Dive Site: Tupapa Sandriver Rarotonga Cook Islands

Anthias hover on the coral at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Site Overview

Site Type: Scenic hard coral reef
Depth: Top: 12MMedian: 22MBottom: 28M
Location: A dive site on the north east of Rarotonga

Description

The Tupapa Sandriver is a great river of sand that runs from the coast down to the drop-off like some underwater scene from Sinbad where the desert flows to the very near horizon and disappears off the edge of the world into the abyss below. Only the Tupapa Sandriver runs along the ocean bed in 10m to 25m of crystal clear water.

Water clarity shot diving Rarotonga at Sand River in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

The sand is clean sand, and with the rest of the reef being hard coral, the water is crystal clear.

Anthias hover on the coral at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

The dive starts in about 12m and follows the edge of the river of sand to the edge of the drop-off.

The sand river waterfall over the drop off at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Not that you need to go over the edge as there’s plenty to see on the reef top, and with the vis of 30+ metres and bright sunlight above it means that even at 25 m there are plenty of reef fish on colourful display.

Dot and Dash butterflyfish pair at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Freckled Hawkfish will observe you carefully as you pass by.

Freckled Hawkfish at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

A long nose butterflyfish eats hydroids, fish eggs, and small crustaceans that may have accidentally exposed themselves.

Long nosed butterflyfish at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Parrotfish can be heard grazing on any algae they find; the scratch marks evidence of slim pickings on the pristine reef.

Blue lipped parrotfish at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Humbugs hover above the coral until you approach, when they dip quietly between the coral fingers.

Humbugs above the coral at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

Flame Angelfish will be hiding in their caves by the time you get close.

Flame angelfish at Sand River diving Rarotonga in the Cook Islands by Diveplanit

A hard coral reef has a lot more life than appears at first sight. Tread carefully, and use a slighter longer lens.