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pen ink well goldA note from Dom  ... Flamboyant French Polynesia

I still dream about the heart-pounding encounters I had in the Tuamotus, drifting wildly on raging currents through the passes, surrounded by countless numbers of magnificent pelagics riding the tide into the lagoon, as if tobogganing in the Alps!  Grey reef sharks, black tips, mantas, napoleon wrasses flying above me in droves.       read more ....

Tahiti, the quintessential tropical holiday destination, offers easy, generally pleasant diving almost anywhere you choose to get into the water.  But for divers seeking challenge, excitement and some of the most spectacular underwater thrills that exist anywhere in the world, it's Fakarava and/or Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago that you want ... or, if you're lucky enough to hit it right, you may be able to secure a space on a rare cruise through the Marquesas.  

Imagine an intimate group - maximum 8 divers - on your own comfy catamaran (you'll find two of these on our site - Aqua Tiki II & Itemata) - diving the rushing waters of some of the most exciting pass dives in the world with sharks & mantas & more!   Or choose the other end of the spectrum and go with the brand new & incredibly sturdy French Polynesia Master. Check out our liveaboards & land-based diving suggestions by clicking on the menu at the top right of this page.

When you're ready to hear more, I'm an email away and will respond to your request with any additional details that you wish.      Cheers, Dom

French Polynesia Diving

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globe th Copy Paradisical French Polynesia lies in the South Pacific Ocean half way between Los Angeles and Syndey, Australia.    It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands & atolls stretching over more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) – only 67 of which are inhabited.   There are 5 island groups : the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas & the Austral Islands.   Each of these island groups offers something unique in terms of culture, geology and diving.

French Polynesia diving  ...  in brief


Tropical paradise and underwater intrigue await you in this destination :
manta rays, eagle rays & leopard rays ... ever-present, curious & mischievous dolphins
grey reef sharks, silvertips, whitetips & blacktips ... lemon sharks, nurse sharks & silky sharks
great hammerheads & tiger sharks
schools of pelagic fish - tuna, napoleon wrasse, big-eye snappers, marbled groupers
unicornfish, surgeonfish, paddletail snappers, fusiliers, kingfish, soldierfish
drift dives in raging currents through passes between ocean & lagoon with multitudes of pelagics
humpback whales & several other species of whales - in Moorea & Rurutu, August through October

French Polynesia Destination Page Vertical Insert


A study in contrasts


Nearly everyone in the world probably has a similar picture of this tropical paradise, with its endless white-sand beaches, graceful curving palm trees, plentiful fruits and turquoise waters .... sailboats quietly dotting the sea for miles and spectacular hotels & restaurants offering serene, soothing days of relaxing repose.

Well, nearly everyone except the well-informed diver may hold this vision.   The well-informed diver sees French Polynesia as one of the most electifying, arousing & hair-raising destinations on the planet!


Pulsating passes


A unique set of circumstances, with tidal waters surging through narrow passes from ocean to lagoons ... and back again ... twice daily ... creates a drift dive environment so awesome, that words have no adequate power to describe the affair. 

And, needless to say, it isn't just drifing in and out of a lagoon which is exciting.  It's the fact that you can have schools of thousands of fish that your hurtling through ... and dozens of sharks shoulder to shoulder with you on the ride .... that makes this occurence beyond a doubt one of the finest a diver will ever know .....

If you love adventure diving, this is one ride you absolutely shouldn't miss.


