French Polyneisa, one of the best diving trip in the world
French Polynesia is often considered one of the best diving destinations in the world. Indeed, between its heavenly islands and its seabed of exceptional beauty, both in terms of flora and fauna, the island offers an idyllic setting for divers. French Polynesia is divided into 5 large archipelagos which represent 118 islands of which only 67 are inhabited by mankind. Two of these archipelagos are particularly interesting for scuba diving in French Polynesia.
Diving on the Society Islands
The Society Island is the most famous of the five archipelagos and regroups many islands. The vast majority of touristic islands such as Bora Bora, Tahiti or Moorea are located on this archipelago. In term of scuba diving, the most interesting are:
Diving on the Tuamotu Archipelago
The islands of Tuamotu are made up of eighty atolls. These atolls are inhabited by many different species and its lands remained relatively wild. The waters crossing the passes of the atolls are real aquariums, which makes the Tuamotu archipelago one of the best diving destinations in the world. For scuba diving, we will particularly focus on the following ones which have some of the best diving sites in French Polynesia.
Best diving sites in French Polynesia
Tiputa Pass , Rangiroa.
The pass of Tiputa is located in Rangiroa. The site is undoubtedly one of the best dive sites in the world. In fact, the Tiputa pass has more or less fifteen distinct diving sites such as the shark cave, canyons, walking, crossing and many more.
This pass is particularly known for its pelagic. It is very common to dive with grey sharks, huge hammerhead sharks such as M. Mokarran, Manta rays, large banks of leopard rays or eagle rays, beautiful dolphins, as well as turtles, tuna, napoleons and many others.
In addition, it is possible to observe the migration of whales, from August to October. It is an incredible show that should not be missed if you have the chance to dive in French Polynesia at this time. Finally, detail of crucial importance, the visibility is simply extraordinary and can reach up to 60 meters. This is why this scuba diving site in French Polynesia is a must do for divers.
The interest of the passe comes from the tidal current that crosses it. Most of its dive sites offer drift dives. Indeed, the atoll can be considered as a large bath that fills up and empties itself according to the tides. As a result, when the center of the atoll empties, the current is outgoing, when it is filled, the current is ingoing. The pass is therefore the place where the most powerful current is concentrated. Large shark walls often gather at the pass of Tiputa to enjoy this current.
Garuae Pass, Fakarava
The pass of Guaruae is simply extraordinary. Some consider that this dive site is more interesting than Tiputa in Rangiroa. Moreover, it is a less difficult to dive. Walls of reef sharks are fleeing in front of imposing hammerhead sharks or gray sharks. The shark density is so great that the diver even instinctively ignores barracudas, trevallies, napoleons, tunas and other fishes that would have caught his attention during a classic dive. The immense and graceful manta rays are also present. This site is clearly a must. It is better to have a level 2 or a PADI advanced to take full advantage of the diving sites of the pass of Garuae.
Tumakohua Pass, Fakarava
A true natural underwater garden, Fakavava is classified by UNESCO as a protected reserve for its biosphere. The pass of Tumakohua, also called South Pass, offers some of the most beautiful dive sites in the Pacific and is accessible to all scuba diving levels. The current is less strong than in the Tiputa pass. The concentration of shark there is impressive and if you want to dive with gray sharks or reef sharks, look no further. Only Tiputa Pass or maybe Garuae Pass offers such a great concentration of sharks.
The pass is relatively isolated and usually not very crowded with divers. Also, be aware that, given the absolutely exceptional visibility, the depth of some dive sites and the diving conditions, the spot is perfect for nitrox diving.
Avatoru Pass, Rangiroa
Dolphins, manta rays, turtles, eagle and leopard rays, barracudas, sailfish fish and many other species wander around this wonderful pass. Enormous schools of jacks are also regularly spotted in the pass. Although the Tiputa is the definitely the main star for any scuba diver coming to Rangiroa, Avatoru is definitely worth a visit. The Avatoru pass is shallower than Tiputa and its orientation is slightly different. As a result, currents are less powerful.
Tapu, Bora Bora
The Tapu dive site is probably the best diving site of Bora Bora. Located at the extreme west of the island, the place is particularly famous for shark diving in Bora Bora. Indeed, more than 10 different species of sharks were counted there and, in particular, the magnificent lemon shark. There are some more common species such as scorpion fish or moray eels. Do not expect to see beautiful corals as you do not dive into Tapu for it.
There is very few diving wreck in French Polynesia. The wreck of the Nordby is probably the most beautiful of them. Moreover, it lies at 29 meters and is, therefore, accessible to all levels of diving including the PADI open water level. Indeed, in Polynesia, the visibility is so good that level 1 allows to descend up to 28 meters instead of 18.
The Nordby is a large 3 masts boat made of metal of 50 meters long and 7 wide. In 1900, when he was returning from New Caledonia, passing through Tahiti, he sunk on a sandbank, west of Raiatea, Uturoa, because of a strong storm. The masts, the hull and the stern are still well preserved and the wreck is inhabited by many species and in particular, loaches and nudibranchs.
Catalina and Cargo ship, Tahiti
This dive wreck is exceptional for the simple and good reason that the scuba diving spot does not have one but two wrecks. The dive site is between 13 and 25 meters deep, granting therefore access to PADI Open water diver. The wreck of the boat is relatively old but the structure of old wires, large pipe and collapsed beams is inhabited by many species and recalls the skeleton of a giant lying on the side. The second wreck is a WWII aircraft that crashed in 1964. Both wrecks are inhabited by many clown fish and anemones as well as large trigger fishes.
The scuba-diving site that is relatively typical of the region but is particularly interesting thanks to the high density of nudibranchs that live on the dive spot. You will also come across Napoleons, reef sharks and large trevallies, morays and snappers.
Miri Miri and Roses, Raiatea
The beautiful site of miri miri, also called Rose hold its name from its large fields of pink monipora corals. The site is also visited by many reef sharks, turtles and Napoleons wrasse.
Tupitipiti, Bora Bora
Few divers have the chance to visit the Tupitipiti scuba diving spot. Indeed, the dive site is very south of bora bora. It is particularly interesting for its small caverns and cavities. The interest here is not underwater life although you can dive with reef sharks and sea turtles. The rocky structures of the site and the flora, especially developed with green and orange sponges and blue and red corals, represents the main interest of this exceptional site. Lovers of underwater photography will particularly appreciate it.
The aquarium, Tahiti
This site is probably the most famous dive site of Tahiti and certainly the most visited. It is not really one of the best sites of Polynesia but we wanted to make it appear in this article because it is pretty well known for scuba diving in French Polynesia and Tahiti. Moreover, the interest of this site comes especially from its three wrecks, two schooners and a Cessna that allow beginner divers to discover wreck diving.