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Dive Review of Top Dive/Club Med in
French Polynesia/Bora Bora

Top Dive/Club Med, Aug, 2005,

by Arik Olson, NY, usa (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports). Report 1950.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Top Dive was a very professional well run organisation, located at a hotel and restraunt of the same name in the only town on Bora Bora, Vaitape. They have a large staff, and several well equipped newish boats.The guides were experienced, friendly, fluent in numerous languages including English. The only "bad" dive was the pass because the vis was bad, though I saw neat stuff on the edge of the wall of the pass. Several of the dives were outstanding including Muri Muri (white Valley, outside the lagoon) and Toopua (in the lagoon near the Sheraton Bora Nui). I was glad that I dove with Top Dive. Their Hotel was beautiful, but mysteriously empty in high season, one of the guides told me they get buisy in the low season when rates and airfare are less. The dive shop was buisy with guests of other hotels, pick up, drop off and all equipment were included in the price of the 2 tank dive. There was a daytime TV celebrity on the dive boat with me 3 days in a row, and I didn't notice till the last day when someone asked him what he did for a living and it came out.. It was a laid back pleasant atmosphere. I did not see a manta ray, and was told by one of the guides (who is doing 3-4 dives 5 days a week), that he only sees them nowadays once or twice a month, so don't count on it.

The Club Med was very nice actually. It was quiet, in a pretty spot a bit away from the other hotels, there was lot's to do, and the food was good. The guests were diverse, many Italians, French, Japanese, a few Americans. The staff were friendly and almost all spoke English. We were in a standard room and it was clean and comfortable, with a view of the lagoon, and the mountains of Tahaa and Raiatae (9 miles away) in the distance.

Bora Bora is beautiful, but small, and there is a lot of contruction of super luxury hotels (overwater bungalows of course) going on. People jokingly called it Boring Boring. I saw Crown of Thorns starfish near the pass, which suggests to mee that there is too much nitrogen in the water (from sewage or nitrogen fertiliser). The owner of Top Dive disagreed with me on that, though.

French Polynesia has lovely sourvenier options, particularly black pearls and tahitian tatoos. For tatoos there are 2 shops on Bora Bora, Fati Tatoo and Marmara Tattoo. Marmara is the tiki hut on the water, Fati is across the street. I think Marmara is excellent, it is a one man operation. He used a very hygenic process, clean equipment, he used sterile needles and threw out the used ink, etc. His artistry is amazing. He doesn't do walk ins, by appointment only and he books up early, so if you want a tattoo have your hotel concierge book you early on in your trip. Don't be put off by his serious manner, he warms up and is nice, basically is an artist who is talented and doesn't want to put a tatoo on anyone who isn't sure they want one. For Pearls, the whole island is littered with expensive pearl boutiques (with big signs). I found the best prices at L'Hibiscus boutique which is near the Club Med, though they didn't have the super high end stuff.

The only thing I would do differently is not stay in Bora Bora the whole time. Looking out from my patio every morning at the mountains of another island made me long to explore it. I would have liked to spend a few days in Moorea (which a number of Tahitians told me they like best as it gets more rain so more luch and also less pricey) as well as one of the low islands ( atoll island without mountain such as in the Tuamoto group of islands).

Oh, by the way, if you go fly Air Tahiti. The service was excellent, Champagne in coach class, very comfortable, I would go again just for that.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Monterey California, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-120 Ft/ 6-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We mostly did group dives.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 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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