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French Polynesia, who to dive with?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by jjmochi, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    2,334
    1,535
    113
    @divinh - absolutely correct re almost all of the flights from Marquisas and Tuomotos back to Papeete. As the pilot I call partypants said "We look after our divers, they're the economy out here".
    My flight back from Rangi to Papeete and supposed then ferry to Moorea was delayed ... Maybe not today...maybe two hours...coconut telegraph working well before PP appeared on the horizon (I suspect after a dive himself but hey, just a suspicion) from the Marquisas and banked around the whole atoll like a Redbull pilot causing the entire population of Rangi to jump in cars and dash for airport.
    Flights are often pretty turbulent but on the upside if you're on a daylight flight in actual daylight, you get to see amazing reefs below you.

    I personally didn't find anything worth a day away from diving at Blue Lagoon (caveat - visited there while crewing on yachts not a dive trip)

    Also had an absolutely hilarious time on Bora Bora the most romantic island in the world as a solo female traveller purely because locals felt sorry for underfed pure Australian and kept feeding me whenever I tried to go for a walk, enjoyed a meal at Bloody Mary's (Table for..one..?), went skateboarding with some local kids from the wrong side of the mountain....but would I go again? No. Done the overwater bungalow private island thing. Was the diving worth it? Nah I need more than fed lemon sharks and sergeant majors and one manta ray.
    Would I recommend including BB - Hell yeah, it's beautiful, but a couple of days does it.
    Moorea for me is a far nicer island. The people are more genuine and the strange purely FP system of hitch hiking still works...id recommend everyone try it, it's a great way to learn about FP day to day life. Where ever you end up you will get a lift back to where you began because...one road. Plus there is Caramelline Patisserie. That deserves its own island and makes up for the so so diving.
     
    divinh likes this.
  2. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    669
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    On Tahiti, the airport to the main part of town or ferry to Moorea is about $20 USD one way. The ferry to Moorea is either $15 USD or $30 USD one way, pretty reasonable.

    I had read something about the hitchhiking, or rather the friendliness. On time, I asked directions to the super market and the couple who gave me directions circled around after telling me and drove me there!
     
  3. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    2,334
    1,535
    113
    Polynesians are lovely people.

    The hitching system - when you get out of the ferry terminals the person who has walked the furthest gets the first lift. In my case it was a 20 something kid with a surfboard who set a cracking pace, locals returning home from shopping at Papeete, couple of fit young newlyweds then me lugging all my dive gear only followed by a very elderly couple. Your lift is the order you're waiting in...only one road so sooner or later someone's bound to come along within a few minutes. There's a fruit seller just up the road who makes a fortune out of thirsty hot hitchers.

    I'd recommend a hitchhike around Moorea any day, it's an interesting way to find out how locals feel about the French, their economy and if you are thin they will stop off at an aunties house or something to get you candied yams. I hitched on BB into town, got back to my bungalow to find the phone ringing (EEK!) - it was Robyn who herds the cruise trippers onto their excursions making sure I was home safe because the lift I got back was with the local town mechanic with his always drunk "next wife" who regularly beats him up lol.

    If people looked beyond the hotel uniforms they might discover a whole lot more about FP.
     
  4. jjmochi

    jjmochi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Hong Kong
    13
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    It's funny you say that Wingy because our trip was initially just supposed to be a Bora Bora trip lol. We really did not want to go to the Tuamotus at first because the Bora Bora-Tuamotu pass is quite a bit more expensive than the Bora Bora pass, and we figured there's enough in the Society islands to keep us busy for 2 weeks. But then I came on this board and read about the wonderful diving and had to change our trip. So our Bora Bora time came down from 7 days to 4 as I squeezed in Rangiroa/Fakarava and then finally to 2 due to flight schedules (so infrequent to/from Fakarava). We'll do a lagoon tour 1 day and relax in our OWB next day, maybe get 2 dives in the morning as it'll be our refresher dive before moving to Rangiroa. I actually don't think there's much I'll missed despite only having 2 days in Bora Bora.

    Never tried the hitchhiking thing even when I was a single broke college kid backpacking through Europe, it's a bit too adventurous for us. Now we just want easy point A to B so we taxi or walk everywhere. I'm a type A personality so the uncertainty of hitchhiking makes me quite anxious haha

    What/where is Caramelline Patisserie?? is this the famous crepe bar in Moorea?

    For Rangiroa, where did everyone stay? I was initially set on Kia Ora but now thinking maybe I should do a pension to cut down on $. Contacted Tevahine Dream but they're fully booked.

