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Dive Review of TOPdive/Big Fish Expeditions in
French Polynesia/Nuku Hiva & Rangiroa

TOPdive/Big Fish Expeditions: "French Polynesia - Nuku Hiva & Rangiroa - EPIC!", Feb, 2015,

by Gregg Backemeyer, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 8402.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was a two-part trip of a lifetime with the first week on our own and the second week a guided expedition with Andy Murch of Big Fish Expeditions. Everyone flies into Papeete on the island of Tahiti in the Society Islands. We immediately headed over to Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands archipelago and did our diving with TopDive. Shooting the passes are the rush dives and it is exhilirating to say the least. Lots of big pelagic animals and schooling fish. It's hard to explain the experience other than to say you will be mind blown. We would have loved to get over to Fakarava in the same island chain while so close but, alas, that would have taken more days and deco time.
We then flew back to Papeete and hooked up with Andy Murch of Big Fish Expeditions and the rest of the team and headed to Nuku Hiva. Then the trip really became awesome. I believe he titles the expedition the MELONHEADED WHALES OF NUKU HIVA or something like that. This expedition to Nuku Hiva with Andy Murch of can be summed up in one word - EPIC. If you are considering a trip with Andy I suggest you just go ahead and place your deposit - then you will be committed to a trip of a lifetime. Not only is Andy an experienced and safety-first leader, he is one of the nicest and most caring men I have had the pleasure of spending a week with. Iím not sure how many trips and weeks he is on the road but the obvious pleasure he still derives from the experience is infectious. Clearly he loves what he does and he does it well. I think his destinations speak for themselves.
He is hooked up with a dive operator on the island - Frenchman, of course - who has lived there for many years and knows the area like nobody else. In fact, I don't think you can pull this off without Andy and his connections. To swim (snorkel) with these unique dolphins in the mornings was an experience I will never forget. We then put on the dive gear after the swim and hit reef sites in search of Scalloped Hammerheads which we did! They are shy but we got lots of video/pics. There is so much life in these is almost unreal.
Just a note...none of this diving is for the beginner. I recommend a large SMB and I personally carry a radio. The current and swells can be the real deal. We had one diver NOT follow the plan and she was almost lost out to sea through no fault of anyone but herself. We plucked her out of the water after a 50 minute search that was quickly coming to a close. The next step would have been to contact the Coast Guard.
We then headed back to Papeete after our week on Nuku Hiva and spent another 1.5 days off gassing. I highly recommend taking the ferry over to Mo'orea and doing the ATV 3 hour tour. We used Albert Tours and they were great and we were told the best operator. We also hit a very nice public beach to swim and snorkel. You can easily grab a cab to get around the island to and from the ferry terminal. We used an old guy who was born and raised on Mo'orea who provided colorful history and information.
I only wore my LavaCore but my dive buddy, who gets cold, wore a 5mm and was fine.
If you are going to French Polynesia get ready for an awesome trip but plan in advance. Oh, don't forget to bring plenty of money.
Websites TOPdive   Big Fish Expeditions

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Revillagigedo (Socorro) Islands, Windward/Leeward Islands, ABC Islands, Mexico (numerous locations), Panama, Hawaii, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, South Florida and more
Closest Airport Papeete, Tahiti Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 75-85°F / 24-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 40-85 Ft/ 12-26 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth with Nitrox, safety equipment on each diver
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments The is French Polynesia - not your friendly neighborhood valet service stuff for spoiled divers. Nevertheless we had lots of photo gear and had no problems.
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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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