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

June, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Elizabeth Crapo, ca, usa
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 5017
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
75   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
2 stars   
3 stars    
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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