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Fakarava north

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by kneptoon, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. kneptoon

    kneptoon Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Glendale, CA USA
    This is our second trip to Fakarava in the last two years. Last year with more time we did both Rangiroa and Fakarava. This year with only 9 days of travel and 6 dive days we did just Fakarava. Fakarava is a UNESCO World Heritage site, an atoll encircling a 35 mile long lagoon. There are two great dive sites; the North pass, Garuae and the South pass, Tetamanu. These two sites are separated by a one to two hour boat ride each way. Both dive sites are very different and both are worth the effort and travel time to dive. Fakarava, to me has almost nothing going on except for the diving. However, it has become, particularly for the French, an "anthropological" destination. It is considered to be the true Polynesian experience. It is quite rustic and unspoiled and has that postcard Polynesian beauty. The rustic part of it was not appealing to my wife, who is a seasoned traveler, such as being a missionary nurse in Sierra Leone. This year we stayed at Pension Paparara which was wonderful for me. I will just say it was too rustic for my wife. I very much enjoyed the owners, Ato and Corina. The food was good and plentiful and the setting sublime. We dove with Fakarava Dive Spirit, who have been well reviewed on this board and which I preferred to Top Dive, (who we dove with last year). Let me just state that all Polynesian dive operations think PADI is total ****. I gained some small degree of street cred. having SSI, YMCA and NAUI certifications to compensate for the besmirched PADI background. This operation is a tough one to review. Their most important emphasis is safety. It is also the next 20 or 30 most important priorities for you, the diver. Safety. They have their own very strident protocol for entering and exiting the water. Most of them make sense, but it really becomes not about having a good, fun dive but about not dying. Both my wife and I are DM certified (by PADI which by French standards is something sub-OW). My wife became particularly irked as the DM attempted to adjust her gear during the dive several times. I asked her why later and she had no idea, but she was pissed. (That's why she dives with shears and not a knife.) I said, we would like to dive the pass. The DM shook his head and pointed to my son(AOW 150 dives) and wife(DM 370 dives) and said not these two. In the meantime, back at the dive center my son's girlfriend, a very healthy active 33 year old was getting her open water portion of her OW cert(PADI) completed with Arianne the co-owner. She passed successfully and where did we dive the next day on her second dive as a newbie? The pass. That's right. Into the maws of death. All said and done we dove Garuae Pass 3 times at slack time. It was really incredible I will admit. Fakarava has not just schools of fish, but schools in the countless thousands. You really don't know where to turn your head for what you may miss. Sharks, Napoleans barracudas, and above an 8' marlin feeding the surface. The hard coral is about the best you will ever see and the reefs very healthy. Fakarava is great if good reefs and fish life are your preference.
  2. kekomixtle

    kekomixtle Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Monterrey, Mexico
    Thanks for your post! My wife and I are going for the first time to French Polynesia, and are choosing to spend all our 9 days in Fakarava. We're both AOW with just 31 dives, so even if they think is **** that's all we have, hahaha. We're planning to stay maybe 4 days in the South and 5 days North. We want to dive anywhere possible. I'm just a bit hesitant if it's the right choice to discard all other islands and place all our bet in Fakarava. Any advice?

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