Deep Water Diving in French Polynesia

Travelling from London to Papeete may seem like a quite the trek. However, it’s worth the epic journey as French Polynesia boasts some of the world’s best shark diving. As you cross the International Date Line en route, you’ll also ‘travel back in time’, gaining an extra day in paradise – a bit of a re-verse-trek, if you will. While reaching the widely scattered French Polynesian islands can be quite the expedition, settling into your overwater bungalow with a cocktail in hand, watching sharks and turtles cruise in the turquoise lagoon below, is a sure-fire remedy for jet lag. Better yet, strap on a tank and dive into the shark-infused waters surrounding French Polynesia’s idyllic islands Across the archipelago, the lagoons offer more tranquil dives, whereas the passes and the outer reefs are perfect for shark lovers and those seeking the adrenaline rush of deep water diving in French Polynesia...

Bora Bora

Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia rise from the centre of Bora Bora's picture-perfect lagoon, creating a dramatic backdrop for your dives. Within the lagoon, several dive sites feature manta ray cleaning stations and circling reef sharks. In the deeper waters near the Teavanui Pass, you can also spot the larger lemon sharks. At Tapu, located near to the pass, you can expect both reef sharks and lemon sharks. With a maximum depth close to 40 metres, this spot is ideal for experienced divers looking for the best deep water diving in French Polynesia.

For more deep water dives, the heart-shaped island of Tupai lies to the north of Bora Bora and offers desert-island diving with the potential to see the ocean's true giants. Between August and November, humpback whales migrate through French Polynesia and seem to be particularly fond of basking in the waters of Tupai. Even when the whales aren't present, the virgin reefs of Tupai, bathed in crystal-clear waters, are visited by eagle rays, reef sharks and turtles, and offer the chance to enjoy deep water diving in French Polynesia with few other divers around.


Described as being 'richer in fish life than any other lagoon in the world' by legendary French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Tikehau Lagoon, along with its solitary pass, Tuheiva Pass, presents some of the best deep water diving in French Polynesia.

For those looking to venture a little deeper and experience the pass dive during incoming and outcoming tides, Shark Hole and Hina's Bell are must-dives. Shark Hole is exactly what it says on the tin - a vertical cave that drops just below 50 metres and frequented by shivers of grey reef sharks. Meanwhile, Hina's Bell, where you have high chances of encountering tunas, marlins, various reef sharks, and perhaps even a hammerhead or two, maxes out at 45 metres. These sites are particularly suited for experienced divers looking to explore deeper water.


Picture a peculiar fish-themed edition of the Generation Game, where the final conveyor belt round sees manta rays, eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, moray eels, barracuda, grey reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, a great hammerhead and silky sharks paraded in front of the contestants, one after another. That's a little how it feels to dive Rangiroa's Avatoru Pass and Tiputa Pass when the current is running into Rangiroa's large lagoon.

As French Polynesia's largest atoll, Rangiroa boasts plenty of dive sites to explore. Descending along the steep oceanic drop-offs on the lagoon's oceanic side, you'll have the chance to see silvertips, bottlenose dolphins and eagle rays, with ample opportunity to check out the deep water diving. In French Polynesia, there's always the chance of a hammerhead, but you can maximise your chances by heading to Rangiroa in the winter months and scanning the deeper depths for that unmistakable silhouette...

Our dive-travel team is on hand to help you get the most from your once-in-a-lifetime journey to far-away French Polynesia. We can help you plan an island-hopping odyssey across its atolls or a relaxed stay at in one luxurious resort on the edge of some of the world's best deep diving, where the sharks far outnumber the divers...

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Emily C, Eleanor, Rachel and Jacqui are our 'Deep Water Diving in French Polynesia' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Rachel Gaw
Call us on 1-800-652-1972