French Polynesia

French Polynesia is a large group of dispersed island states located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, mostly between 10 and 20 degrees south of the equator. As an overseas country of the French Republic, it is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands totalling more than 130. Some of the island groups include; Tahiti, Bora-Bora, Rangiroa, the Tuamotu Archipelago, and the Marquesas Islands. These islands and atolls are home to some of the best big fish and shark dives in the world. As their location is absolutely remote, and population density very small, pressure on the fisheries is mostly limited.

The liveaboards operating in the area are few, and do not tend to dive the same places, so trips here have divers spending their entire trips in complete isolation. As most of the islands are atolls, formed millions of years ago by volcanic activity, the dives are often done as drifts along the huge vertical walls and channels surrounding these atolls. Diving in strong current can be common, but this is what brings in the masses of big fish like barracudas, jacks, and yellow fin tunas coming to feed on bait balls corralled into the deep channels. Schools of sharks are also very common, including grey, blacktip, silkies, hammerheads, tigers and even sometimes the elusive great hammerhead. The reefs lining the outer atolls are profuse with colourful corals and large sponges, and the deep water oceanic waters surrounding them supply nutrient rich waters year round.

The climate of French Polynesia is moderately tropical, with humid conditions year round. The average ambient temperature is 27∞C (80∞F) and the waters of the lagoons average 26∞C (79∞F) in the winter and 29∞C (84∞F) in the summer. As the entire archipelago is located in the southern hemisphere, the summer season is from November through April, with a warmer and more humid climate. And winter is from May through October, when the climate is slightly cooler and drier.

The diving conditions are quiet stable throughout the year, and guests can expect big fish on almost every dive. As the deep oceanic waters surrounding the islands, and entire region, keep temps warm and moderate; it also helps to sustain great underwater visibility, which is usually always above 30m (100 ft) throughout the year.

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