Some decisions in life are hard to make. This one was extremely easy!
Shark diving in French Polynesia
I was back from working in Africa and already thinking of the next place where my old and punctured BCD - yes punctured - would immerse again. All I wanted was to dive with sharks, depth, sharks, strong current and more sharks. French Polynesia came instantly into my mind and diving in Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago especially. Three weeks later I was on the plane. So I found myself in French Polynesia, exhausted from an endless journey and thinking 'Mmm not very pretty!' but luckily I was looking at the ocean side of the island with dead corals instead of fine sand. The lagoon side was more like I had imagined without being picture perfect. Rangiroa is not particularly famous for its beauty and endless beaches. However, what it is famous for is its shark diving in the Tiputa Pass and I was just about to witness this with my own eyes. Too tired and jet lagged to sleep, the only way to resuscitate myself was to do what had motivated me to travel for 48 hours in the first place...diving. I was introduced to my new colleagues and off we went. Less than five minutes later we were driving through the Tiputa Pass going against the current to reach the ocean side of the island surrounded by tursiop dolphins showing off their skills. I was lucky for my first dive to be at the right time because the tide was coming in, which means that the water from the ocean was coming into the lagoon through the pass creating perfect conditions for an incredible drift dive.
Diving Tiputa Pass
We back rolled together into the water and the first thing that came to my mind was how clear it was and how huge that manta was too! Less than a minute in and already a manta! This was just the beginning… I had seen and been diving with dolphins before but the ones in Rangiroa were very different. There was a real interaction with them and during the entire dive they would follow you and sometimes face you with their fins in a position inviting you to scratch their belly. Just incredible! A few mantas later, we reached the spot where the sharks were and you can't miss it because at around 60m, a group of 100 to 200 grey sharks were swimming in circles with a good dozen of them coming up to my level. Now drifting faster and faster as the pass is getting shallower, it was time to look for the great hammerheads and their 4 to 5m long bodies patrolling at ease in a current none of us were able to swim against. At the right time of year - January/ February - when the stingrays are in great numbers, it is not unusual to see dozens of hammerheads hunting in the pass: a shark lovers paradise. Unfortunately that dive had to end! It is incredible how a 50 minute dive can make you forget a 48 hour journey. Divers are ready to travel far and wide to get to dive with mantas, sharks, dolphins or whale sharks, but diving Tiputa Pass means you get to see them all, in just one dive.
Have you been to Rangiroa and dived the Tiputa Pass? Post a comment if so and let us know what you thought. And if you want to find out more, please contact us.