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Dive Review of Top Dive/Pensions in
French Polynesia/Rangiroa & Fakarava

Top Dive/Pensions, Dec, 2006,

by scott johnson, ca, usa (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports). Report 3132.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Palau, costa rica, hawaii, truk, christmas island, australia, cozumel, east timor and a few more
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions your ability
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Tahiti-Rangiroa-Fakarava Trip report 12-25-06 to 1-06-07

Wowwhere do I beginFirst off the waters were a chilly 83 to 85 degrees. Rangiroa and Fakarava are Atolls which are big oblong-ring shaped islands that have passes where the currents pass through when the tides change. The currents can be up to 10 knots or more. I had dives that I went more than two miles in just a few minutes. It was a world class express train. I dove with Top Dive in both locations, very good operation. Although the correct way to dive there would be a liveaboard.unfortunately the Aggressor pulled out of the Tuamotus and moved south in Tahiti.to more mild diving.

Rangiroa-Top Dive filled the tanks with a great mixture of 36% Nitroxdiving is done from Zodiacs as you are 5-10 minutes from the dive sites. I found out why the nice Nitrox mix.this is deep current diving you can do 3 times a day! I did the famous Tiputa pass where you ride with the Great Hammerheads, Squadrons of Eagle Rays etc. Well unfortunately they were not always swimming thru when I did!! Before you enter the pass you are swimming in the blue you look down upon a generally white sandy bottom..you see nothing except schools of Sharks, Eagle rays, Barracudas of every size etc..etc..the only problem you are 100 feet they are about 150 feet or more! I did about 10 dives in the pass. The Tiputa pass can become a bit redundant if nothing is flying through. On a few of the dives Pascal (instructor) would take a few of the more advanced divers and we would enter the pass at about 95 feet there would be little valleys we would duck into to get away from the current and see Grey Sharks, Trigger fish etc fly by. On one dive at the beginning I am about 60 feet going down looking for my buddies.I found 4 of themThey were Dolphins in my faceI mean within an arms reach! They swam all around us for about 5 minutesWOW. The other dive location was the Avatoru Pass. This was not as deep of a dive about 70 feet..Here is where a school of Silver Tips hangs out..one of them had to be about a 9 foot-fat sharkI had to duck to avoid hitting his belly. I did catch a glimpse of a Great Hammerhead about 30 feet awaylooked as big as a WhaleShark. This is World Class Diving!

Fakarava- No Nitrox here and went into Deco a couple of times, you generally only do 2 dives a day. They said this is one of the best spots in the world to Dive...It is. I dove only the Northern pass. The Southern pass is reported to be better but I was the only person on the dive boat and the South pass is about 2 hours away and you need at least 4 divers. This has to be the Hard Coral capitol of the world. Grey reef Sharks, Wrasses, small and large Tropical fish everywhere.It is one of the biggest aquariums I have ever been in. On one dive the current had to be about at least 5 knots we clawed our way up and down a ridge..when I looked out and up there must have been something like 75 baby Grey Reef Sharks swimming in the current. One dive that had to be my favorite dive I have ever done called the Passe Nord Garuae. We started out swimming against a strong current up to a ridge looked out and there must have been 50 sharks in the current. We than swam down to a valley that was about 60 feet deep by at least 100 to 150 yards long. The bottom was a mixture of white sand with what I call popcorn coral.small beige, light purple and blue colors were at the bottom. There were schools after schools of Trevallys, Solderfish, Gobys, Moorish Idols, Seapearch etc etcall Motionless..parting the way as we swam thru them. You would look above.patrolling Grey sharks and at 5 big Napoleon Wrasses floating amongst the schools of fish..Never seen anything like this dive!

Overall this was some of the best diving I have ever Done! I have a new rating system by category. For Action number 1 is the Tuamotus in Tahiti. For small and weird creatures number 1 is East Timor. For overall and diversity number 1 is Palau.
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