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Tahiti vs Palau vs Fiji....thoughts and advice?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by LittleB, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Worldwide Dive and Sail

    Worldwide Dive and Sail ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Hi LittleB!

    Each destination has its charm! :)

    French Polynesia is an amazing and thrilling destination – schools of hammerheads, tigers sharks, mantas, dolphins, and huge schools of fish.
    Palau and Fiji are also awesome! In Palau, you will mainly have big encounters with sharks, mantas, Napoleons and turtles, whilst in Fiji you can have both! Watch a hammerhead patrolling or observe a tiny pygmy sea horse.
    If you chose Palau, land based dive shops do, of course, the best of Palau! (Blue Corner, German Channel, Ulong, New Drop Off, Big Drop Off, wrecks) However, they don’t go as often as the liveaboards to Peleliu Island.

    If you want to know a little bit more about the diving in Palau and in Fiji, have a look at the Siren Fleet weekly trip blogs.

    Have a wonderful holidays!
  2. kneptoon

    kneptoon Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Glendale, CA USA
    I have not been to Palau, reason being the very expensive ticket. I have been to both Tahiti and Fiji twice. I am going again to Tahiti in a month. The above comments on Fiji are right on. If you can dive the Bligh Waters and Rainbow Reef the trip is great. Diving Tahiti is for me diving either Rangiroa or Fakarava. Either or both are world class, bucket list diving. I haven't been anywhere like it. I was just looking at the videos I shot last summer in Fakarava and was astounded by the size of the fish schools. Like I said there is nothing like it anywhere I have been. Fiji has lovely soft coral, but for fish and pelagics Tahiti is the place. But I have never been to Palau. Most of Fakarava and Rangiroa are UNESCO World Heritage conservation locales. Everything is protected. Throughout Indonesia and Fiji local chiefs can sell their little corner of paradise to whomever they want for whatever they want. And they do. Say what you will about the French, they are serious about preserving Rangirioa and Fakarava.
    Wingy likes this.
  3. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    Well, I'll be in Fiji in a few months diving a week on the NAI'A and then doing a land based stay at Beqa Lagoon Resort. Really looking forward to this trip. Then in 2017 we're headed to Palau for two weeks at PPR. I've heard so much about the place from so many people for so long I have to go. That might just be the "trip of a lifetime" so to speak.
  4. batts

    batts Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    Just stumbled across this very helpful thread - and would be very appreciative for further advice on these locations.

    My husband and I are planning to take one dive trip in either late-July/early-August or early-November. We're strongly considering Fiji or French Polynesia (Rangiroa/Fakarava), in part because we've never dove the south Pacific. Any thoughts on whether one of these destinations would be particularly good (or not-so-good) for either of our two vacation windows? Aside from visiting healthy reefs, we want to maximize our opportunities to see pelagics, especially sharks. If either destination stands out as having better shark diving during these time frames, that would be our choice. Thanks for any help.
  5. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    Having been in Palau now (and going back there later this year), I found it to be the most incredible overall diving I've done anywhere. It also helped that many speak English (my second language, German, might have been of use there also but I'm pretty rusty) and use the US dollar.
    batts likes this.
  6. batts

    batts Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    Palau sounds incredible but we were planning to save it for February 2017. Would you recommend visiting Palau in either August or November (or would it be better to wait until January - April)?

    For either July/August or November, is there anywhere you would recommend as highly as Palau (or over Palau)?
  7. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    Let me know if you decide on Palau for early 2017. I have one room left for two full weeks at Palau Pacific Resort and we get a discounted price. The dates are January 28th thru February 11th, 2017. I can send you more details if you are interested. I've been told this is the best time to go.

    Fiji was wonderful and will likely go back again at some point. Didn't see sharks at each dive location but when we did see them there were a lot of them. Great people in Fiji!
    batts likes this.
  8. Sanpaku

    Sanpaku Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
    I'm fortunate that my father invited me along as he and fellow physician friends completed their bucket lists over the past decade, and as a result, my first dive trip in 2005 was to Fiji (Koro Sun resort, out of Savusavu on Vanua Levu island), and fifth in 2009 was to Palau (Palau Pacific Resort, a short ride from the capital Koror). Of the 9 scuba vacations I've been on, these two have stood out as the best (as well they should be, given the expense).

    Fiji is reknown for its soft coral, and indeed I've never seen a profusion of alien coral shapes like it anywhere else. It was also a challenging locale for the new diver, mostly sheer wall dives, with some sites like Somosomo Straight having too much current for the older divers in the group. Large wildlife was fairly rare, except in Namena Marine Reserve, which is probably the best single dive day I've experienced to date. There's a tiny 6 room resort on Namena, which may be the most incredible scuba honeymoon destination on the planet. The Fijian people were incredibly friendly, though I've read that this is perhaps less true on the big island.

    Palau stands out as having the greatest variety of dives of my vacation. Walls, snorkeling in Jellyfish lake, feeling their tiny gelatinous hearts beating against your skin; drift diving with the tide through wide channels in antler coral to encounter sandy flats with sharks awaiting prey caught in the current; dives to Japanese wrecks. Lots of life on every dive, and no dive was particularly strenuous. The Peleliu battlefield makes for a good afternoon tour, and there's a small resort on Peleliu which probably has the shortest boat rides to good dive sites, though compared to Koror, there's little to explore in the evenings. There's also a deep reservoir of local culture in Palau, which the locals are justifyably proud of. Behind my desk as I type is a large wood carving depicting a local myth, made by an inmate in Koror's prison (a shop open to the public supports prison activities).

    If I had to choose one of the two that's a can't miss destination, it would be Palau (excepting that planned well in advance honeymoon).
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
    batts likes this.
  9. NatashaS

    NatashaS Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Batts I have always been told, as kneptoon wrote, that French Polynesia is sharkier than Fiji (I have dove Fiji but not FP). That said, the Beqa shark feeds in Fiji are of course extremely sharky, but that's not where you will be diving if you are based in Wananavu or Taveuni etc. (The liveaboards tag along to one of the land op's shark feed dives usually).

    If you're also considering Palau, I was told in Palau that Jun-Aug is not the best time for sharks in Palau (as I wrote above). Warmer water means the sharks are deeper and less visible to rec divers. I was there for 3 weeks one summer.

    For Jul/Aug I would recommend Galapagos for massive shark schools and very close encounters - but that's not South Pacific. I found Galapagos much sharkier than Palau both in number of sharks and number of species. I was told by a pro photographer who dove both that the sharks in FP don't come anywhere near as close as they do in the Galapagos.
    batts likes this.
  10. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    Lol subjective I guess...I heard the opposite this morning from a pro photographer who does both.....every dive is different
    batts likes this.

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