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Palau vs Rangiroa/Fakarava vs Komodo vs ??


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#1 qwimjim

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 03:39 AM

Hi everyone, I'm planning my first big dive trip with my wife and having trouble deciding, unfortunately with kids on the horizon this will likely be it for a long while. We've been to Zanzibar, Hawaii and Cozumel. Anywhere we go will likely blow us away but I'd still like to get the best possible experience for this trip. We're looking at Palau, Rangiroa/Fakarava, Komodo and I guess also Fiji and Maldives. If you've been to any of these places please feel free to give us your opinion on which was best and why.

 

We'd ideally like to do land based. We're not really interested in macro/critters/muck, we're more interested in the wide angle.. colourful coral, big schools of fish, big stuff like sharks/manta's/etc, interesting topography.. we want to be wow'ed :) Here's what I have gathered from reading threads, could be inaccurate:

 

Palau: Lots of current, lots of sharks, TONS of divers. Bit of a gong show underwater? Stay in Koror, not especially charming town, lots of budget hotels but $$$ to stay somewhere with a beach like PRR or PPR. 

 

Rangiroa/Fakarava: Lots of current, TONS of sharks, not many divers. Can stay in affordable pensions on a quiet beautiful? beach, charming location. Seems the diving is similar style to Palau but looking at youtube videos, the Rangiroa/Fakarava videos are much more impressive? Walls of sharks, incredibly visibility, etc..?

 

Komodo: Lots of current, not many sharks but gets rave reviews from everyone, is top of everyone's list along with Raja Ampat so it must be great? More variety than Palau/FP? Cheapest of the 3 options, would cost us 6K for week of diving (inc. airfare, food, accommodation) vs 8K for Palau or FP. 

 

Then there's the deep blue liveaboards: Galapogos, Cocos, Socorros.. but we're not ready for that. I've seen Maldives mentioned a lot but that seems to require a liveaboard for the best results since it's so spread out. And Fiji gets mentioned a lot but also gets a lot of mixed reviews. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Edited by qwimjim, 06 May 2015 - 03:40 AM.


#2 Kevster

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 04:28 AM

Definitely recommend Fakarava/Rangiroa.

 

I am just back from a 2 week trip and it was the best land base diving i have done. 

So many sharks, i saw a Tiger shark, great hammerhead, several silver tips, marlin, manta and hundreds and hundreds of reef sharks.

 

Palau is good and offers more variety. i.e caverns, wrecks , jellyfish lake, mantas , but its not as sharky. However topside is beautiful and has interesting war history. However Palau is very busy these days. Seems like the Chinese are starting to visit and a lot of the hotels were book solid when i tried to visit this year.

 

Maldives was ok. I did not see many sharks , rays but its a nice place.

 

Komodo is amazing for macro and general fishlife/reefs, however not sharky.

 

Fakarava is very nice topside,S Pacific paradise.


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#3 qwimjim

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 05:15 AM

Definitely recommend Fakarava/Rangiroa.

 

I am just back from a 2 week trip and it was the best land base diving i have done. 

So many sharks, i saw a Tiger shark, great hammerhead, several silver tips, marlin, manta and hundreds and hundreds of reef sharks.

 

Palau is good and offers more variety. i.e caverns, wrecks , jellyfish lake, mantas , but its not as sharky. However topside is beautiful and has interesting war history. However Palau is very busy these days. Seems like the Chinese are starting to visit and a lot of the hotels were book solid when i tried to visit this year.

 

Maldives was ok. I did not see many sharks , rays but its a nice place.

 

Komodo is amazing for macro and general fishlife/reefs, however not sharky.

 

Fakarava is very nice topside,S Pacific paradise.

 

Rangiroa not quite as nice topside? Just curious, if Rangi/Fakarava is the best land based diving you've done, what's the best liveaboard diving you've done?



#4 MikeVeitch

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 07:05 AM

As someone who has spent at least 2 years working in each of those locations the one I am most drawn to visit again is Fakarava (and Toau if they can take you there for a day trip) 

Best time for French Poly is Nov-April, try to do full or new moon in Dec/Jan/Feb for the schooling eagle rays in Rangi which can bring in the hammers. 
 

However, as you will be diving with a CMAS organization, they are very strict on your dive experience, when inquiring tell them what your qualifications are and ask about depth limits, because they will limit you.


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#5 qwimjim

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 05:52 AM

As someone who has spent at least 2 years working in each of those locations the one I am most drawn to visit again is Fakarava (and Toau if they can take you there for a day trip) 

Best time for French Poly is Nov-April, try to do full or new moon in Dec/Jan/Feb for the schooling eagle rays in Rangi which can bring in the hammers. 
 

However, as you will be diving with a CMAS organization, they are very strict on your dive experience, when inquiring tell them what your qualifications are and ask about depth limits, because they will limit you.

 

Is the flying the pass dive the only 30m+ deep dive that you would need Rescue cert for? I'm just wondering if our AOW certification will mean we'll miss out on a lot?



#6 MikeVeitch

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 07:30 AM

Tiputa pass in Rangi is the only real deep one yes (But it can be done diving only to 30m) the corner and reef dives are not deep.  If you go to Fakarava the sites aren't as deep, the south pass is shallow and the north pass can easily be done with 30m max. If I was to choose between Rangi and Fakarava I would choose Fakarava though, spend a few days in the north as well as a few days in the south.  Rangiroa is also good, but Fakarava is better..

 

I would suggest contacting a few of the outfits there to ask about depth limits for your certs before you decide


Join us for an Underwater Photography Workshop in the Lembeh Strait at NAD Lembeh with Doug Sloss in 2018
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#7 wobby

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 03:34 PM

If you want land based and big animals I would recommended Lady Elliot Island, at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Lovely resort and great diving with turtles, reef sharks, schooling fish, stingrays, eagle rays, leopard sharks, wobbegongs, tawny nurse sharks, sea snakes and one of the best spots for manta rays in the world. This is a link to a gallery of images on my website - http://www.nigelmars...iot-island.html

 

 

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