Sharks and Humpbacks, Dive the Best of French Polynesia!

Overall Rating

8.1

Marine Life
Professionalism
Sustainability
Value
9.0/10
8.0/10
6.5/10
9.0/10
VeroniqueAngot
FR
Véronique A verified review
Open Water Diver
300+ dives
7.8/10
almost 2 years ago

Show Original (Français)

Immerse yourself to the sound of whales singing, not very shy sharks (and friendly, the most dangerous animal remaining man) and in the end the protective gaze of a giant of the seas. Humility! And Gratitude Madame Nature. All in a grandiose site, and the warm and gentle welcome of the Polynesians. Thank you Isabelle, and to all of you who welcomed me. The only downside: by dint of repeated dives in the same place, the sites are damaged and the coral suffers. Why not immerse geuzes or other alternative solutions to observe without damaging?

MeredithCalvert
US
Meredith C verified review
Master Scuba Diver
300+ dives
8.5/10
almost 2 years ago

Amazing diving in Rangiroa!! This is a large and well-run operation catering to all levels of diver. The boats are small, but the dive sites are so close it doesn’t matter. Guides are very good and professional. There were some minor organizational mix-ups as to how many dives and with whom, but everything got taken care of. The prevalence of sharks and dolphins and diversity of other marine life is incredible!! Currents can be very strong in the pass so stay close to your guide and pay attention! As in other FP dive sites, holding onto the coral in strong current is a common practice and one it would be good to see phased out. Overall, a great dive operation in a truly spectacular dive location. We’ll be back!!

Why we love it

Rangiroa and Fakarava are a diver's paradise - Jacques Cousteau declared Rangiroa as one of the most beautiful waters on Earth. This atoll is the biggest of French Polynesia and its Tiputa Pass is home to hundreds of sharks including grey reef sharks, silky sharks, lemon sharks, white tips, black tips and in season, the great hammerheads! Fakarava atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is teeming with marine life: healthy corals, hundreds of sharks, schooling fish, dolphins, and manta rays are commonly seen. In Moorea, humpback whales come every year between end of July and October to give birth. Snorkelling with them is an unforgettable experience! Combining Rangiroa, Fakarava and Moorea is the best way to discover French Polynesia most exciting dive and snorkelling sites.

Conservation

In Rangiroa, the dive center is part of Longitude 181 that promotes responsible scuba diving and they routinely run ocean cleanup sessions. In Fakarava, the dive center has been built entirely in wood and uses rain water. They ask their clients to only use reef-safe sunscreen. They promote local employment. In Moorea, discover humpback whales with a renown scientist.

Who is it for?

Experienced divers who like big, offshore pelagic wildlife. Strong currents in the Passes, drift dives are common. Non-diving partners are welcome: with hundreds of picturesque beachy islands (known locally as "Motu") there is a lot to explore in the area. Excursions to Rangiroa Blue Lagoon and Fakarava Pink Sand Beach make splendid day trips. On Rangiroa main island, don't miss Gauguin's Pearl Farm and the bottlenose dolphins jumping at Tiputa Pass at the end of the afternoon! There are plenty of activities for non-divers in Moorea: snorkelling, trekking, stand-up paddle or kayaking to name a few.

Prices and Dates
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  • In Rangiroa:
    • 4 nights in an Beach Bungalow facing the turquoise lagoon. Price per person on a double accommodation shared basis
    • half board (breakfast and dinner)
    • Rangiroa Airport transfer the days of arrival and departure
  • In Fakarava:
    • 5 nights in a Beach Bungalow facing the lagoon. Price per person on a double accommodation shared basis
    • Fakarava Airport transfer the days of arrival and departure
  • In Moorea:
    • 2 nights in a Beach Bungalow offering a splendid view of the turquoise lagoon. Price per person on a double accommodation shared basis
    • half board (breakfast and dinner)
    • return ferry ticket between Tahiti and Moorea
  • 20 dives in total and one snorkelling excursion:
    • in Rangiroa: 9 dives in Tiputa and Avatoru
    • in Fakarava : 9 dives in the North Pass and 2 dives in the South pass on a day trip including lunch
    • Full diving equipment, except dive computer
    • In Moorea: one excursion to see humpback whales, guided by a scientist
    • Pick-up and drop off at the hotel the days of diving and snorkelling

  • Any flights, transfers, accommodation, food & beverage or other elements that are not mentioned in the above section

Dive briefing!

