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Dive Review of TOPdive/White Sands in
French Polynesia/Fakarava

TOPdive/White Sands, Jul, 2011,

by Gary, AB, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 6170.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 5 Dives in Fakarava, French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) from July 30th to August 1st, 2011. There are really only two main dive areas on Fakarava - the North Pass and the Southern. The Southern is always rated higher (North is great though as you will see below. Whether you stay at the Southern Pass in somewhat questionable accomodations which are only accessible by boat or stay in the North near the airport, you can dive the opposite pass. This is however highly dependant on weather conditions and the tide tables (I heard the outgoing current from the Lagoon is not a great dive) and the boat ride takes at least 90 minutes. We never made it too the South (very expensive for a 2 tank dive (appox $280 USD)) due to the incomming currrent not arriving until mid-afternoon which made a 2nd dive not possible.
We stayed at The White Sands Hotel and found it very nice with accomodations facing an incredibly large and colorful lagoon - pay the marginal extra price for a premium beach front unit as the views are gorgeous - especially at sunset. There is also another little cozy looking place about 1 mile North of White Sands.
We dove with Top Dives on Fakarava and had a very good experience with them. I have to say there were two dive masters that were the worst coral touchers I have ever dove with. They would tell us on the surface to grab or hold onto dead coral when the current was strong and we were watching the shark parade but someone really needs to teach them the difference between live coral and dead coral. I was sharing air with one divemaster (I've always been an air pig) and he was getting mad at me since I was not holding onto the live coral like he was.
The Grey Reef and Black Tip action here is out of this world and we found the sharks more abundant than Rangiroa. Add in some very pretty corals (hopefully some of the divemasters won't kill them off anytime soon), some big Napoleons, and a few Morrays, and you get world class diving.Highly recommended.
Note there is very strong current here but the divemasters definitely know the area and tide schedules. However, if you are nervous in strong current, then just do the slack tide dives. We did one slack tide dive where the current switched over (dead calm for a little while) and had the best dive of our trip on Fakarava.
Websites TOPdive   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Carribbean, Cocos Island, Micronesia, Sipidan, Thailand, Maldives, Indonesia, Vancouver
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 76-78°F / 24-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-130 Ft/ 18-40 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 120 ft
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
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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