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New Caledonia in October

Discussion in 'Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands' started by judyo1, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. judyo1

    judyo1 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    72
    53
    18
    I have a conference to go to in Noumea in October (woohoo!) and am looking at extending my stay to do some diving. I was wondering about 2-3 days diving in Noumea pre conference and then heading over to the north - east coast for 3 days post conference. I'm after advice re dive shops / where to dive. I love Mantas Rays, sharks and am happy diving in strong currents. My French is pretty basic and not up to following dive briefings ie I'll need English speaking dive master. Amadee dive club looks good for Noumea. On the East Coast Kuendu Dive Safari has some good reviews and their website looks great but I've not had any responses yet to email or facebook messages. I also can't quite get my head around getting to the Eastern side of the island - does one need to hire a car or are there buses or do you fly? It might be easier to stay based in Noumea as it appears as though there is more than enough diving for a week... I don't want to lose a day of diving waiting to off-gas before flyings somewhere else. Any advice appreciated thanks.
     
  2. OMGinger

    OMGinger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Calgary
    22
    8
    3
    Hey Judy,

    I was there in September last year and did two dives out of Noumea with Abyss Plongée. I had a great time and they were able to get my wife and I on a boat with pretty short notice. They are able to do the brief in English with no problems and have the dive info written on a whiteboard for you in their shop afterwards as well. We dove two sites near the Amedee lighthouse Le Sournoir and Le Tombant du Sournoir. On the first dive we saw some box fish, white tips, a green turtle, moray eels, tons of sealife and coral. The highlight of the second site was eight or nine grey reef sharks patrolling the reef wall below us, again tons of little critters and a small swimthrough if you wanted to go for it.

    We then rented a vehicle from Avis, which was pretty much right beside Abyss Plongée and drove to Poindimié on the north coast in province Nord (North province). It took about maybe 4-5 hours to make the drive and the roads were pretty decent all the way. We did go over a mountain pass that had a few single lane sections to be cautious on, but we did it in a crappy little BYD (chinese compact) and had no problem, I actually enjoyed the drive quite a bit, but I'm a driver (and luckily my wife was fast asleep).

    We stayed at Hotel Tieti and they have a dive shop attached called Tieti Diving. Laurent is the guy running the show there, we did two dives with him and aside from us there was only one other on the boat. His english is good enough but the other guy on the boat was French, so there was a little more conversation between the two of them than with the wife and I, but whatever. The first dive we did was called Les Tunnels D'Actineria and the reef structures were are mind blowing, massive crevices to navigate, swimthroughs, tons of healthy coral and lots of sea life. The second dive was called Val D'Isere and that was nice as well, a bit shallower, huge gardens of staghorn coral, some grey reef sharks, puffer fish.

    Unfortunately we were only able to dive the one day in Poindimie, if I knew how good it was I would have tried to spend a week there and gone out every day. The other diver on our boat came down from somewhere further up the coast and it sounded like pretty solid diving up there as well. I would definitely like to go back there, seemed like a hidden gem. We were on a liveaboard on the GBR the next week but that first dive in Poindimie is the one I always think about.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, I'm happy to discuss further.

    P.S. what is it that you do that allows you to go to conferences in New Caledonia? Seems I picked the wrong profession :wink:
     
    judyo1 likes this.
  3. judyo1

    judyo1 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    72
    53
    18
    Thanks for this response. Abyss Plongee have responded to my message and get good tripadvisor reviews so I think I'll look at doing some dives with them. The diving on the East Coast sounds amazing but I think I'll likely stick to Noumea for convenience sake. Did you see any Mantas? There's lots of photos of them on the dive shop websites, but I"m not sure if they're a rare occurrence if you are very lucky or frequently there, or what the manta season is.

    Yes I'm pretty stoked about the location of the conference / "meeting"!!! Usually my conferences seem to be fly to Oz friday after work, conference all day Saturday and Sunday and arrive home sunday midnight in time for work on Monday (and then people tell me I'm lucky to have gone to (eg) Gold Coast). Noumea seemed too good an opportunity to miss.
     
