As a native of Nice, the sea is part of my soul. Scuba diving, or simply snorkelling, is one of my passions as swimming with the fish, staring at the corals definitely breathe life back into me.
I have been lucky enough to have some experience in the Seychelles, Mauritius, the Great Barrier Reef, but when one of my friend showed me pictures of her scuba diving in Tahiti, I got the WOW effect looking at her film! Obviously, scuba diving in French Polynesia is a way of discovering priceless treasures.
Generally speaking French Polynesia offers three types of scuba experiences: Lagoons, which are shallow and good for beginners; ocean drop-offs, which are the best to see the coral reefs, and; passes, that offer high-octane drift diving reserved for the more experienced divers.
There are 118 islands and atolls in the vast area known as French Polynesia, and 11 that have diving centres: Raiatea, Huahine, Tahiti, Tikehau, Nuku Hiva, Tubuai, Rurutu, the most famous being Moorea, Bora Bora and the Tuamotus with Rangiroa, and Manihi. With so much choice it might be difficult to decide where to go.
There are a few notable places however. Sharks and stingrays were seen in Moorea, Tahiti’s heart-shaped sister island (also the model for Bali Hai, James Michener’s mythical island in South Pacific). In Bora Bora they have found coral ledges and cliffs, along with varieties of colorful reef fish and graceful manta rays, eagle rays, schools of barracuda and the ever-present shark population. And then there’s Manihi, apparently one of the prettiest atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago, famous for its black pearls and some of the best diving in French Polynesia.
The most prized scuba diving sites are said to be the Aquarium, the saint Etienne, the Source precipices, the Gorgons of Arue and its colourful coral and the Venus headland.
If you are not convinced by the ocean depths, try surfing on the internationally famous Teahupoo giant wave just beside Papeete!
Hope to meet you there someday soon, and if you have any photos or film, please let me know to keep on dreaming!