streak gobies and Fire Dartfish at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

The other option is to sit quietly on the grit and let the fish come and check you out.

Sunset Wrasse against the blue background at Mataora Wreck diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit