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25 % OFF Tuamotu – 7 nights – 08 -15 December
The French Polynesia Master is the newest liveaboard to ply the waters of this island archipelago, welcoming aboard 25 guests for 7 or 10 night dive safaris. The four decks provide ample space for relaxation, dive equipment and camera preparation.
Main deck has a spacious indoor salon with aircon and plasma screen for movie and photo viewing as well as numerous charging points and storage. Dive deck provides individual set up stations, under-bench storage and camera table with a large entry to the rear and two deck heads.
Situated in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, this island archipelago is home to some of the most wondrous dive sites, where hundreds of sharks gather in schools to be joined by manta rays and bottle-nosed dolphins. Diving Rangiroa’s reefs and channels you can expect to see grey reef hammerhead, black tips, silky, tiger and silver tip sharks cruising the reef, hunting on schools of snapper and fusiliers.
The diving day aboard the French PolynesiaMaster has a typical schedule as follows:
Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1
Full Breakfast,relaxation period,briefing &Dive 2
Lunch, relaxation period,briefing & Dive 3
Snackrelaxation period, briefing & Dive 4,where possible
The following is a description of the dive sites we mayvisit during your liveaboard safari as the M/V French PolynesiaMastercruises between Papeete(this itinerary startsfrom 27 September 2017onwards), Rangiroa and Fakarava.Wehave included the highlights;however the yacht may also stop at numerous smaller islands along the wayincluding Arutua, Kankura and Niau.On a typical 7-night itinerary we will offer between 18-20 dives, 10-night itineraries up to 30 dives will be possible and 14-night itineraries we provide up to 42 dives.When leaving from/going to Papeete Harbour, this includes an overnight sail.
Tiputa Pass -Dropping in at the outer edge divers can hook in to the reef wall and watch the amazing shark display. Hammerheads, tiger sharkand huge schools of grey reef shark are the main draw. Drift on the incoming tide throughThe Canyons, where schools of big eyes hang out and mantas can be seen hanging in the cross current. End the dive atShark Cave where white tips typically come to rest. Other common fish species are grouper and Napoleon wrasse.
Tiputa Reef –On the ocean side of the pass the reef plateaus out at 20m into a magnificent coral garden. Schools of barracuda, turtles, white tip sharks, small wrasse and many colourful reeffish species can be seen. Mantas put in an occasional appearance, bottle nose dolphins too.
Deep Blue-Or simply “The Blue” is the deep water on the ocean side of Tiputa Pass. Here we drop divers directly from the boat to descend to 20m and hang in the blue as the sharks are tempted up to the shallower depths by dropping stones. Expect to see grey reef, silky and silver tip sharks as well as bottlenose dolphins.
Nuhi Nuhi–A shallow coral garden where angel fish, butterfly fish, anthias and all manner of small creatures can be spotted. Look out for leaf fish.
Mypristis–The coral reef acts as a nursery for grey reef sharksin season. Typically divers can see large numbers of marbled grouper and many anemones with resident clown fish.
Avaturo Pass -Strongcurrents are to be expected but bring forth a wide range of pelagic species from reef sharks to tuna and the occasional sailfish.
Tehere Pass –The strong currents through the pass mean divers can literally hang like a flag in the breeze! Reef hooks are essential if you want to stay and enjoy the hundreds of grey reef sharks hunting on fusiliers. Tuna, dolphins and swordfish can also be seen. The seabed and wall is more rubble than coral reef so simply drift in the current and enjoy the large pelagics.
Pakaka Pass–A more gentle drift than the Tehere Pass brings you through a pristine coral garden with table and staghorn corals. Silver tip and black tip reef sharks are seen darting in about the shallow corals, whilstnumerous eagle rays are frequently sighted.
Otugi Pass–The 400m wide channel is best dived on an incoming tide for the schools of grey reef sharks and silvertips.
Teahuroa–The outer reef wall is where huge schools of snapper congregate. Reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, surgeon fish and big eyes join them, whilst manta ray sightings are possible too.
