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Dive Review of TOPdive/Kia Ora Resort in
French Polynesia/rangiroa

December, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Andy Wiessner, CO, US
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 6519
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
palau, fiji, bahamas, hawaii, vietnam, cayman
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy, currents  
Water Temp
28   to 28    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Because of 31% nitrox mix, you could not go below 125 feet. Would have
preferred compressed air to be able to go deeper because most of famed
sharks were 30-50 feet below us and hard to make out.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
  5 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):
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
5 stars    
Stayed at Kia Ora Resort which was just re-opened after a huge (reported
$20 million) re-modeling. EVERYTHING at the resort is first class...and
food was world class too. We were there just before Christmas, so basically
had the place to ourselves. Could not possibly have been nicer from staff
to facilities. True luxury all the way. They have bikes to rent and we
enjoyed the 20 minute ride into town. 

Diving was first class too in the two passes. Saw tons of sharks, dolphins
that swam right up to us and payed with us, etc. The rubber dinghy ride
from the hotel to dive sites is literally less than 5 minutes, but it can
be rough on some days going into the open ocean where you start the dive.
Other days were calm.

My only regret is that the large masses of schooling sharks for which the
passes are famed were generally 30-50 feet below us and hard to see, and
the 31% nitrox mix we were diving prevented us from going deep enough to
mix with them. I asked to do a dive on compressed air...willing to stay
down for a shorter period...but was told the local diving rules prevented
"sport" divers from going deeper. Am told maybe other dive
outfits use compressed air and you can go deeper...but I cannot confirm
that. Stephanie is a great divemaster and very friendly. 

Overall experience was still totally awesome.  I'd go back again and again.
The hotel was just unbelievably nice. We got a good package
rate...otherwise the resort is very expensive. 
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Subscriber's Comments

By honusms at May 24, 2013 11:14 EST  
Haven't been there for 20 years.  Resort was wonderful then and sounds as
if it hasn't changed.  The dive operator in 1992 routinely encouraged
breathing dry the steel 60 tanks after filling them to 3300 psi.  A friend
had to do an out of air ascent from 90' due to rust in 1st stage of reg. 
Sounds safer now.
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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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