French Polynesia is truly a scuba diving paradise. There are 118 islands and 6 archipelagos. More importantly, this 1,359sq mi land area has a dive site just right for any level of diver certification. The islands here were first inhabited by Polynesians around 200BC. Ferdinand Magellan stopped by in 1521 right before he died in Cebu, Philippines. James Cook stopped by the islands 3 times before being killed in Hawaii in 1779. Finally, Captain Blythe stopped by to collect breadfruit in 1789. He shortly thereafter lost command of his ship during the mutiny on the Bounty. 67 of the French Polynesia islands are uninhabited. 2/3 of the entire population live on the island of Tahiti. Moreover, here, extinct Mount Orohena rises 7,345ft above sea level. Enjoy our blog story: 110,000 Reasons to Go Liveaboard
Diving French Polynesia
With over 90 atolls to chooses from, there is an endless list of dive sites. There are swim throughs, walls, drop offs, lagoons, fringing coral reefs. There are also passes, motus (small islands), caves, canyons, and crevices too. So, Rangiroa is the 2nd
largest atoll in the world. Bora bora has a spectacular lagoon. You also have a host of sites for doing drift dives and scuba diving on wrecks. Typically, you may see anglefish, turtles, grouper, trevally, barracuda, dolphins, and whale sharks. Fakarava is the place to see schooling sharks. Humpback whales appear in French Polynesia from July to November. So, June to October is manta season. Some of the drift dive passage sites have swift currents. However, other scuba diving sites have easy drift currents. Wave action is barely noticeable in certain sections of the lagoons.
The visibility is generally between a 100-130ft. Above all, you may see hundreds of species of fish. So, there are over 20 species of sharks found here. The most common species include Black tips, white tips, silver tips, and lemons. Silky, nurse sharks, and even hammerheads can be sighted.
Accommodations, Attractions, Activities
There are major hotels and resorts spread throughout the French Polynesian islands. However, there are only a dozen scuba diving centers to choose from. To see some of the distant dive sites you will need to spend some time on a liveaboard vessel. Many divers do a resort and liveaboard adventure during the same visit. While hotels offer swimming pools, others prefer the bungalows that reside off shore and just feet above the ocean’s gentle waves. Snorkeling, swimming, and/or kayaking in the crystal-clear waters is an amazing experience. More importantly, this area is considered by many to be the one of the top ten places to surf in the world. Because of Paul Gauguin many artists come here to become inspired by the natural tropical beauty.