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Dive Review of TOPdive/Kia Ora Resort in
French Polynesia/rangiroa

TOPdive/Kia Ora Resort, Dec, 2011,

by Andy Wiessner, CO, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 6519.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving palau, fiji, bahamas, hawaii, vietnam, cayman
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 28 to 28 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 80 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Because of 31% nitrox mix, you could not go below 125 feet. Would have preferred compressed air to be able to go deeper because most of famed sharks were 30-50 feet below us and hard to make out.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 5 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 [None]

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Stayed at Kia Ora Resort which was just re-opened after a huge (reported $20 million) re-modeling. EVERYTHING at the resort is first class...and food was world class too. We were there just before Christmas, so basically had the place to ourselves. Could not possibly have been nicer from staff to facilities. True luxury all the way. They have bikes to rent and we enjoyed the 20 minute ride into town.

Diving was first class too in the two passes. Saw tons of sharks, dolphins that swam right up to us and payed with us, etc. The rubber dinghy ride from the hotel to dive sites is literally less than 5 minutes, but it can be rough on some days going into the open ocean where you start the dive. Other days were calm.

My only regret is that the large masses of schooling sharks for which the passes are famed were generally 30-50 feet below us and hard to see, and the 31% nitrox mix we were diving prevented us from going deep enough to mix with them. I asked to do a dive on compressed air...willing to stay down for a shorter period...but was told the local diving rules prevented "sport" divers from going deeper. Am told maybe other dive outfits use compressed air and you can go deeper...but I cannot confirm that. Stephanie is a great divemaster and very friendly.

Overall experience was still totally awesome. I'd go back again and again. The hotel was just unbelievably nice. We got a good package rate...otherwise the resort is very expensive.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Susan Shields in TX, US at May 24, 2013 11:14 EST  
Haven't been there for 20 years. Resort was wonderful then and sounds as if it hasn't changed. The dive operator in 1992 routinely encouraged breathing dry the steel 60 tanks after filling them to 3300 psi. A friend had to do an out of air ascent from 90' due to rust in 1st stage of reg. Sounds safer now.
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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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