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French Polynesia: time to spend in Fakarava and Rangiroa

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by moorish8idol, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. moorish8idol

    moorish8idol Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
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    Hi folks,

    Considering FP dive trip for over the Christmas holidays. Would love some advice on a few discrete issues.

    1. Given the current flight schedule, I would need to either:
    (PLAN A) 2 full dive days in Rangiroa and then 5 days diving in Fakarava, or
    (PLAN B) 4 dive days in Rangiroa with 3 dive days in Fakarava.
    I am interested in going to Rang end of December since it is the start of hammerhead season. But heard Fakarava is excellent as well and may wish to try for both North and South. Where would you recommend I spend more time? (I like big animal diving)

    2. Can anyone comment on the altitude of inter-island flights (ie PPT to Rang, Rang to Fak and Fak back to PPT)? I have heard that they are quite low so you don't need to be as rigid with the no-dive for 24 hours rule but wanted to know what people's experience and practice was.

    3. I would be traveling solo and looking for an opportunity to socialize with others, if possible (ie probably not best for me to be stuck in a honeymooners hotel) so would appreciate reccos on lodging that is comfortable (I would prefer an ensuite room with AC and possibly a pool so don't know if a homestay would be a good option for me but happy to hear why I might be wrong) in Fakarava, Rangiroa and for a night in Papeete.

    4. I would have a long day layover in Papeete before going back - (about 12 hours from 11 am to 11 pm). Are there any nearby hotels that do day-passes so one can languish by the pool and chill out before leaving to go back to the cold?

    5. Dive shop reccos and warnings are a bit all over the place. Some people seem to like Top Dive while others do not. I obviously want a friendly and safety-oriented shop w but would prefer smaller groups and the opportunity to be with other competent, advanced divers and not to be held back by people in the group who are less comfortable in more challenging conditions.

    Thanks!
     
  2. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Malaysia
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    I have not been yet but will be going later this year. I wanted to stay two nights in Fakarava but I was unable to book a place to stay. Good luck.
     
  3. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    2,351
    1,568
    113
    True - Air TAHITI fly low "we look after our divers" - a few of their pilots are divers :wink:

    Staying at a pension with the locals is my choice, on Rangiroa you will find the other bungalows occupied by divers - I'd recommend Pension Tiena and Marie - you don't need a pool because you have a giant lagoon out the front. The cabins do have AC but I never used it preferring to open up the windows.

    Have nothing but good things to say about Rangiroa Plongee and Fakarava Dive Spirit get good wraps. How many days .... Hard to say, if you're a big current junkie diving the passes never gets boring.
     
  4. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    695
    262
    63
    1. I did more dives from Rangiora than north Fakarava, so my preference is Rangiora. Both sites have plenty of sharks. It's easier to get closer to the sharks in north Fakarava, in the pass. Rangiora has a pod of dolphins, if that's your thing. There are more Napoleon's in Rangiora.

    2. I was told for the prop planes, it's only necessary for 12 hrs of surface interval before flights. I do not know the altitude.

    3. For Rangiora and Fakarava, I stayed in non-AC accommodations, so I can't help you there. It was fine for me and my friend. Accommodations seem to be priced for double occupancy.

    4. I stayed at a hostel in Papeete, no pool, but AC. It costs about $20 each way to/from the airport via taxi to the center of town. Just to keep in mind for added cost to get to a hotel. Airport is open, no AC and Wi-Fi isn't free.

    5. Six Passengers for Rangiora and Dive Spirit for Fakarava. Dive Spirit isn't that well equipped, but if you're bringing gear, no problem. They're a small outfit, so not many divers. Six Passengers is very well equipped. Both provide free pickup from accommodations.
     
  5. francypm

    francypm Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Kabul
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    Re: Rangiroa, went (alone) two years ago and stayed at the Kia Ora, which was fine if a little soulless. There were many honeymooners though! In Rangi I dove with Top Dive. Also went to Tikehau with Top Dive. I much preferred them in Tikehau than Rangiroa, though they were fine enough - no glaring issues and we were actually luck enough to catch the incoming tide earlier than usual my first day and were the only ones (there were 4 of us plus the DM) in the canyons with the greys. Other times it was a little more crowded...not Top Dive’s fault though. The DMs were fine, kept an eye on people but obviously not much babysitting especially in currents. Everybody was decently skilled and we didn’t run into any problems. The pod of dolphins was very friendly! I was in Rangiroa 4 nights and was more than enough for me. I am skipping it this time in favor of Fakarava, spending 4 nights in Raimiti for the south pass, and 3 nights in the north pass at Havaiki (and doing Tikehau again, which I love). Raimiti suggested I book with Enata Fakarava Diving - has anyone ever heard of them? Otherwise does Dive Spirit do the south pass? Not keen on top dive for Fakarava after checking out the reviews. Unfortunately I don’t have info on day passes for hotels as I always have to spend the night due to flight schedules to Auckland.
     
  6. scubajelly

    scubajelly Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    20
    3
    3
    The hotels in Papaete are not great. Did a day room once, and opted never to do it again. We leave our luggage checked at the airport, then get a car, drive around the island and always try to hit the food trucks when we can. The food trucks are great, cheap and delicious, and you can people watch to your heart's content.
     
  7. medic5

    medic5 Angel Fish

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    We used both Top Dive and The 6 Passengers on Rangiroa. Top Dive when the Paul Gauguin stopped there for the day and The 6 Passengers when we spent another 6 nights there. Top Dive provided Nitrox to everybody, certified or not. Although it has now been 6+ years Top Dive has had some significant issues that have resulted in law suits.

    On Tahiti the Inter Continental used to offer day passes but last year when we tried they did not offer it. If you have the stamina the logic of leaving your bags at the PPT airport and then heading to the waterfront is a good idea. You can stop in the large market, wander around, and at 6:00 pm eat at the food trucks that set up every night.
     
  8. Peter Seupel

    Peter Seupel Garibaldi

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Grenada
    2
    1
    1
    Just came back from there, was my third time. Kia Ora is a great resort in Rangiroa, either Topdive or 6 passengers right there. Both good. Rangiroa reefs have suffered a lot, not much left. The Dolphins are fun to play with, the sharks are usually deep there 40m +. The Fakarava North pass is ok, but also the only dive site there. A number of good local pensions there, very laid back. Did dive with Dive Spirit, was good. The best place to dive there is the South pass. Only one basic pension there, but the diving is amazing. The reefs are beautiful and full of life, lot's of sharks. Don't miss the night dive there, very intense. Did the last trip on the French Polynesia Master Liveaboard, not recommended. Nothing works on that boat. If I would go again, I'd spend most of the time in Fakarava south.
     
  9. judyo1

    judyo1 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
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    O2 Fakarava were awesome for day diving
     

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