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Dive Review of Top Dive in
French Polynesia/Rangiroa

Top Dive, Sep, 2009,

by Molly Rosenberger, Ohio, United States ( 2 reports). Report 5125.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Palau, Galapagos, Raja Ampat/Indonesia, Isla de Guadelupe, Belize, Bonaire, Dominica, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan/Honduras
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 81 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 90 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions there were depth restrictions.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Top Dive did not have a seperate rinse tank for cameras

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We did 8 dives in Rangiroa with Top Dive. We had heard that there are hundreds of sharks and an awesome dive through the 2 passes they have there. There are lot's of sharks but they are down at about 120 feet, which we could not go to. The currents just scream there and there great fun if you ride them but that's not always the case for the dive profile. The usual dive profile is that you back roll in off a zodiac get down close to the reef, which is beautiful before you go through the pass, you focus mostly out in the blue looking for dolphins. When we would get close to the corner of the pass we would swim out into the blue before being swept through and really look hard for the dolphins. The pass is faster at certain times of the day. We preferred the 8am for the current and chance of seeing large animals. There was also a 10am and a 2:30pm dive they had scheduled. The dive shop is nice.(make note there is no seperate rinse tanks for cameras) The people that work there are knowledgable and polite. We dove mostly with Jean Franc, once with Stephanie and once with Katy. I would recommend that you get your name scheduled in for the times that you will want to dive for the week. We had been told on our last day to dive that we could not do the 8am dive because they had too many people. I think the cruise ship was in port and people had come in for the morning dive. So beware of that. The biggest highlights of our diving in Rangiroa were seeing a 14 foot hammerhead, a few mantas, sharks below, silver tips, some dolphins and riding and fighting the most wicked current (6 knots+) Along the reef we saw some good sized schools of fish. Especially the chevron barracuda. There were lot's of puffer fish too. The majority of the sharks there are gray reef.The 2 passes you can dive there are Tiputa and Avotura. We only dove Avotura once and it was outside of the lagoon, where we got up close to some silver tips.The dive shop never dives the passes when they are going out to open ocean, only when it's coming into the lagoon, for safety reasons. We stayed at hotel kia ora which was very nice. Just a short walk down the beach to the dive shop (but they do pickup). We bought black pearls at the Gauguin pearl shop, which does a whole demonstration on how they harvest them (they are a pearl farm). When coming to Rangiroa I would make sure to pack some dive gloves and bring a good book. I wouldn't rate it as our best diving ever but they have the potential of having superb dives. All the animals are there, you just have to keep your eyes open and put in your time underwater. For us it seemed like everything would happen at once. The most memorable dive we were on was where we were on the top of the reef at about 50 feet, the current was changing(which happens a lot) We were all holding on and a manta goes by then less then a minute and then the 14ft hammerhead comes in and right above all this is a dolphin. Then we let go and drifted into the pass. It was great. The price of our dives were 90$ per person per dive, nitrox included. The American dollar is weak right now and everything is quite expensive. Restaraunts to recommend is Le Kai kai and Avomario's. The hotel's food is decent though. If you like raw tuna take advantage of it anywhere in FP. It's awesome. Especially at Le Kai kai. Avomario's is known for pizza. Rangiroa is beautiful topside. The best sunset we saw in all FP. If you are coming here for sharks like we did just know there aren't very many close encounters. Overall it was a good experience.
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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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