Marine Life

  • Rangiroa is home to some of the greatest dive sites in the world:
    • thanks to the large congregations of sharks and other pelagic marine life, it's not unusual to see 200+ sharks on a single dive! Grey reef, white tips, oceanic whitetips, silvertips, lemon sharks, great hammerheads, you have it all!
    • and also barracudas, manta rays in season, spotted eagle rays, napoleon, small sharks in the lagoon, turtles, anthias, groupers, triggerfish, multicolored butterfly and angel fish, lobsters...
    • interesting topography with the canyons and the shark's cavern
  • Fakarava North and South Pass host an incredible marine life:
    • huge coral heads, schools of fish by the thousands, “walls” of sharks (grey reef sharks, black & white tip sharks, silky sharks, hammerheads), dolphins, manta rays, humpback whales in season, barracudas, tunas, napoleon fish, groupers, butterfly, angel, surgeon fish... some good macro life too
    • every year, during the full moon of June or July, Fakarava is home of a big marble groupers spawning event that attracts hundreds of sharks
  • In Moorea, humpback whales migrate to Moorea to give birth between end of July and end of October:
    • discover these magnificent creatures in a day trip with a renown scientist. You may even be able to do snorkel with them: get ready for an experience of a lifetime!

Dive Conditions

  • Season: diving all year long. High tourist season from June to September. July to September: manta rays. December to March: great hammerheads. June & July full moon: groupers spawning event in Fakarava. End of July to end of October: humpback whales season in Moorea.
  • Currents: strong and changing - some dive sites are not suitable for beginners or anyone that doesn’t feel comfortable in currents.
  • Visibility: 30 meters (98 ft)
  • Water Temperature: 26° to 29°C (79° to 84°F)
  • Depth: deep and shallow dives

Dive Sites

  • Dives in the Passes are drift dives, with canyons. They require good buoyancy skills and currents experience
  • Inside the lagoon dive sites have less current, they are usually more shallow with beautiful coral gardens
  • You can dive in Rangiroa two main Passes: Tiputa and Avatoru. Tiputa has the most dive sites: the Sharks cavern, the Canyons, the Run, the Crossing, the Windmill, the Blue, the Half-windmill, the Angle
  • In Fakarava, Garuae Pass in the north is where most dives are - the Pass is 1,6km wide. Tumakohua Pass in the south is 60km away
  • Up to three boat dives per day

The Team

  • Operation created in 1995 in Rangiroa and in 2016 in Fakarava
  • Number of boats: 3 in Rangiroa and 2 in Fakarava
  • Courses up to Guide, ask us
  • Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, German in Rangiroa. French and English in Fakarava
  • Maximum divers per group: 5

Safety Information

  • Equipment Recommended: a Surface Marker Buoy and a Nautilus Lifeline if you have one, as currents can be strong. A 5 mm wetsuit between July and October, and a 3 mm wetsuit the other months of the year
  • Insurance: both dive insurance and travel insurance are mandatory. We recommend DAN Europe that has plans to cover both - ask us for a quote
  • Nearest Hyperbaric Chamber: Tahiti, 340 km away from the atoll
Visas, Flights & more!

Visa Requirements

How to get there

  • From USA: United Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines and Air France fly to Papeete (PPT).
  • From Australia: Air Tahiti Nui thanks to interline agreements with Qantas, Air New Zealand and Emirates.
  • From New Zealand: Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui.
  • From France: Air France and Emirates have shortest flight time to Papeete.
  • Once in Papeete, French Polynesia, fly with Air Tahiti to go to Fakarava. If you want to visit more islands, you can purchase the Air Tahiti Multi-island Pass, it is really worth it!

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  • Bring reef-safe sunscreen, a hat, rash guard, and insect repellent
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