Exotic Tahiti

Yes Tahiti is as exotic as all those brochures depict– it’s lush, green, full of spectacular mountains and surrounded by clear blue water. To get there is not hard but long….but at 2.30am Papeete airport is still alive with bands playing and welcome garlands of tropical flowers, alas this was rather lost on our band of weary travellers. Our first port of call, Fare Nano was rather unique - we stayed in gorgeous thatched fares set on the water and filled with beautiful furniture crafted from local timbers. Our meals were cooked by our hostess, Monique and served in her kitchen. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was great. The diving on the Iti Peninsula is conducted on the edge of the surf zone where steep drop-offs meet shallow coral gardens—the huge free swimming moray eels were spectacular. A one hour plane flight leaves the lush scenery behind and brings you to Rangiroa the 2nd largest atoll in the world. Most of the diving is carried out in either Tiputa or Avatoru Pass where the lagoon meets the ocean—As we descend into the crystal clear water for our 1st dive at Avatoru 3 "very cruisy" Silvertips come to say hello. The school of 1000+ Jacks become the subjects of many photos and the brilliantly coloured reef fish are too numerous to mention. On subsequent dives at this spot we did manage to see the elusive Mantas performing their amazing underwater ballet. The incoming tide at Tiputa Pass screams through at 4-5 knots, making close examination of nudibranchs rather impossible so we flew along gaping at the 60 or so black reef tip sharks sitting in the passage—this is very spectacular and in 25m in mid water whilst our dive guide, Stefan tapped his tank—sure enough within a few minutes a huge school of barracuda came cruising through, swirled around us for a while and disappeared into the blue. Other sites to see were dolphins joining the divers mid water, sharks mating, lot’s of turtles and Leon and Stefan were lucky enough to see a 4m hammerhead! The visibility was never below 30m and the water temperature a warm 30 degrees. Our accommodation in Rangiroa was at Pension Tuanake where we had clean and comfortable bures on the shore of the lagoon, but beware, most of the "pensions" are a prepaid fixed menu and you have to be a little adventurous and try the many, many ways they serve up raw fish—Tahition style ( When in Rome! ) The concept of cold beer in preference to warm beer doesn’t seem to have taken off in Rangiroa either —a little french goes a long way in making your requests understood, so go prepared. Our last stop is Moorea, a stunning volcanic island 10 minutes by baby plane from the main island of Tahiti. Having been told the diving was fairly average we were all pleasantly surprised with the pretty gardens of plate coral, the dozen or so circling reef sharks, the huge kingfish and cute remoras that followed us everywhere. Moorea has some nice resorts and decent restaurants ( steaks a-plenty ) On our non diving days we had fun touring the beautiful bays and beaches by "fun car" and "Crocodile Tom" entertained us with heroic tales and feats on our safari into the cradle of the volcano. Doug, Glenn, Geoff, Jim, John, Paul and Terry for making our trip another "good one".