  4. OMGinger

    OMGinger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Calgary
    22
    8
    3
    Unfortunately I didnt see any Mantas, I think its something you see when you're lucky. You could ask Denis at Abyss and he might be able to give some more details and possibly reccommend some sites to visit to increase your chances of spotting one. Seeing a Manta and a Humpback is on the top of my list but the closest I came was in October when I heard them singing off the HMAS Brisbane and off Julian Rocks..

    Also, you might want to look into visiting Ile des Pines, it's a quick flight and looks beautiful, they do scuba out of there as well.
     
  5. judyo1

    judyo1 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    72
    53
    18
    I've managed 5 days of diving in Noumea so here's my thoughts :). I dived one day with Amedee Diving Club and 4 days with Abyss Plongee.

    For diving with Amedee Diving Club we got picked up at 0700 and taken to Port Moselle then a rib out to Amedee Island. The group consisted of snorkellers, try-divers and scuba divers. Out at Amedee we unloaded then picked up equipment and tanks and headed out for our first dive. I dived with a friend who hadn't dived for years (but did a refresher before arriving in Noumea). I had my own gear, she used their gear. Same price regardless of whether you use their gear or not. Her regs had no SPG, the instructions were to 'stay at the same level as the leader'... Anyway, Dive Master Didier seemed to keep a pretty close watch on people. The diving had good vis, reasonable currents and plenty of sharks. Back to Amedee Island for lunch and a siesta. Lunch was a tuna steak which I'm told was very nice, the vegetarian option was an extra serving of rice and beans(!) (sauce was nice). I snorkelled at lunch time, lots of turtles in shallow water. Amedee Island was very busy, it was a Sunday and there was a sailing event of some sort there... I imagine it would be quieter and more pleasant during the week. The try divers went out diving at lunch time. Afternoon dive also good fun (lots and lots of sharks!) then back to Amedee... unloaded gear etc.. made it back to Noumea about 530pm so a longish day. A plus of this outfit was that several in my group didn't scuba dive but we were able to have a day out at Amedee Island together both snorkellers and scuba divers. I am not sure I would want to do multiple days of diving with them just as there was a lot of down time - which was great for the one day we went, but I'm not sure I would want multiple days of it. Contatcting Amedee Diving club: responses to emails were intermittent but messaging via their facebook page worked well with prompt responses.

    For my 4 other days of diving I dived with Abyss. I contacted them via email & Denys was efficient in his replies. They go out in a rib each morning, 0700 pick up from hotel (if needed) and we left the marina in their rib by about 0745. THe dive sites were 30-45 mins away, first dive, one hour surface interval (with tea and biscuits) then second dive, back in the marina just after 12. I liked this set up as could dive in the morning then spend time with family in the afternoon. Also, in Noumea the wind seems to get up in the afternoon so this allowed for diving when it was calmer. The dive outfit was professional and organised. Price very reasonable (9500 Francs Mon-Friday, 10500 at the weekend, cheaper than a day's diving in NZ, given cost of everything else in Noumea very impressive!). If you get seasick take meds before hand, it could be a bit bumpy between dives. Guides friendly, all spoke good English - briefings were generally given in French & English (I was often only ENglish speaker). Group size varied between a dive master to myself to up to 6 people.

    The diving had good vis, plenty of sharks, reasonable hard coral, a wreck one day... turtles, nudibranchs, the usual suspects! Also sea snakes, a leaf scorpion fish one day. No Mantas but was told they are uncommon in winter, not Manta season.

    Overall satisfying diving and if in Noumea I thought it worthwhile diving :)
     
  6. judyo1

    judyo1 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    72
    53
    18
    And sorry, forgot to add. Apparently (wish I knew), if you are flying Air Calin, they will provide you an extra 10kg of luggage allowance if you tell them when booking that you have scuba gear.
     

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