Apart from being famous for Tahitian pearls and various species of lovebirds, French Polynesia is a spell-binding locale with jaw-dropping landscapes and picture perfect turquoise lagoons. The epitome of paradise, it is an ideal place for newlyweds looking for over-the-top romantic resorts and diving enthusiasts looking for their next tropical fix. Some of the most coveted destinations here include Bora Bora, Raiatea, Huahine, Moorea, Tahiti, Tikehau, Nuku Hiva, Tubuai, Rurutu, Rangiroa and Manih. The delights on offer in these archipelagos are spread out over an area as large as Europe. The wide variety of activities offered includes diving, snorkelling, cliff jumping and kayaking. Adventure seekers will definitely not be disappointed.
Marine life in French Polynesia
With more than eight hundred species of marine wildlife, the clear waters surrounding the islands teem with stunning aquatic sights. Regular encounters include manta rays, whose colossal wingspan shroud passing divers, clown fish darting amidst sea anemones and ultra-colourful parrotfish frantically scurrying from one reef to another. Southern Stingrays, mostly found in the shallow waters of Bora Bora, are the major attraction of ‘shark and sting ray’ feeding tours. There is no better way to experience the underwater-forest than to plunge into the clear blue waters yourself!
Diving in Bora
Bora Bora is known for its exceptional natural beauty and diversity of coral and fish species. This lagoon contains remarkably pristine ecosystems and is home to a number of emblematic and endangered marine species like loggerhead sea turtles, eyestripe surgeonfish and blue-spotted jacks. Therefore, it is not surprising that diving in this beautiful lagoon is on the ‘must-do’ list of any serious diver. Located on the tropic of Capricorn, Bora Bora experiences an arid climate with little rain fall. Consequently, the waters are free of silt and can be explored throughout the year.
It is not uncommon for divers to be accompanied by legions of giant manta rays gliding elegantly within arm’s reach while humpback whales are common in deeper waters. Temperatures hover in the 20s throughout the year, and the warm waters are perfect for snorkelling, swimming and diving. Although small in number, Bora Bora offers an exceptional variety of dive sites. Some of the most popular diving sites in Bora Bora are listed below.
Tapu is one of the most popular sites in Bora Bora to spot lemon sharks. The mooring depth of the water is around 30 feet. Coral craters on the ocean floor harbour a wide variety of marine life. From the coral drop off, divers can spot bronze and red solder fish, butterfly fish and bluefin jacks. Lucky divers may even spot the majestic lemon shark accompanied by remoras. This diving site is perfect for amateur divers and for those looking to get back into the groove before undertaking tougher assignments.
Better known as the White Valley, this coral plateau is perfectly situated for easy access to the some of the most spectacular sites around Bora Bora Island. Not only does this island play host to a large number of fishes, it provides a picture-perfect photographic haven for snorkelling and scuba diving. Bottleneck dolphins are sighted regularly here and can be found throughout the year. Along with grey sharks, the reef is frequented by Heller Baracudas, emperor fish, jackfish and parrotfish. A special feature of Muri Muri is the amazing drift dives possible because of tidal movement through constricted channels among the coral reefs. However, these dives are recommended only for experienced divers.
Haapiti’s lush green looks and white sandy beaches epitomize the typical picture-perfect image of an isolated tropical island. The flora and fauna here are virtually untouched by man. It is rich with exotic marine life and splendid undersea flora fringing the coral reefs. The entrance to the lagoon is framed with small caves and scenic coral passes. Lemon and Grey Reef sharks are the main attractions of this dive site.
Located to the west of Bora Bora, it is the only navigable pass through which schools of tuna and barracudas travel in and out of the lagoon. With purple-coloured walls and seabed grass, diving into the Tevanui Pass reveals treats at every corner. It shelters almost one quarter of the marine life found in Bora Bora, providing a living backdrop to a number of multicoloured fish darting between blue-green algae. A large number of pelagic species like giant wrasses, eels and white tips can be found here from mid-August to November.
Born from the crater of an ancient volcano, Topua’s verdant tropical slopes run down into the brilliant blue hues of the encircling atoll. Tropical fishes cluster along the walls of the reef. In shallow waters, divers can find sting ray and manta rays feeding on molluscs and crustaceans. Needless to say, diving in these waters is a feast for the eyes and presents a unique combination of marine life found only around ancient volcanic sites.
Anua is a tantalising tropical treasure located on the eastern coast of Bora Bora’s main island. This spot is a must-visit for anyone who loves coral reefs, as the island is blessed with magnificent rose corals which grow extensively along the reef slopes and contain abundant marine life. Divers can zigzag in the coral labyrinths home to mullet and tigerfish which swim frenetically in an out of the reefs. It is also called the ‘Manta Ray Channel’ due to the fact that hundreds of manta rays frequent this atoll.
Tupai is one of the more untouched islands of Bora Bora, with an enchanting atmosphere and sheer physical beauty. Located five kilometres from Bora Bora, it promises a breathtaking landscape and stunning underwater visibility along with beautiful coral gardens and bluish-red underwater seawalls. Eagle rays, Barracuda and turtles along with a plethora of colourful reef fishes bestow a spectacular vista on divers.
Who to Dive With?
We recommend Diveasy in Bora Bora who offer both discovery dives for beginners and private dives for intermediate and advanced divers. Dive Easy are here to offer people a relaxing dive on their own terms - not a mass tourism dive experience. Personal diving means you get to plan and dive where and when you wish as opposed to being restricted by time and destination in Bora Bora.