While Tahiti and Moorea are everyone's dream of the South Pacific, the diving is a notch below many other destinations. French speaking island with pricey resorts and food. . . . the diving highlight is a rocket ride in an eight knot current through a sharks filled pass off Rangiroa. . . .
Cook Islands, Rarotonga
Cook Island Divers, March 1997, Amy Christey, Aptos, CA. "Two weeks. Beautiful weather until heavy rains last four days. Excellent snorkeling on resort beach. Tons of tropicals, eels, octopus, lion fish, puffers. Cook Island Divers use Zodiacs. Staff friendly and accommodating. 80 ft. dive with beautiful tropicals that I fed from my hand and let me touch. (Parrot, butterfly, unicorn fish). vis: 80-90 ft. water: 80-82 degrees. German and English speaking divemasters. Cook Islands are amazing. Good bargain for the money, much cheaper than Tahiti."
Cook Island Divers/Edgewater Resort, May 1997, Lou-Ann Steur, Fort Lee, NJ. "Hotel clean and reasonable but had to endure running toilet and dripping shower all week. Beautiful island (like Hawaii 50 years ago) but burning garbage left pall of smoke over all. .Beautiful beaches on southeast side of the island. Diving mediocre, saw several lion fish, a few eagle rays and several sharks. Small tropicals plentiful. vis: 60-100 ft. water: 78-80 degrees. Little regard for the reef. Cook Island Divers use two patched up Zodiacs and had to spend the week lugging tanks! Use a coffee can filled with concrete as an anchor which was just thrown down on the reef. New divemaster couldn't find the boat and dragged his gauges over the reef!"
Cook Island Divers/Edgewater, August 1997, Steven Goldstein, Sacramento, CA. "Water 78 degrees, strict group diving. Island wonderful for a vacation but a bust for a serious diver. Reefs are mostly dead and are abused by locals. Edgewater Resort has pretty meager accommodations. Several local restaurants are great. Particularly the Flame True. Cook Island Divers are very pleasant, friendly guys but they don't have much to work with in terms of underwater scenery. Go for the beaches, hiking, food and friendly people leave your dive gear at home."
Bathy's Club, May 1997, David Kulka, Burbank, CA. "The "beginners dive" that Bathy's Club does daily at 10:30 a.m. is where squadrons of eagle rays are sometimes seen. They have a "stingray city" dive that is much like Cayman. vis: 70120 ft. water: 84 degrees. Time and depth the dive restrictions enforced. . . . Expensive diving $50 one dive, five for $225. Good: Quality French food all around the island.
Club Med, July 1996, K. Caryn Spear, New York, NY. "Accommodations very nice for a Club Med (as long as you pay extra for a water view!). Dive program very organized. I recognized head of the program Jerome from Club Med in Cancun last year. This diving much better run. . . . Vis 85 feet, water 75 degrees and I wore a shortie wetsuit and lycra. . . . Dives were wonderful. Never saw divers play with such large Moray eels. They were all over, or seemed that way! Saw large rays, turtles and occasional sharks. One day fish were sooo beautiful and plentiful and friendly that I stayed weightless to enjoy the very friendly closeup colorful sea life. I was in the middle of a school of beautiful yellow and blue fish. They would look right into my mask and were very friendly. About 20 seconds later, the fish were nibbling at my body and a slightly larger fish started to nip at my hands. At that moment I must have screamed with regulator in my mouth because the divemaster took me by the hand. When we were out of the water, Jerome said, "you can't stay still in the water here because the fish thought you could be food! They were checking you out." I liked these sort of bold, friendly sea inhabitants. Didn't see much on the night dive, but the instructor took us all over and really made the effort."
Scubapiti/Moorea Beach Club, April 1996, Jeff Robertson, Roseville, CA. "No place for beginners unless you don't dive and then it's beautiful topside. Resort on the beach right next to dive facility operated by Marc Quattrini and his girlfriend Stephanie. Very nice and knowledgeable folks. Marc is just getting this operation up and going. Diving from a small boat, no more than 6 divers; steel 80s. Every dive saw schools of reef sharks. One very large lemon shark. Lots of fish and critters. Strong currents and changing visibility kept it interesting. vis: 3050 ft. water: 82 degrees. Naui facility hesitant to let Padi divers dive own profiles. Remember this is French Polynesia, so if you don't speak a little French, learn before going."
Bora Diving Center, July 1996, K. Caryn Spear, New York, NY. "I stayed at Club Med Bora Bora. The accommodations were nicer than any Club Med I had stayed at before. Private balcony, refrigerator in room and room service. They arranged all the diving. Bora Diving Center would pick us up in an open vehicle. This was fabulous. Although the instructors knew little or no English, it didn't matter We went on a small boat that held 7 divers and 2 instructors. The divemaster assembled and checked all of our gear. We put it on and where we were sitting one by one, we rolled backwards. The water plankton season had about 80 feet visibility and a temperature of about 75 degrees. I also saw many many Moray eels hiding and popping their heads out of their crevices. (It gave me the feeling of riding in the Fun House as a kid). Sharks, giant rays, the largest I had ever seen and lots of beautiful sea life. The divemasters were wonderful and brought us to great sites. After diving the boat would return everyone to their respective resort."
Bora Diving Center/Club Med Bora Bora, July 1997, R. Padgett, D. Little, San Francisco, CA. "The most un-Club Med like of the Club Meds. Quiet resort in an idyllic setting, with large, modern, well-equipped rooms. (Food not the greatest, everyone ate out at least once, but dining is limited on the island. "Bloody Mary's" is a favorite.) Great location for a honeymoon, not so great for more active types. Snorkeling, Hobie cats, tennis courts, canoes, archery and large, well placed hammocks. Can rent a 3-wheeler "Fun Car", but not much to do on the island. Well-managed resort. . . . Diving is outside Club Med with Bora Diving Center. Michel and Anne are a delightful French couple who try hard to please, however strong surges resulted in diving the same spot 3 of 4 days. Lemon sharks, black-tips, remoras, huge napoleons and aggressive morays. (Michel claims no problem with the sharks, but watch out for the morays).vis: 60-90 ft. water: 78-82 degrees. Restrictions: dive in groups. All inclusive (gear, shorties, transportation to and from resort). $65/dive or $300 for a package of 5 dives. If you bring your own gear weigh it before you leave home or expect a hassle from Air Tahiti."
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