    Lastly with Air Tahiti's 23kg weight allowance now, should we bring our dive gear? Or rentals in good condition?
     
  5. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    2,334
    1,535
    113
    Pension Tiena and Marie are fantastic, just past the pass and 2 minutes walk along the sea wall to the dock where Lili Cafe (Mahi Mahi and Poisson Cru are amazing) is next to Rangiroa Plongee.

    On Moorea I stayed at the Moorea Pearl - there is an onsite dive shop but he only goes out once a day in the morning.

    Caramelline (Drooool) is set alongside the little shopping area where the Gendarmes station is - just ask someone will point or probably drive you to it. It's a cafe where the most amazing cakes and fresh pressed juice and coffee are enjoyed while people have lunch and read the paper or whatever. I'm not a cake person but omg...when patisseries are works of art and taste as beautiful as they look, I'm hooked.

    Ironically we seem to have had similar experiences - I didn't want to go to the Societies only the Tuomotos but ended up buying a holiday to TAHITI, Moorea and Bora Bora on eBay while looking for jeans....that was my ok yes all very nice part of the trip but the Tuomotos were the end goal. I saved so much with the holiday I'd bought adding on the flights to Tuomotos and diving was a no brainer.

    Caramelline will make you fat. It's worth it lol. I travel with all my own gear but I've got it down to a standard 17kg travel gear set. Hire gear at Rangiroa Plongee looked fine at a glance to me.
     
  6. Cali_diver

    Cali_diver Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: California
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    It is such a shame because Bora Bora is beautiful but there are so many resorts with over the water bungalows that they look like they are growing them now... very sad. Moorea is very different and very special... Much like the Hawaii before all of the resorts and golf courses. Lush and beautiful!!
     
  7. divinh

    divinh Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    669
    238
    43
    My friend and I stayed at Le Coconut Lodge Guesthouse on Rangiroa. It's about 2-3 min walk along the beach to Six Passengers. (We chose for proximity to Six Passengers.) We were the first guests. Free Wi-Fi only came in on our last day. The hosts are great and if you opt for dinner, the meals are as great, better than the one time we dined at Kia Ora. Breakfast was served around our diving schedule, i.e. early in the morning. For lunch, we would borrow the bikes and ride into "town". We had a garden room, which was open air cooled. There's no aircon, if that matters. It was fine to sleep in but I suppose that will vary depending on time of year. (We were there in July 2017.) There are mosquitoes and we slept underneath the net, but with winds, sometimes a couple make it through.

    Rental gear is included in the dive prices, so we didn't bring any, though neither of us had much of gear: mask, snorkel, dive computer, and camera rig. Gear was fine, though Dive Spirit had the most limited choices. (It was the first time I wanted my own fins because one to was too big and one was way too tight, where I didn't enjoy the dive because my feet hurt.) There were plenty of people at the airport with their own gear, lots of it, which makes me wonder if there are exceptions for dive gear.
     
  8. Sputnikboy

    Sputnikboy Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Trieste
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    I just had to smile reading this. Totally felt this way (even if as a man): had an overwater bungalow on IC Thalasso in Bora Bora (the only lone idiot with another twenty or so couples around... the stares I had at dinner LOL!), Caramelline Patisserie made me chuckle (expensive but can't skip I guess), found FP locals LOVELY too, ended up playing with kids in one of my rented apartment's backyard every afternoon and stumbling on neighbourhoods dancing training on some nights. Cycling around Rangiroa was fun too, even during the day Avatoru felt like a ghost village... loved it! It's true that Moorea is more authentic, but I enjoyed BB and the Tuamotus (Tikehau included) much more.
    Damn this post made me feel nostalgic, thankfully I'll go back in little more than a month! :yeahbaby:

    P.S.: @Wingy, it's all YOUR fault!
     
    Wingy likes this.
  9. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Malaysia
    656
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    What month is the aggregation?
     
  10. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    2,334
    1,535
    113
    P.S @ Sputnikboy - I'm glad someone else was the "lone idiot" - those French hoteliers and newlyweds do tend to look at a solo person with this mix of pity and wtf are they doing here! - I used to walk up to the marche, buy cheese, baguettes and collect fruit from kind people in their gardens who rushed out to give me some food cos fats where it's at with women in FP apparently. A dive knife works perfectly well for making dinner and desert while the staff fume because - you're not like everyone else is and aren't spending money lol.

    And than you for the compliment - my work is done - More than happy that you having a great time is my fault :D
     
    Sputnikboy likes this.

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