South Pacific


Mention Tahiti and images of beautiful Polynesian women, white sand beaches and pristine blue water lagoons come to mind. Tahiti is an often miss used name that is applied to what is rightly called French Polynesia. Tahiti is just one of the 118 islands of French Polynesia and according to many not the best island of them. The 118 islands are a part of five archipelagos that cover an area greater than Western Europe. 12 of the islands have world class dive centers.


When planning a trip pay close attention to the area you want to go to, they can be very far apart. Visibility is generally around 130 feet. Water temperatures vary from a seasonal average of 79°F (26°C) to 84°F (29°C). An interesting point about the combination of these two, the difference between surface temperature and at 150 feet is one half of a degree. Diving in French Polynesia happens at three types of dive sites: lagoon, pass, and ocean. Each has its own merits.


The lagoons are mostly calm waters with plentiful marine life 30 to 100 feet on average. A pass is an opening in a reef containing the Lagoon. At tide changes currents rush in or out of these openings. The ocean sites are outside of the lagoon and represent deep depths. Rangiroa is an excellent example. This atoll is about 80 kilometers the lagoon that is formed behind it has numerous dive sites such as the Aquarium offer divers of all ability levels an excellent dive in 30 feet of water. The Lagoon has two openings that the current enters and leaves. Tiputa Pass also called the Valley or Hammerhead Plateau is one of the pass and runs 40 to 150 feet deep. At the out going tide the current here can exceed 6 knots. Riding the current out will find an average of 200 sharks waiting for dinner, when they exit the lagoon.


Fiji is often called the “Soft Coral Capital of the World”, nutrient rich, crystal clear , warm water is just what these soft corals need and the Fiji Islands has them.


Fiji is a collection of 322 islands, 522 inlets (small islands) and 4,000 square miles coral reefs. With such a large number of reefs and islands the number of possible dive sites is almost unlimited.


Water temperatures are seasonal that can reach 86°f in April but drop to 75°f in October. Divers going deep will feel a greater change in temperatures. Fiji is also known for its shark dives. Many dive operator offer shark dives most diving with bull sharks. While there are a great number of places to dive one of note is Namena Barrier Reef Marine Park. It hosts, over the course of a year, 17 different species of whales, four species of sea turtles, 1,000 species of invertebrates, 400 types of coral and 1100 types of fish.


How good is the diving here? Scuba diving first family, the Cousteau's, own a resort near there