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Dive Review of French Polynesia Master in
French Polynesia/Tuamotus

French Polynesia Master: "French Polynesia Master", Jun, 2018,

by French Polynesia Master, AZ, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 10361 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments From Fakarava to Rangiroa. This trip is mostly about sharks. LOTS of sharks. The Wall of Sharks, the Shark Pool, a Shark Carpet, etc. If you want sharks, this is the trip. There were other nice things, too, like lots of marbled groupers on Fakarava.

Our guide was good, but the number of guests on the boat requires 5 different groups (in three RHIBs), and on our trip, the optimal current windows were very short. The groups rotated in order, but because the incoming current window was so short, it was a crap shoot as to whether you were going to get a really good dive, or a "dairy dive" as the current turned. The dives on the drop-offs could be good, but they could also be blah, and they were the only options when the incoming current on the channel dives wasn't happening. No night dives.

Operational problems: the nitrox, for which there was a charge, was not reliable (and at the beginning, was like 25%. When I suggested I was not paying for nitrox less than 30%, I got a scolding from the cruise director, rather than any acknowledgement that there was a problem (though at the time to pay the bill, I was given a discount).

Groups were put together without regard to who traveled together. A wonderful group of 10 Germans who came together were distributed in 4 different groups.

We were paired with two other Americans, who were very poor divers. One of them NEVER successfully completed a 3-minute safety stop without the guide physically holding his tank valve at the correct depth. For the more difficult dives, they were requested to leave their cameras behind (which they were not happy about, but the idea was to let them concentrate on the operation of the dive- which was briefed in detail by the top guide). We requested to not dive with these people after it became apparent that it was going to be a problem, but were rebuffed multiple times. Later in the trip, our guide would "re-brief" the dives, on the dive deck, in effect "dumbing down" the dive. I objected strenuously to this, and generally we got to do the "real dive," but I had some lingering feelings that I might be putting these other divers in danger -- of course, it was really them putting themselves in danger by being on a trip that they were not qualified for. They claimed to have 400 dives, but I think they were in very mild conditions.

The food was mediocre, though no one got sick.

We did this trip, in part, because of a discount offered by MASTER after a previous trip on the Philippines Siren that also had a lot of problems. We are glad we made the trip, for the sharks of French Polynesia are indeed wonderful. But I won't be diving with MASTER or SIREN again. I would consider shore diving from resorts on Fakarava and Rangiroa, over the MASTER (although that would omit some outstanding dive opportunities on the atolls of Toau and Kauehi.

This is a very expensive trip, no matter how you do it. The results may be worth it, but the service is far below what you can expect on the best Indonesia or PNG liveaboards.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Alaska, Australia, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Galapagos, Maldives, Melanesia, Micronesia, Philippines, Polynesia, Revillagigedos
Closest Airport PPT Getting There From PPT, need to book internal flights with Tahiti Air, which is difficult.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 82-82°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50-150 Ft/ 15-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Very specific that this was not buddy diving. All members of group to stay with guide. Max depth 30m, strictly enforced (French Polynesia government requirement). No more than 3 dives per day (French Polynesia government requirement).
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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