Garaue Pass–The northernmost channel ofFakarava Island and arguable the best site in the region for consistent shark sightings. The pass itself is 1600m wide and should only be dived at slack water due to the very strong currents. Starting at the outer wall we encounter the huge “wall of sharks” where hundreds of greys congregate. Black tip, white tip, hammerhead, tiger, silky and oceanic white tip are amongst the other species seen. Napoleon wrasse, surgeon fish and the typical schools of big eyes and yellow snapper swarm over the reefs, joined by turtles, morays and lionfish. In June and July, large numbers of grouper aggregate to spawn, a truly spectacular sight. Manta rays also visit.
Maiuru –A submerged plateau on the outer edge of the pass, levels out at 18m into a lovely hard coral garden. At the ‘drop off’ you can encounter shark activity, whilst over the reef paddletail snapper and barracuda form large schools. Manta rays and eagle rays come by for
cleaning and a quick meal and there are plenty of smaller creatures including nudibranchsand crabs to spot amongst the corals and sponges.
Ohutu –The second plateau starts at 12m and drops to 30m with vibrant corals this is a superb place to watch manta rays.
Restaurant Pier –Thisshallow site is perfectfor an afternoon dive where schoolsof snapper, black tip reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse are commonwith a stunning atmosphere for photography.
Guests taking our 10-night itineraries will also have the option to dive the following areas:
Tumakohua –The southern pass of Fakarava is just as dramatic as the north, though only 200m across, it can be dived with both incomingand outgoing tides. Big schools of grey reef sharks can be seen in the deeper water whilst along the shallower reef black tips dart about. Manta rays andleopard whiprays are also frequently seen.
In 1987 Jacques-Yves Cousteau dubbed Tikehau as “the richest atoll on the face of the earth”, and it is easy to understand why with schools of sharks, manta rays and lovely corals.
Tuheiava Pass–A channel dive providingpredictable encounters with grey reef and white tip reef sharks, schooling snappers in huge numbers and dolphins. Turtles and solitary barracudas are also seen.
The Shark Hole -Diving down a vertical break in the reef brings you through schooling sharks onto even bigger schools of snapper. The archway at 50m is adorned with anemones.
The Old Pearl Farm–is THE place for watching mantas as they come to the reef for cleaning.
Outer Wall –The sloping outerwall of Kauehi Island is encrusted with huge hard coral formations and sponges. Butterfly fish, surgeon fish, banner fish and snappers all form large schools over the reef. Puffer fish, morays, tuna, barracuda, wrasse and lionfish are a common sight, whilst mantas, grey reef shark, eagle rays and the occasional hammerhead make up the larger visitors.Great for spotting leaf fish and nudibranchs.
Important information about diving in French Polynesia
This itinerary involves some long distance travel and whilst we attempt to ensure the number of dives we have scheduled is fulfilled, bad weather can hinder the boat’s ability to reach a specified dive site in good time. Many islands require the yacht to move within the atoll for safe overnight anchorage. Your cruise director and captain will therefore plan the best route for entry to the atolls and to hit the channel currents at the optimum time for diving.We wish to show you the very best diving possibleyetthe safety of all on board remains paramount. In the unlikely event we are unable to reach a specified dive site;we always do our best in offering diving at alternativelocations.
Diving in French Polynesiacan be challenging, even for the experienced diver. At many sites currents can be strongand whilst visibility is typically 20m+ it maydiminish due to an influx of nutrients. Due to the strength of currents, diving at night is not always an option. We will offer 4 day dives, yet the 4thday divemay be substituted for a night dive where suitable.
Diving regulations within French Polynesia differ slightly from many areas of the world. Please note that Open Water and Advanced Open Water divers (or equivalent) are limited to 30m maximum, regardlessof whether you carry the Deep Diver Speciality. Rescue Divers and above are permitted beyond 30m to a maximum of 40m. Please note that there are regular checks by the authorities that these limits are being maintained so our guides will be very strict with them.
Water temperaturerangesfrom 24-28°C(75-82°F) with June-October being the coldest months. For most guests a 3mm longwetsuit will be sufficient, however those who feel the cold easily may wish to bring thicker exposure protection.
Should you have any questions or queries concerning the dive sites or whether this itinerary is suitable for your experience level, please contact our reservations team who will be pleased to assist and advise you.