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Dive Review of TOPdive/Club Bali Hai in
French Polynesia/Moorea

June, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Dennis Lewis, ca, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports)
Report Number 3463
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Roatan, Cayman, Palau, Yap, Hawaii, California
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
77   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth of 90 and 60 minutes, but we usually went longer.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Shop makes a video of one dive per day. No water bucket for cameras. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
We did not plan on diving with TOPdive. Rather, I read prior reviews in
Undercurrent and other publications and settled on Scuba Piti because of
small groups and, importantly, they do not feed the fish.

We arrived at our hotel, Club Bali Hai on a Sunday. The front desk handed
me a note and said that Scuba Piti had called to say that their boat was
out of the water and that there would be no diving that week  our week on
Moorea. That was it. No offer of help in booking another company or
anything. We have been on trips before where something happened and the
boat had to come in for repairs. It is bound to happen from time to time.
The difference is that with other companies the boat we were on found space
for us with another shop and offered to set everything up. That seems like
a good business practice. Luckily for us, the manager of Bali Hai heard my
you have got to be kidding, took the initiative, called TOPdive and set
things up for us including having the shop pick us up the next day. 

Putting aside the issue of fish feeding for a moment, I cannot say enough
about our time with TOPdive. Dive groups ranged from four plus a DM to a
top of six plus a DM. The DMs were multi-lingual and very energetic.
Helpful since on any dive you would hear English, French, German,
Portuguese or Italian. 

After the first dive, our DM was Nicolas Buray. He has the wonderful
ability to keep track of everyone, yet stay back enough so that we all got
to do the dive we wanted. If we wanted to see something specific, he would
lead us to it. If not, we were free to explore. This is not to say that he
just dumped us in the water. He was always near by. If you looked around,
he would be there. Maybe just above the reef keeping an eye on us. Maybe
watching that shark to make sure that none of us were on its dinner menu.
Close, but not hindering. After the first day we were free to dive our
computer limits as we saw fit. 

Now, feeding the fish - I dont like the idea of it. It clearly changes how
the fish interact with us, especially the sharks. I wont lie and say that
I did not like that each dive site teamed with fish and sharks  reef and
lemon  and that they seemed comfortable with us. The turtles would come
right up to us. Some divers would give them food pellets by hand. I dont
know what it would have been like had there not been a big bag of fish
scraps in the water. The fish life seemed plentiful and healthy even some
distance from the feeding area, but how much of that is spill over from the
feeding? I hear that the locals have been feeding sharks and rays for 40
years. Perhaps it is too late to stop without a major impact to the

Club Bali Hai is a time share resort. It is one of the older resorts on the
island and the rooms show the years. However, the staff is friendly and
very helpful. The rooms are clean and the air conditioning works well.
Being on Cooks Bay it is sheltered a bit from the hot sun. The larger
resorts all face the open ocean and get the hot sun all day. Nice pool and
a small beach. The over water duplexes have a separate bedroom and a
kitchen with a coffee maker. The on-site restaurant served breakfast and
lunch, only. Great dinners are a short walk away - Les Nouveaux Mondes (the
owner, Roger, is a crack up) and Te Honu Iti are highly recommended. The
many mobile lunch trucks (actually a van or hut that serves food) are
popular with the locals and serve wonderful, fresh and cheap lunch and
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Diving Guide to French Polynesia
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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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