WHERE: Diving centers are found on many Tahitian islands, including Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Taha’a, Huahine, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Manihi, Fakarava, Tikehau, Nuku Hiva, Rurutu— all offering world-class dive sites.
WHEN: Scuba diving is available throughout the islands of Tahiti year round.
LOCAL DIVING CONDITIONS: Local visibility is approximately 130 feet. The average ocean temperature is 79°F (26°C) in the winter season and 84°F (29°C) during the summer. From the ocean surface to 166 feet below, there is only a one-half degree difference in temperature. A lightweight suit (1/8 inch) or even a Lycra suit is sufficient for thermal protection throughout the year.
OCEAN LIFE: Scuba divers can observe exciting marine life, from small butterfly fish and beautiful coral gardens to larger fish including napoleons, giant barracudas, mantas, reef sharks, moray eels, sting rays, leopard rays, giant trigger fish, tunas, grouper fish, hammerheads, reef white-tips and snappers. Because sharks are not as aggressive in Tahiti as in other parts of the world, it is safe to get close to them for pictures and observation.
DIVING AREAS: Divers can choose from a variety of areas for exploration:
Lagoons: Crystal- clear water fills these natural, somewhat shallow swimming pools and attract divers of all experience levels. These lagoons are filled with sea life and offer a wonderful diving experience.
Oceanic drop offs: A breathtaking setting with small colorful fish, bright coral and larger predators, this part of the reef is filled with deep oceanic blue water.
Passes: Strong animal concentrations, including big manta rays, turtles and sharks, are often found cruising through these channels. Due to periodic currents that develop with tide changes, diving in passes is restricted to certain daylight hours. When the current is flowing into the lagoon, the popular drift dive becomes possible.
SAFETY: Local diving conditions feature shallow water, warm temperatures, great visibility and an absence of currents —except through the passes. On these explorations, all divers are accompanied by an experienced dive guide who also is an instructor. In case of a diving accident, evacuations by airplane or helicopter are available day and night. Tahiti's world-respected sea search and rescue program is equipped with modern recompression chambers and a team of doctors highly trained in hyperbaric medicine.
DEPTH: Most of the diving in Tahiti takes place between 30 and - 80 feet. Deeper dives, between 100 and 140 feet, are available for more experienced divers. Selected diving centers organize even more adventurous exploration dives, but these are recommended only for advanced divers.
THE BASICS: If you do not bring your own diving equipment, reliable rentals are available through most diving centers. Generally, tanks, weights and weight belts are included in the cost of a dive. BCs, regulators with gauges and dive computers are available to rent. A number of dive centers now include all equipment (except computers) in the cost of the dive. Due to favorable ocean conditions, even newly certified divers find good diving spots. For those divers who want to receive additional training in the islands, most diving centers offer continuing diving education as well as the following certificates: CMAS (World Underwater Federation), FFESSM (French Underwater Federation) and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). NAUI and SSI are also recognized. Most travel insurance packages do not include coverage for scuba diving. Please check with DAN (Diver’s Alert Network) or your travel agent to ensure full coverage before diving.