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Dive Review of Top Dive in
French Polynesia/Rangiroa

September, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Molly Rosenberger, Ohio, United States (2 reports)
Report Number 5125
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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

choppy, currents  
Water Temp
81   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
90   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
 there were depth restrictions.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
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  
Top Dive did not have a seperate rinse tank for cameras
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
1 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
2 stars   
3 stars    
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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