C L A P I L U B A

FRENCH POLYNESIA

THE SITUATION, THE CLIMATE, THE CULTURE
THE ACTIVITIES
THE DIVING
THE DIVING CENTERS
THE ACCOMODATIONS
BUYING A PEARL
THE BUDGET
THE JOURNEY
THE FOOD
THE MOSQUITOES

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THE SITUATION, THE WEATHER, THE CULTURE
The easiest way is to consult the excellent website of 

THE ACTIVITIES
If Moorea and Bora Bora offer some activities (tour of the island, walking tour or 4x4, etcÖ), Rangiroa is the realm of the dive and there is nothing else to do.

Moorea
Renting a motor scooter is enough for doing the tour of the island (60 km). To note that the renters ask not to rise to the belvedere with two on the motor scooter because of the hillside of the road.

The Tiki Village theater proposes a nice evening with a traditional meal and a very beautiful Polynesian show.

Remark: generally, big hotels propose regularly shows that you can see even if you donít consume anything. Absolutely to see: show of the Beachcomber hotel in Tahiti.

Advice: spend your first days there doing a little of tourism and so you can get over with the jet lag before diving.

Bora bora
This magnificent island is a pure jewel in the middle of the Pacific. The ancient say that it has been deformed by the tourism, perhaps.. but still it is so beautiful that really didnít disturb us. The tour of the island (30 km) can be done with a cycle. The water is drinkable. Donít hesitate to sip a cocktail at the strangely very accessible price in the luxurious frame of the big hotels.

Rangiroa
2 or 3 excursions are proposed:
- The blue lagoon: to see if Bora Bora is not foreseen in the program
- The reef island ( heightened  coral forming) : not very interesting for divers
- More rarely Pink Sands because requires 4 hours of boat
 

THE DIVING
The dry season is from May till October and offers better meteorological conditions. For the fans of hammer sharks, it is better to leave between December and March. The local legislation allows you to go down to - 29 m for the levels I and to - 49 m for the levels II. The temperature of the water is between 26°C and 28°C and even more under the influence of « El Nino ». Note that the light is not really useful: most of the dives are drift ones and the night dive is rarely proposed and practised.

Advice: take a buoy, it can serve...

It is now or never time to discover the submarine photo. Nevertheless,  it's better to take pictures before and get to know your camera before. Verify the depth maxi that the camera can support.

Most of Moorea's sites dive are little exposed (few current, reasonable depth). It is perfect to start diving again.
 

Bora Bora's sites  are very varied and specifics: manta rays in Anua, lemon sharks in Tapu, spotted eagle rays in Toopua,Ö

Rangiroa's atoll, coral ring on the surface of the water, presents the specificity of wide passes, allowing the communication between the water of the lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. The dives are organized according to the tides which produce the various currents at the level of the passes: about every 6 hours, the lagoon empties side ocean, forming what one calls collectively " the outgoing current ", and after 40 mn, it  is in the tour of the ocean to fill the lagoon for again 6 hours, giving place to the famous " coming out current», ideal for the drift dives. It is this game of tides with inversion of strong currents at the level of the passes that favours the meeting with a fauna outside the common, due to its size and its very strong concentration,  making the famous reputation of Rangiroa's sites :

- School of grey sharks of reef
- White tipped reef sharks
- Black tipped reef sharks
- White tipped lagoon sharks
- Big hammerhead sharks
- Silky sharks
- Manta rays
- School of eagle rays
- Dolphins Tursiop and Stenella side ocean
- Barracudas, tunas, jack fish, surgeon fish
- Turtles with scales, green turtle
- Whale (convenient season from July till September)

Advice: to appreciate at the best Rangiroa, it's better to have at least a level II or advanced level.
 

