French Polynesia for new divers.

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MRodger85

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Hey guys. The wife and I recently got our SSI open water certification, and are planning a trip to FP. Both of us only have 5 dives. Just wondering if anyone had any insight as to where to go for beginners.

I've been reading to basically get of Tahiti as fast as we can. I know the wife wants to go to Moorea, and I've been reading on Rangiroa and Fakaravan, and wondering if those places would be good for beginners(ie. The currents) although both of us are comfortable in the water.

Any other places to look into?

Much appreciated and happy bubbles.

Mat
 

ColoDale

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The currents in the passes can still be fast on both Moorea and Rangiroa. However the the passes in Moorea I think are bigger and the current less. In Moorea, we dove around the opening of Opunopu bay and pass which is next to Cooks bay. There was quite alot of surge on the outside of the fringing reef at Moorea and Rangiora. Inside Moorea's lagoon there was some surge and it gets stronger the closer you get to the pass opening but generally quite manageable and many times calm.
Inside the lagoon in Rangiroa the dives should be calmer except again nearing the passes where you should expect some current and some surge.

Most dive ops there like to see CMAS certifications especially for depth. The Tuomotu islands passes can get deep with fast current. I did mine with PADI AOW and my log of the last 500-600 dives.

I have no idea how much of a beginner you are. The passes in the Tuomotus are probably a bit much for you with 5 dives.
So except for passes I lean towards Moorea first. Given little experience and depending on the SSI cert, I would query the dive ops on all the islands and get their opinion. They may limit you to certain dives sites - don't know. Bitter pill to swallow going all that way and not get the full diving experience.

If you go and since you have 5 dives I would definitely stick to the lagoon side on any of the islands for a bit and play it by ear after.
I will say that watching the tides come in on many islands in FP, there is an awful lot of water coming through the passes on all of them.

If you want calmer diving, I found Bora Bora lagoon side calmer and easier but generally less underwater for everything.

Rangiroa and Fakarava are very flat with no mountains. Moorea I think is more stunning topside than Bora Bora but the latter definitely has it's attraction.

Good luck
 

Altamira

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The currents through the passes at Fakarava and Rangiroa may exceed your capabilities. Having said that, when I dove Fakarava last year, I was paired with a newly minted OW couple being shepherded by their instructor. After the instructor took a good look at them on the first dive, which started slightly outside the pass, and ended slightly inside the pass, we all went through the pass on the second dive. Those two new divers obviously had excellent instruction, and were surprisingly capable in the water, given their low experience level. By comparison, there was a group of supposedly experienced AOW divers, led by another instructor, that had one hell of a time with the current, and the instructor looked like he was trying to herd cats. The bottom line is certification level and experience do not necessarily translate to competence in the water. If your DM/Instructor does not feel your capability is up to dealing with the current in Fakarava or Rangiroa, you probably won't be allowed to try it. Diving in Moorea or Bora Bora is more benign in my experience, and both are gorgeous to drive around in your spare time.
 
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