Tim's unexciting SCUBA Page -- Tahiti

Scuba Diving in Tahiti

Tahiti has a reputation for being a tropical paradise that offers great beaches and great diving. Too bad its an undeserved reputation. Tahiti is a cesspool in the middle of some of the nicest scenery in the world. The nice Tahitian beaches from the post cards are fake. The island of Tahiti is a volcanic island and where it meets the ocean is volcanic rock or black sand. The main island has most of the population of French Polynesia and like all poor countries, it does not spend money on things like sewage treatment and garbage cleanup. A short walk out of the resort areas will quickly show the real Tahiti.

My advice to diving in French Polynesia is fly to Tahiti, arrive early enough to catch a plane to a different island and avoid this island at all costs (and it will cost). Tahiti is one of the most expensive dive spots anywhere. Hotels cost a fortune and the airlines arrive at bad times (like 1:00am) so you get stuck paying for hotels for nights you don't use just so you don't have to wait around till the late check in times.

Diving in Tahiti is generally shallow dives. There are a number of small boats that have been sunk off the end of the runway of the FAAA airport. One interesting wreck is a Cessna 172 RG thats landed a few feet short of the runway. It was moved farther away and is now home to a number of typical reef fish.

I stayed at the Tahiti Beachcomber ParkRoyal. At just over $400 a night, I expected a bit more than they provided like hot water and electricity at night. They have something called a "lagoon aquarium" which has several reef fish trapped in a dammed up lagoon. The environment is simply wrong for the fish as there is no natural food and may of the fish were species that pair up for life and of course they weren't swimming in pairs. Beachcomber needs to hire a marine biologist to fix up this little mess. On Moorea there is another Beachcomber hotel and they have dolphins they have trapped. I hope its in a better environment. Note that there is another "lagoon aquarium" not far away that shouldn't be confused with the beachcomber one.

If your considering a trip to Tahiti, goto Moorea since its a half hour boat ride away. You many want to consider Australia's Great Barrier Reef for the best diving in the world and the plane ride isn't that much longer than to Tahiti for most people.

fake beach
The cool light blue water is a sand bottomed swimming pool. Behind the stone wall there are pipes that drain into the ocean.

    My ranked list of dive spots:
  1. The Great Barrier reef off the north east cost of Australia
  2. Sharm El Shake Egypt in the Red Sea
  3. Key Largo
  4. Moorea in French Polyneisna
  5. Rottnest Island Western Australia
  6. Tahiti
  7. Port Phillip Bay
  8. Bull Sholes Lake on the Missouri/Arkansas border
  9. Quaries anywhere
  10. Kaw Lake in Oklahoma

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