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Nose to Nose

Ryan Borne


Behind the Shot

If you dive in Tikehau’s brilliantly clear, relatively shallow lagoon, you’ll explore a region that boasts, according to Jacques Cousteau, a greater variety of fish species than any other location in French Polynesia. Located 220 miles north of Tahiti, Tikehau’s coral reef formed atop a 65-million-year-old undersea volcano. Where once flowed lava now rests pink and white sand islets, covered in lush coconut tree groves, and the lagoon’s clear blue-green water is perfect for a variety of ocean activities.

Divers come from all over to swim and snorkel with reef sharks, rays and the incomprehensible abundance of fish including tuna, snapper, barracuda, lionfish and clownfish found here. Ryan, who lives on the Tahitian mainland, joined Denis Grosmaire, an AIDA instructor, conservationist and renowned deep free diver based locally, in this incredible shark encounter.

“Nature is beautiful and sharks are beautiful. Shaped by millions of years of evolution, sharks are the closest things to perfection. You can feel their presence and energy. When they're around, they impose respect and humility. Sharing a moment with those sharks is definitely one of the experiences that I'm the most grateful for and that had a huge impact on me.”