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

December, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by scott johnson, ca, usa
Sr. Contributor   (20 reports)
Report Number 3132
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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

rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents  
Water Temp
83   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
your ability  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
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 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 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
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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