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Diving Fakarava Tahiti French Polynesia

Fakarava photography underwater dive sites recommendations

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#1 seawolf737

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:42 PM

We are going diving in  and Fakarava later this year and are looking for any suggestions for good diving sites or operators who will enhance the underwater photography opportunities.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.  I know the areas around Tahiti and Moorea, but am not familiar with Fakrava.

 

Thanks Mike

 



#2 bloups

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:38 AM

Hi Mike

I have dived 4 times in Fakarava, definetely one of the best dive spot in Polynesia.

I would recommend TopDive, they have a nice boat and usually good divemasters

There are basically two dive spot, the North and the South chanel, with different variation depending on the tides.

Make sure you get at least one day at the South chanel... Lots of sharks (got >70 reef sharks on one shot). The south trip are on request so make sure you ask in advance... the trip is long, it cost more but it really worth it!!!

Disscuss you need for photos with the divemaster they are usually helpfull, make sure you are in front and just wait for the sharks to come, lots of grey reef sharks, whitetips in both channels, blackfin (C. limbatus)  the south, silvertips (C albimarginatus) in the north, eagle ray in the south, manta in the north... Last time we had also dolphins checking us and couple of sailfish!

Have you book an hotel? I would recomend Relais Marmara, simple and basic but clean and very nice location... the owner is very friendly

Enjoy your trip!

Galice



#3 mcliffy2

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:17 AM

Fakarava is hands down my favorite diving so far (over Palau, Sipadan, Philippines, and various Caribbean destinations).

 

I would not recommend Top Dive.  Shorter dives, larger dive groups.  Our friends who dove with them also reported some sketchy experiences (beginners being put on nitrox without cert and allowed to go deeper than they should, etc.).

 

I recommend staying part of the time in the north, and also a few days in the south.  South pass is the best diving and while the dive centres in the north will take you there it is an hour and a half to two-hour boat ride each way, and the best diving is definitely in south pass (the north is also spectacular, however).

 

In the north pass, I highly recommend diving with Serge & Karen at Fakarava Diving Centre(http://www.fakarava-...m/eng/atoll.htm). Make sure you book with them well in advance though, as they only take 4 divers each day (the web site says they will take 6, but in reality, this is an exception as they normally don't; we had 2-4 on all our dives).  They are a Swiss couple that sailed the world on a sailboat that Serge built, diving just about everywhere, and finally settled on Fakarava as the spot to stay and open their shop.  They are wonderful people with great stories of their travels, and run a professional and safe dive operation.  Karen drives the boat, and Serge leads the dives (he has over 5000 dives in Fakarava, so you could say he knows the area).  

 

I also recommend spending a few days at Tetamanu village in South Pass...it is literally on the pass and your dives end by walking onto the beach at the resort.   A word of warning that the owner's wife is a bit bipolar -- while exceedingly nice to guests, she would often flip out on staff...our (excellent) dive guide has fired and re-hired at least twice in our three days there.  However, the diving makes it more than worth it.

 

Here is a short video from my diving in Fakarava, if interested:

 



Also, in the north, we stayed at Haiviki Pearl Resort and really liked it.  I'd recommend asking for one of the new bungalows near the garden in back instead of one of the older ones on the beach (although when we were there, new bungalows were being built on the beach, and those might be best if complete).


Edited by mcliffy2, 19 July 2013 - 10:19 AM.


#4 seawolf737

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 07:52 AM

Thank you both for the replies and really enjoyed watching the video.  I guess I better brush up on my video skills before heading out there.  I usually shoot stills but the shark encounters look great on video also.  I'm shooting a D800 in Seacam housing so I can easily switch back and forth.   I also see that we need to schedule our diving activities in advance of arriving.  I think at least two days should be spent diving the south pass from your feedback.



#5 DavidG

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 07:09 AM

I was there last year and I dove with Fakarava Dive Center. This company is run by a swiss couple and they don't take more than six divers.

I don't know much about Top Dive Fakarava but I didn't have very good experience with the same company in Bora Bora. This is the biggest dive company in French Polynesia and I think sometime they care more about running more trips during the day than giving freedom to their divers.

Fakarava has some incredible dives, specially the south pass but the north pass is amazing too. During my fist dive on the north pass we had a sailfish during the safety stop.

You can see some images on my blog.

http://worldofoceans...ench-polynesia/

Regards

David


Subal ND20, Nikon D200 and lots of water to photograph.

http://www.worldofoceans.com

#6 seawolf737

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 07:21 AM

Thanks David. I will contact Fakarava Dive Center today and see if I can reserve a few dive days with them.  Do they include all diving equipment like most of the Tahiti Scuba Dive Centers.  I heard Air Tahiti can be hard core about transporting dive bags on their flights.

 

I can't believe you saw a Sailfish.  We see them all the time fishing here in Key Largo but never while diving.  I've tried to jump in front of the bait showers when they are around with the camera but they never come by.  I keep eyes up and out while diving there.  



#7 DavidG

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:21 AM

When I dove with them they included all the dive equipment but they didn't include dive computers.

Yes, Air Tahity are very extrict with the weight limit with carryons. Mine was over the weight limit and they didin't let me take it inside the plane with me.

I told them it was photography equipment so the told me to take it with me and once I was near the plane I gave it to a staff member that put it in a different compartment.

The sailfish was incredible. Fakara has some incredible dive sites.

If you dive with Fakarava Dive Center, be sure to let tem know that you want to go to the South Pass. They need a minimum of people to go there. Is a long boat ride from the noth shore to get there.


Subal ND20, Nikon D200 and lots of water to photograph.

http://www.worldofoceans.com





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