The volcanic peak of Mount Otemanu is surrounded by a
shark-filled turquoise lagoon, which in turn is surrounded by a
string of coral motus (little islands); together they form Bora
Bora. The lagoon and its most famous dive site, Tapu, are renowned
for their impressive number of black-tipped reef sharks, large
lemon sharks and curious mantas. But if you're looking to
experience the best coral diving in French Polynesia, you should
also aim for a trip out to Tupitipiti Point.
Located off the south-west point of Bora Bora, Tupitipiti Point
features a series of caverns and caves, with patches of pristine
purple corals and vibrantly coloured sponges adorning the
entrances. There's usually a few large sharks patrolling the reefs
and if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you
may even spot a humpback whale at the surface.
The abundance of healthy reef-building hard corals in Tikehau
Atoll's lagoon support a rich ecosystem. So much so that legendary
oceanographer Jacques Cousteau declared the lagoon to be richer in
fish life than any other lagoon in the world. Sitting at the
western end of the dolphin-shaped Tuamotu Archipelago, Tikehau
Atoll's solitary pass - Tuheiva Pass - is the centre for much of
the atoll's diving.
There are a cluster of sites around the pass, which are home to
schools of jacks, barracudas, big-eyed mullets and tuna, while
turtles and French Polynesia's ubiquitous sharks are never too far
away. If you're lucky, you may even spot a hammerhead or tiger
shark. When roaming around the healthy coral heads inside the
lagoon after a fast drift through the pass, there's a chance you'll
also encounter manta rays in search of a cleaner wrasse.
Located to the east of Tikehau in the Tuamotu Archipelago,
Rangiroa is one of the largest atolls in the world, with an immense
lagoon that's 50 miles long and 12 miles wide. Rangiroa means
'endless heaven', and the almost-endless circle of coral that
surrounds it should be on the bucket list of those seeking out the
best coral diving in French Polynesia.
The bulk of Rangiroa's dive sites surround the passes that break
the coral circle, including Tiputa Pass and Avatoru Pass, and the
endless visibility and interesting currents result in great
hammerhead and dolphin sightings. The currents bring nutrients with
them, which feed the corals and fish life; for those looking to
focus on the corals, the shallower Avatoru Pass tends to have
milder currents that will allow you to stop and admire the pristine
polyps more easily.
While drift diving alongside sharks may be more the order of
the day than coral diving in French Polynesia, you can enjoy the
best of both worlds. Our team of dedicated dive travel specialists
can help you pinpoint the best coral diving in French Polynesia and
devise your dream South Pacific sojourn...