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August 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bora Bora and Tikehau, French Polynesia

... not for your scuba bucket list

from the August, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Four Seasons, Bora BoraRangiroa and Fakarava, which I wrote about last issue, are considered the twin pinnacles of French Polynesian diving, but I wondered if Tikehau, a lessvisited Tuamotu atoll island, might deliver the same excitement. And how about the legendary Bora Bora? Arguably the most beautiful islands in French Polynesia, a Four Seasons beach-front villa could set you back $19,000 per night, not including breakfast. I decided to find out -- about the diving, that is, not the Four Seasons.

An hour's flight from Papeete, Bora Bora's airport is on one of the motu -- atoll reef islets -- that encircle the main pictureperfect mountainous island, with a spectacular extinct volcano at its center and a short ferry ride from Vaitape, the main settlement. After meeting us at the wharf, our host for four nights, Marc-Andre, stopped at a store to help us select supplies before heading four miles north of Vaitape, to Bungalove, where he offers two units in a luxuriant garden on the lagoon by his home. The larger bungalow came with a queen and single bed; no air-conditioning, but fans kept us comfortable.

The following morning, we were driven to Top Dive's shop north of Vaitape, which runs a covered fast aluminum boat with a well-designed ladder. Most customers were given a 10l or 12l steel tank with Nitrox 32, regardless of their certification or whether they knew about Nitrox (probably a good idea if they remained with the guides!). My negatively buoyant partner asked for an aluminum 80 tank (which are only filled with air)....

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