French Polynesia diving ... from sweet lagoons to roaring passes

fr poly Dawns Shark Face optFakarava  ...  simply the best pass diving in the world with sharks galore
The 2nd largest atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago, Fakarava is an immense barrier reef of coral, forming a ring 37 miles long by 15 miles wide which contains a spectacular lagoon.  Due to the rich diversity of the ecosystem, Fakarava and 6 neighboring islands in the archipelago, make up a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  A one hour and 10-minute flight from Tahiti brings you to Fakarava and it's awe-inspiring diving. There are two passes in Fakarava which connect its lagoon to the ocean – in the north, Garuae Pass which is more than 1/2-mile wide & the largest in the Tuamotus; in the south is a much narrower pass, Tumakohua Pass, around 200 meters wide  ......  read more

The underwater life found in the two channels is abundant and varied - including some glorious corals.   You will encounter huge schools of sharks (large concentrations of gray sharks, but also white tips, black tips, sleepers, great hammerhead sharks, sometimes tigers ...).    You will also see barracudas, eagle rays and manta rays, napoleon wrasse, as well as dolphins and a multitude of different schools of fish: big-eye snapper, goatfish, groupers and lots of moray eels ...   At certain times of the year, you can view passing humpback whales, melon-headed whales, whale sharks, giant groupers, schools of manta mobilae ...

But there are no words to describe the rush of diving in the channels with immense numbers of these animals, as the water carries divers and wildlife alike surging in or out of the lagoon, to or from the blue waters of the ocean.  

In addition. you're in French Polynesia, perhaps the most consummate example of Paradise on the planet. Above the water-line and below, you'll find wonders of nature that have few equals.

There's no Disneyland ride to equal this !

Tahiti Manta Coming At Us Perfect shutterstock 304885253b optRangiroa  ... more absolutely spine-tingling pass diving
After arriving on the main island of Tahiti, it's less than an hour's flight to Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the Tuamotus (and one of the largest in the world). An oval reef, stretching 50 miles in length, Rangiroa encircles a serene, aquamarine lagoon brimming with life.  Almost identical to Fakarava in terms of being some of the most thrilling diving in the world.  It happens in the two large passes which allow the flow of water between ocean and lagoon.  Here you find sharks in unbelievable numbers. The species you are likely to encounter are grey reef sharks, silvertips, whitetips & blacktips .... lemon sharks & nurse sharks & tiger sharks .... silky sharks & great hammerheads  ,,,,,,  read more

You'll also encounter manta rays, leopard rays & huge schools of eagle rays, big pods of dolphins (who love diver interaction) and if you're lucky, even the stray marlin.

The exhilarating diving is done in these passes on incoming tides. You'll surge through the passes on the drift dives of your life .... fish & sharks & rays all boiling around you doing the same drift!  Spine-tingling & unforgettable.   There are lovely lagoon dives also with beautiful corals, plenty of turtles, morays and reef fish (unicornfish, surgeonfish, paddletail snappers, fusiliers, kingfish, soldierfish ....). Mix in a few critters and you have super dives.

On the ocean side, the action is generated by the schools of Napoleon wrasses, barracudas, snappers, dogfish tuna, bigeye jacks .... plus, of course, more dolphins & sharks

Tahiti Big Eye Snappers Fotolia 72205659 CopyMarquesas  ...  home to hordes of pelagics
As there are a handful of dive cruises per year in this region, so you'll find yourselves virtually alone with magnificent mantas, some measuring up to 16 feet across.  You'll also see eagle rays, scalloped hammerheads, silky sharks, grey reef sharks, white tip & black tip reef sharks .... even the occasional tiger shark.  In addition to the sharks, you find kingfish, tuna, napoleons, dolphins and swordfish.  To top it off, not far from Nuku Hiva resides a colony of several hundred Pygmy killer whales and the rarely seen melonheaded whales. At certain times of the year there are migrating whale sharks  ......  read more

Do note that the visibility is generally low due to the concentration of nutrients in the water ... but this is what brings in all of these incredible creatures.  Diving amongst the dramatic sea mounts, caves & walls ... in strong currents .... with hundreds of pelagics is a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

To complete the diving experience, you'll also find eels, sting rays, tuna, parrotfish, triggerfish, scorpionfish, butterfly fish, puffer fish, soldier fish and snappers along with eels and huge lobsters.

French Polynesia map ... zoom & click the markers for airports, boat departure points & diving

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