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Dive Review of Hemisphere Sub/Hawaiki Nui in
French Polynesia/Raiatea

Hemisphere Sub/Hawaiki Nui, Jun, 2009,

by Elizabeth Crapo, ca, usa (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 5017.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 75 to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The dive shop has two locations, one at the Hawaiki Nui hotel and the other on the other side of Uturoa, the main town. The Hawaiki Nui is home to a wreck dive, the SS Nordby, a sailing ship that sank in a storm in the early 1900s, now an easy swim from the hotel dock. Another excellent dive is a pass about a 5 minute boat ride away. The coral was rather drab, but there were nice tropical fish, a manta ray and some eagle rays. There were at least a dozen blacktip reef sharks. Unfortunately, like many dive operations in French Polynesia, these guys feed the sharks -- the dive guide carried a bag of fish and threw a chunk out at regular intervals. Luckily the sharks were not aggressive in spite of the food in the water. In fact, there was an instance where a couple of these sharks were mobbed by a school of jacks (apparently they rub up against the sharks' rough skin to dislodge parasites from their own bodies). Still, they didn't behave like truly wild sharks. The staff was helpful and the boat spacious, but no camera table or anything like that. Raiatea is not someplace you would go just for the diving, but definitely do a few dives if you come here. The Hawaiki Nui was expensive for what you get, typical in French Polynesia. But, it's comfortable, the staff is great, and the food was good. They decorate your room with flowers the day you check in. Other activities worth considering are a motu picnic/lagoon cruise, a visit to the neighboring island of Taha'a, and taking a drive around the island (highly recommended, to check out the mountains and rural villages). There is a very important marae (ancient temple) on the southern end of the island. There were very few tourists while I was there, a double-edged sword. There were no crowds, but on the other hand, booking tours can be difficult as many require a 4-person minimum. In a gesture of diver-friendliness rare in the airline industry these days, Air Tahiti (the inter-island carrier, not international) allows divers an extra 5 kg of baggage over their regular allowance for dive gear -- show them your c-card when you check in, and check their website for further details.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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