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Dive Review of Top Dive/Club Med in
French Polynesia/Bora Bora

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Arik Olson, NY, usa
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports)
Report Number 1950
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Monterey California, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We mostly did group dives.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Top Dive was a very professional well run organisation, located at a hotel
and restraunt of the same name in the only town on Bora Bora, Vaitape. 
They have a large staff, and several well equipped newish boats.The guides
were experienced, friendly, fluent in numerous languages including English.
The only "bad" dive was the pass because the vis was bad, though
I saw neat stuff on the edge of the wall of the pass. Several of the dives
were outstanding including Muri Muri (white Valley, outside the lagoon) and
Toopua (in the lagoon near the Sheraton Bora Nui). I was glad that I dove
with Top Dive. Their Hotel was beautiful, but mysteriously empty in high
season, one of the guides told me they get buisy in the low season when
rates and airfare are less. The dive shop was buisy with guests of other
hotels, pick up, drop off and all equipment were included in the price of
the 2 tank dive. There was a daytime TV celebrity on the dive boat with me
3 days in a row, and I didn't  notice till the last day when someone asked
him what he did for a living and it came out.. It was a laid back pleasant
atmosphere. I did not see a manta ray, and was told by one of the guides
(who is doing 3-4 dives 5 days a week), that he only sees them nowadays
once or twice a month, so don't count on it.

The Club Med was very nice actually. It was quiet, in a pretty spot a bit
away from the other hotels, there was lot's to do, and the food was good. 
The guests were diverse, many Italians, French, Japanese, a few Americans.
The staff were friendly and almost all spoke English.  We were in a
standard room and it was clean and comfortable, with a view of the lagoon,
and the mountains of Tahaa and Raiatae (9 miles away) in the distance.

Bora Bora is beautiful, but small, and there is a lot of contruction of
super luxury hotels (overwater bungalows of course) going on. People
jokingly called it Boring Boring. I saw Crown of Thorns starfish near the
pass, which suggests to mee that there is too much nitrogen in the water
(from sewage or nitrogen fertiliser). The owner of Top Dive disagreed with
me on that, though. 

French Polynesia has lovely sourvenier options, particularly black pearls
and tahitian tatoos. For tatoos there are 2 shops on Bora Bora, Fati Tatoo
and Marmara Tattoo. Marmara is the tiki hut on the water, Fati is across
the street. I think Marmara is excellent, it is a one man operation. He
used a very hygenic process, clean equipment, he used sterile needles and
threw out the used ink, etc. His artistry is amazing. He doesn't do walk
ins, by appointment only and he books up early, so if you want a tattoo
have your hotel concierge book you early on in your trip. Don't be put off
by his serious manner, he warms up and is nice,  basically is an artist who
is talented and doesn't want to put a tatoo on anyone who isn't sure they
want one. For Pearls, the whole island is littered with expensive pearl
boutiques (with big signs). I found the best prices at L'Hibiscus boutique
which is near the Club Med, though they didn't have the super high end

The only thing I would do differently is not stay in Bora Bora the whole
time. Looking out from my patio every morning at the mountains of another
island made me long to explore it. I would have liked to spend a few days
in Moorea (which a number of Tahitians told me they like best as it gets
more rain so more luch and also less pricey) as well as one of the low
islands ( atoll island without mountain such as in the Tuamoto group of

Oh, by the way, if you go fly Air Tahiti. The service was excellent,
Champagne in coach class, very comfortable, I would go again just for

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