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Dive Review of TOPdive/Club Bali Hai in
French Polynesia/Moorea

TOPdive/Club Bali Hai, Jun, 2007,

by Dennis Lewis, ca, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 3463.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We did not plan on diving with TOPdive. Rather, I read prior reviews in Undercurrent and other publications and settled on Scuba Piti because of small groups and, importantly, they do not feed the fish.

We arrived at our hotel, Club Bali Hai on a Sunday. The front desk handed me a note and said that Scuba Piti had called to say that their boat was out of the water and that there would be no diving that week – our week on Moorea. That was it. No offer of help in booking another company or anything. We have been on trips before where something happened and the boat had to come in for repairs. It is bound to happen from time to time. The difference is that with other companies the boat we were on found space for us with another shop and offered to set everything up. That seems like a good business practice. Luckily for us, the manager of Bali Hai heard my “you have got to be kidding,” took the initiative, called TOPdive and set things up for us including having the shop pick us up the next day.

Putting aside the issue of fish feeding for a moment, I cannot say enough about our time with TOPdive. Dive groups ranged from four plus a DM to a top of six plus a DM. The DM’s were multi-lingual and very energetic. Helpful since on any dive you would hear English, French, German, Portuguese or Italian.

After the first dive, our DM was Nicolas Buray. He has the wonderful ability to keep track of everyone, yet stay back enough so that we all got to do the dive we wanted. If we wanted to see something specific, he would lead us to it. If not, we were free to explore. This is not to say that he just dumped us in the water. He was always near by. If you looked around, he would be there. Maybe just above the reef keeping an eye on us. Maybe watching that shark to make sure that none of us were on its dinner menu. Close, but not hindering. After the first day we were free to dive our computer limits as we saw fit.

Now, feeding the fish - I don’t like the idea of it. It clearly changes how the fish interact with us, especially the sharks. I won’t lie and say that I did not like that each dive site teamed with fish and sharks – reef and lemon – and that they seemed comfortable with us. The turtles would come right up to us. Some divers would give them food pellets by hand. I don’t know what it would have been like had there not been a big bag of fish scraps in the water. The fish life seemed plentiful and healthy even some distance from the feeding area, but how much of that is spill over from the feeding? I hear that the locals have been feeding sharks and rays for 40 years. Perhaps it is too late to stop without a major impact to the populations.

Club Bali Hai is a time share resort. It is one of the older resorts on the island and the rooms show the years. However, the staff is friendly and very helpful. The rooms are clean and the air conditioning works well. Being on Cook’s Bay it is sheltered a bit from the hot sun. The larger resorts all face the open ocean and get the hot sun all day. Nice pool and a small beach. The over water duplexes have a separate bedroom and a kitchen with a coffee maker. The on-site restaurant served breakfast and lunch, only. Great dinners are a short walk away - Les Nouveaux Mondes (the owner, Roger, is a crack up) and Te Honu Iti are highly recommended. The many mobile lunch trucks (actually a van or hut that serves food) are popular with the locals and serve wonderful, fresh and cheap lunch and dinners.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Roatan, Cayman, Palau, Yap, Hawaii, California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy, noCurrents
Water Temp 77-80°F / 25-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth of 90 and 60 minutes, but we usually went longer.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Shop makes a video of one dive per day. No water bucket for cameras.
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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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