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Dive Review of Yaka Plongee, Dive Spirit/Raira Lagon, Havaiki in
French Polynesia/Rangiroa, Fakarava

Yaka Plongee, Dive Spirit/Raira Lagon, Havaiki, Mar, 2013,

by M. B., VA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 7316.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Buy your plane ticket 9 months in advance - mine went up 500 bucks 6 months in advance and I am told this is pretty standard. Don't need to pay more than $900 from LA to Tahiti unless you wait.

And topside, spend some time on Tahiti - it is wonderful. Rent a car and drive around it. Stay on Tahiti Iti for a couple of nights. I hear the dive operation on Nuku Hiva has closed, so at the moment there is no way to go there and snorkel with the dolphins. But I still wish I had planned on staying longer than the 17 days I did stay, to go to the Marquesas.

Yaka Plongee's website is www.yakaplongeerangiroa.com; dive spirit is www.divespirit.com. the form would not allow me to put these 2 websites in the box.

Raira Lagon on Rangiroa was fabulous, but if you want somewhere it is never hot because the wind is always blowing, stay at Relais de Josephine. At least eat once at their restaurant on the pass and watch the dolphins breach every evening at sunset. Havaiki was lovely but overpriced - they are one of the few places to stay on Fakarava so they have the ability to charge whatever they want. And Fakarava is HOT - even if you normally don't want A/C, like I never do, you might want it here. Also, Havaiki's regular bungalows only have one window, and though it faces the lagoon you can't really see out from the bed as it is a small and high window - those bungalows are pretty small. If you have the money, trade up if you like to see out easily. The food at both places was so good I gained weight on this trip where normally I would lose.

The diving was wonderful, and the divemasters the best, especially Mathias and Arianne from Dive Spirit on Fakarava. Lots of sharks and even though Manta season was over I still got to see one. I was so glad I was diving with Yaka Plongee and Dive Spirit rather than the large companies on both islands. I could not have asked for more attentive divemasters or more safety conscious divemasters, and small groups instead of crowds. And though I am a newbie (only 90 dives) they were very kind and helpful. Most operators seem to do 2 dives a day in the morning; surface intervals are spent on land and afternoons are for chilling, or maybe one extra afternoon dive depending on weather, tide, and current direction. Boat rides are short. Except if you stay in the north of Fakarava and go to dive the south pass, which I heartily recommend you do not miss if weather permits.

I have only snorkeled in Fiji and the Galapagos before, so this was my first Pacific diving, but from all that snorkeling I did have an idea, and I think the coral health and fish and critter life was as healthy and abundant as anything you would see in the best of the Pacific.

Just be aware, for anyone who wants to stay in a Sheraton and for everyone to speak English - this is French Polynesia and most people speak French. They will be very nice to you if you try though. But dive briefings are in French, and then English, and most people discussing the dives afterwards are doing it in French. If you don't speak French well, you had best be comfortable having a nice cup of tea and lying in a hammock looking out at the ocean afterward, and not feeling bad because you can't participate in the post dive convo. And these are tiny islands, with thankfully local hotels and guesthouses - there is not a horrifying American resort in sight. Rangiroa and Fakarava are not Bora Bora. So if you want the Sheraton, go elsewhere. Like Bora Bora.
Websites Raira Lagon, Havaiki

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Utila, Tobago, Saba, BVI, Mexico, Fla Keys, Central Florida, Turks and Caicos,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 78-83°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 150-150 Ft/ 46-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions stay with group and divemaster
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Boats are zodiacs. Still, plenty of care taken, just no on boat facilities.
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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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