The tropical paradise of Tahiti is famous for its pure white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and brilliant blue lagoons. It should come as no surprise that diving in Tahiti is one of the island’s most popular attractions thanks to its unmatched beauty and compelling marine eco system. A diving destination unlike anywhere else on earth, the waters of Tahiti are home to everything from pelagics to predators and boast a diversity of big critters including sharks and manta rays. Comprised of small atolls and towering volcanic peaks, Tahiti diving is as varied as the islands themselves offering everything from deep vertical walls to shallow reefs and even shark-filled passes.
Despite not being the main tourist destination of Tahiti, the capital Papeete is the gateway to a number of popular diving excursions and offers a surprisingly good range of dives to enjoy. Just minutes from Papeete’s main pass divers will enjoy Shark Valley, an excellent coral reef featuring boulder and antler corals as well as, of course, sharks. Black-tips and grey sharks dominate the dive along with big and bold triggerfish. There’s also the opportunity to dive the Cargo Ship, a wooden minesweeper from WWII sunk on a sandy slope in 20 to 55 ft of water in Faa’a Lagoon. Nearby, a great place to fish watch is a twin-engine seaplane, a Catalina which is most easily accessed through the right-side cargo door.
As the most popular holiday destination in Tahiti, Bora Bora also offers some of the best diving in Tahiti. Thanks to the wide lagoon that surrounds Bora Bora, there are some wonderful dive sites scattered around both sides. A must do when it comes to Tahiti diving, Tapu is set on a gently sloping reef of antler and boulder corals but the stars of the show are the lemon sharks and black-tip reef sharks. The social sharks are particularly impressive, with the lemon sharks getting up to 7ft. A riot of colour and action, butterfly fish and snapper dart between the brash lemon sharks. A little further from the lagoon entrance, Muri Muri offers 120ft visibility and a kaleidoscope of vibrant corals. Highlights are the always-present grey reef sharks as well as turtles who graze on the algae-covered antler coral.
In Moorea, the beauty of the island above the water is matched by what lies beneath thanks to gorgeous valleys and coral canyons. Sharks are the name of the game here and what better place to get up close and personal with them than the 100ft visibility and colourful tropical corals of the Tiki dive site. Even without bait you’ll be surrounded by lethargic black-tips, grey reef sharks and the occasional lemon shark interspersed with schools of cardinal fish, big eye and blue-lined snapper. Add bait into the mix and you’ll draw triggerfish and butterfly fish in a feeding frenzy.