French Polynesia Itineraries:
Tuamotu Archipelago (10 nights)
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French Polynesia conjures up images of white sandy beaches and picture perfect lagoons. With majestic islands rising out of the water landscape, French Polynesia is a treasure trove to explore both above land and under the water.
The varied topography and plethora of marine sites ensure that diving in French Polynesia stands out as a truly spectacular destination.
French Polynesia encompasses 118 islands, with a number of diving hot spots. The warm waters and sheltered lagoons have combined to create an ideal environment for the varied marine life that calls these waters home. Common sightings include colorful fish, manta rays, moray eels, sea turtles and sharks.
The Tuamoto Archipelago of Fakarava Island are a true diving paradise. Enjoy drift diving through the passes that support a flourishing marine environment, where white tip and black tip sharks are frequently spotted. For lucky individuals, diving with humpback whales is possible during the humpback whale season from July to October.
Your scuba diving holiday in French Polynesia will leave you with unforgettable memories and breathtaking experiences. It is undoutedly one of the top diving destinations around the world and one where divers of all levels can jump in and enjoy the fantastic underwater marine environment.
We can welcome everyone, but we recommend being qualified as PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent and have a minimum of 30 logged dives. The scuba diving regulation system in French Polynesia is particularly severe. The rules governing this field of activity are of prime importance and flouting them may result in heavy consequences. Therefore, depth limits given by the Cruise Director must be followed. Each destination has different diving conditions based on the season and time of the trip.
Whilst most of our trips are suitable for each and every level of experience, there may be some dives offered that are not suitable for beginners. Your cruise director will be able to advise you whilst on board, however if you have additional questions please contact your expert blue o two travel consultant.
**PLEASE NOTE** The itinerary below is an example of the planned route and dive sites cannot be guaranteed. All dives sites are subject to weather conditions and the final route taken is at the absolute discretion of the captain and dive guides.
The diving day aboard the French Polynesia Master has a typical schedule as
- Light Breakfast followed by a briefing and dive 1
- Full Breakfast, relaxation period, briefing and dive 2
- Lunch, relaxation period, briefing and dive 3
- Snack relaxation period, briefing and dive 4, where possible
The following is a description of the dive sites we may visit during your liveaboard safari as the M/V French Polynesia Master cruises between Rangiroa and Fakarava. We have included the highlights; however the yacht may also stop at numerous smaller islands along the way including Arutua, Kankura and Niau. On a typical 7-night itinerary we will offer between 18-20 dives.
Tiputa Pass - Dropping in at the outer edge divers can hook into the reef wall
and watch the amazing shark display. Hammerheads, tiger shark and huge schools of grey reef shark are the main draw. Drift on the incoming tide through The Canyons, where schools of big eyes hang out and mantas can be seen hanging in the cross current. End the dive at Shark Cave where white tips typically come to rest. Other common fish species are grouper and Napoleon
Tiputa Reef -- On the ocean side of the pass the reef plateaus out at 20m into a
magnificent coral garden. Schools of barracuda, turtles, white tip sharks, small wrasse and many colourful reef fish species can be seen. Mantas put in an occasional appearance, bottle nose dolphins too.
Deep Blue -- Or simply ‘‘The Blue’’ is the deep water on the ocean side of Tiputa
Pass. Here we drop divers directly from the boat to descend to 20m and hang in the blue as the sharks are tempted up to the shallower depths by dropping stones. Expect to see grey reef, silky and silver tip sharks as well as bottlenose dolphins.
Nuhi Nuhi -- A shallow coral garden where angel fish, butterfly fish, anthias and
all manner of small creatures can be spotted. Look out for leaf fish.
Mypristis -- The coral reef acts as a nursery for grey reef sharks in season.
Typically divers can see large numbers of marbled grouper and many anemones with resident clown fish.
Avaturo Pass -- Strong currents are to be expected but bring forth a wide range
of pelagic species from reef sharks to tuna and the occasional sailfish.
Tehere Pass -- The strong currents through the pass mean divers can literally
hang like a flag in the breeze! Reef hooks are essential if you want to stay and enjoy the hundreds of grey reef sharks hunting on fusiliers. Tuna, dolphins and swordfish can also be seen. The seabed and wall is more rubble than coral reef so simply drift in the current and enjoy the large pelagics.
Pakaka Pass -- A more gentle drift than the Tehere Pass brings you through a
pristine coral garden with table and staghorn corals. Silver tip and black tip reef sharks are seen darting in about the shallow corals, whilst numerous eagle rays are frequently sighted.
Otugi Pass -- The 400m wide channel is best dived on an incoming tide for the
schools of grey reef sharks and silvertips.
Teahuroa -- The outer reef wall is where huge schools of snapper congregate.
Reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, surgeon fish and big eyes join them, whilst manta ray sightings are possible too.
Garaue Pass -- The northernmost channel of Fakarava Island and arguably the
best site in the region for consistent shark sightings. The pass itself is 1600m wide and should only be dived at slack water due to the very strong currents. Starting at the outer wall we encounter the huge ‘‘wall of sharks’’ where hundreds of greys congregate. Black tip, white tip, hammerhead, tiger, silky and oceanic white tip are amongst the other species seen. Napoleon wrasse, surgeon fish and the typical schools of big eyes and yellow snapper swarm over the reefs, joined by turtles, morays and lionfish. In June and July, large numbers of grouper
aggregate to spawn, a truly spectacular sight. Manta rays also visit.
Maiuru -- A submerged plateau on the outer edge of the pass, levels out at 18m
into a lovely hard coral garden. At the ‘drop off’ you can encounter shark activity, whilst over the reef paddletail snapper and barracuda form large schools. Manta rays and eagle rays come by for cleaning and a quick meal and there are plenty of smaller creatures including nudibranchs and crabs to spot amongst the corals and sponges.
Ohutu -- The second plateau starts at 12m and drops to 30m with vibrant corals
this is a superb place to watch manta rays.
Restaurant Pier -- This shallow site is perfect for an afternoon dive where schools
of snapper, black tip reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse are common with a stunning atmosphere for photography.
Tumakohua -- The southern pass of Fakarava is just as dramatic as the north,
though only 200m across, it can be dived with both incoming and outgoing tides. Big schools of grey reef sharks can be seen in the deeper water whilst along the shallower reef black tips dart about. Manta rays and leopard whiprays are also frequently seen.
In 1987 Jacques-Yves Cousteau dubbed Tikehau as ‘‘the richest atoll on the face of the earth’’, and it is easy to understand why with schools of sharks, manta rays and lovely corals.
Tuheiava Pass -- A channel dive providing predictable encounters with grey reef
and white tip reef sharks, schooling snappers in huge numbers and dolphins. Turtles and solitary barracudas are also seen.
The Shark Hole -- Diving down a vertical break in the reef brings you through
schooling sharks onto even bigger schools of snapper. The archway at 50m is adorned with anemones. The Old Pearl Farm -- is THE place for watching mantas as they come to the reef for cleaning.
Outer Wall -- The sloping outer wall of Kauehi Island is encrusted with huge hard coral formations and sponges. Butterfly fish, surgeon fish, banner fish and snappers all form large schools over the reef. Puffer fish, morays, tuna, barracuda, wrasse and lionfish are a common sight, whilst mantas, grey reef shark, eagle rays and the occasional hammerhead make up the larger visitors. Great for spotting leaf fish and nudibranchs.
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