is the best time of the year for diving?
You can dive in French Polynesia all year around. However, you'll have
the best diving conditions between the month of April and November.
are the best islands for diving?
The atolls (Tuamotu) offer the most exciting dives, with Rangiroa as
the star of this region. There is also excellent diving in Bora Bora,
Moorea, Huahine and Tahiti.
are the local diving conditions?
Local visibility often reaches 130 feet. Average temperature in
the ocean is 79 F (26º C) in the winter season and 84 F (29º
C) during summer. With only a half degree difference, there is no notable
temperature variation between the surface and 166 feet (50 m). A light
wetsuit, 1/8 inch (3mm), or even a lycra suit is largely sufficient
for thermal protection all year round.
types of areas can I dive?
Three different types of environments exist whether in the volcanic
islands or in the atolls:
- the lagoon : nature's swimming pool, generally shallow with very clear
water makes it an ideal place for "Discover Scuba Lessons"
or for gaining more proficiency in scuba techniques.
- the oceanic drop off; is the part of the reef that is the most alive
with all variety of corals and colorful fish including the larger predators.
- the passes, natural openings in the barrier reef that connect the
lagoon with the ocean, are always areas of large fish concentrations
and the cruising zone of big manta rays and sharks. This is due to the
abundance of nutrient that are flowing when the tide changes. This strong
tide current also restricts the diving to the even tide times.
deep will the dives be?
Most of the diving takes place between 60 feet (18 m) and 80 feet (24
m). For very experienced divers Tahiti and her islands offer deeper
dives as well, between 100 and 140 feet (30 to 42 m) on ledges and on
wall dives that drop off to infinity. Some diving centers organize such
deep dives that are truly spectacular, but these are only suitable for
much diving experience do I need?
Diving centers follow strict safety regulations, but since most of the
diving in French Polynesia is rather easy in favorable conditions, even
newly certified divers will have no trouble finding good diving spots.
For divers who wish additional training, most centers offer continuing
diver education and deliver full certifications C.M.A.S, KF.E.S.S.M.,
P.A.D.I and BSAC certification.
certification is required ?
In addition to your certification card, it may be helpful to also furnish
your log book where recent dives are entered.
I get certified in the islands?
Yes, you can take a crash course, but you need to stay there at least
7 days. The best thing to do is start your course in your home town
up to the point prior to the required open ocean dives which you can
do in the islands. Most dive operators are also PADI instructors and
will be able to complete your certification.
I need to bring my own equipment?
You could consider bringing your own diving equipment if you are going
to do many dives. However, it is not necessary for a few dives, since
most of the diving centers rent excellent equipment and include it in
their rates. Scuba tanks are furnished with BC vests and regulator with
tank pressure gauge and depth meter. Rental equipment is subject to
periodic checkups and is very reliable.
I need a dive buddy?
No, on every dive, you'll be accompanied by an experienced dive guide
who is also an instructor. The guide knows the different local conditions
and specific dive areas quite well and will greatly contribute to a
very safe and enjoyable dive holiday. This service is included at no
are the major types of fish encountered?
There are numerous species of marine life in these waters, from small
butterfly fish with dazzling colors in coral gardens, to bigger fish
such as napoleons (lump head wrasses), manta rays, reef sharks, tunas,
large schools of jacks, snappers and barracudas. French Polynesia is
among the few places in the world where all these fish can still be
approached easily. Do not forget your underwater camera!
safe is diving on the barrier reef?
Local conditions include shallow water, warm temperatures, great visibility,
absence of currents - except in the passes - and all this contributes
to making French Polynesia one of the safest diving locations in the
world. However, contact with certain marine life should be avoided,
but this will be covered in pre-dive briefings.
In French Polynesia sharks are not aggressive as they are in other parts
of the world. While diving, it is safe to get close to them for pictures
and observation. However, no one should spear fish in their vicinity.
I do have an accident how will I receive help ?
French Polynesia is composed of a multitude of islands and the territory
possesses one of the best sea search-and-rescue programs in the world.
In case of an accident in the outer islands, there is an evacuation
procedure, either by plane or helicopter, available anytime day or night.
Tahiti has an ultra modern decompression chamber along with a team of
doctors highly trained in hyperbaric medicine.
my travel insurance cover me while diving?
Most typical travel insurances exclude scuba diving from their coverage.
You should inquire with your travel agent and include a special clause
in your insurance contract prior to departure. It is also possible to
contract for an additional insurance at the diving center of your choice,
valid for your entire stay that covers any type of accident.
about snorkeling and spear fishing?
The lagoons and reef plateaus are ideal areas for snorkeling, with crystal
clear, warm water teaming with colorful fish. If you are contemplating
doing any spearfishing, be
aware that the law in French Polynesia prohibits anyone from spear fishing
or collecting flora or fauna while wearing scuba tanks.
The reef is a wonderful universe, but is also one of the most complex
and fragile ecosystems on earth, providing food and shelter for countless
species of fish and animals. Coral grows only about 10 to 25 mm a year
and it can take 7,000 to 10,000 years for a coral reef to form. Coral
can be very easily broken by standing on it, grabbing it or carelessly
dropping anchor, and it may be years before the coral can regenerate
itself, which sometimes does not happen, thus causing a decline of the
you would like a souvenir, content yourself with what you can find on
the beach, which is safer since some of the live shells can sting you
with a deadly poison, which would definitely ruin your vacation.
come, and jump into in some of the Earth's best and most dramatic dive
locations, but look and don't touch!