THE DIVING CENTERS
We chose diving centers according to the following criteria :

- security
- Structure with human size
- hospitality
- Opinion of other divers
- Situation

We were not disappointed and we really advise them to you:

Moorea:     Scubapiti managed by Daniel Scubapiti
Bora-Bora: Bora diving center managed by Anne et Michel Condese
Rangiroa:   The 6 passengers managed by Ugo et Nanou

The supply of the complete equipment is included in the fare. But for the divers who do not have a common size, it's better to bring your own suit. Generally, diving centers don't have many small sizes. However of the temperature of the water, we met divers who complained about the  cold.

Advice: bring a little shorty of 2 mm to put under the suit of the club.
 

THE ACCOMODATIONS
Generally, the hospitality is excellent. We met some persons who were not satisfied with their home (neatness, hygiene, welcome Ö). Donít hesitate to inquire before choosing an address. The formula "pension" is to privilege. First, itís less expensive and second you can discover what means the legendary Polynesian hospitality.

Here are our good addresses:

HÔTEL LES TIPANIERS (photo)
B.P. 1002 Papetoai Ė MOOREA
E-mail :Tipaniersresa@mail.pf
Tél.  56. 12. 67
Fax. 56. 29. 25

The hotel has the advantage to welcome the diving center Scubapiti. The breakfast (correct without more) is served in front of a magnificent frame. A small shopping center, renters of cars and motor scooter as well as cash distributor are in 5 mn away by foot. Cycles are lend to the customers. Neatness and impeccable hygiene. Accepted check card.

VILLAGE PAULINE (photo)
B P 215 - 98 730  Vaitape
BORA BORA
Tél.  67 72 16
Fax. 67 78 14
E-mail : vpauline@mail.pf

Pauline doesnít prepare meal but just next, there is an excellent small restaurant with very reasonable prices. The pension is at 10 mn in cycle of the Matira point (doubtless the most beautiful place of the island). It is possible to rent cycles to have a total autonomy. The Bora Diving Center picks up the customers (3 mn in car). Neatness and impeccable hygiene. Credit car accepted.

PENSION  CECILE (photo)
Mme. Cécile SUN
B P 98 - 98 775  Avatoru
RANGIROA
Tél. / Fax. 96 05 06

It is doubtless one of the best addresses of the atoll. Cécile is an exceptional person that you should meet. The hospitality is warm. Bungalows are gradually all renewed. Neatness and impeccable hygiene. Credit car accepted. Do not hesitate to take the diner: the meals are excellent. The six passengers diving center picks up the customers (5mn in car). The pension is situated in about 3 km of the village. You can rent a cycle but itís not really necessary because hitch hiking works well if you avoid lunch time.
 

BUYING A PEARL
It is very advantageous to buy pearls  in Polynesia. However, it is better to visit a pearl farm to know everything on pearls before buying one. If you buy a pearl alone you will be able to see how perfect it is.
The choice of a pearl   (size, shape, brightness, east, colour) becomes quickly something passionate. Pearl farms sell cheaper pearl but uselly you canít negotiate the price. Ask systematically a certificate for each pearl.

Advice: visite a  farm of pearl to know everything on pearl before buy it.
 

THE BUDGET
If you can, it's better to reserve the journey by yourself instead of using a travel agency service. It is less expensive and you can choose exactly what youíre looking for:

- choice of residence's style
- number of days on each islands
- diving centers
- activities

Caution, Polynesia is an expensive destination, the bill can easily become very high.

On purpose, we donít give any prices because overthere, everything increases. Rates updated of establishments or pensions can be found in Polynesian web sites (for example: pension price in Moorea, in Bora Bora, in Rangiroa). Nearly all businesses (pensions, hotels, shops) accept the credit cards, so you don't need to bring currencies or travellers checks (just check how much cash you are allowed to have in a cash machine).

Note: Polynesia is not concerned with euro.
 

THE JOURNEY
Via USA or Japan, the journey is very long and the jet lag is not to neglect.

Advice: Take into account the jet lag before the departure if it is possible otherwise at least in the plane.

For the transfer to other island, take a good seat into the plane for the photos :
- Tahiti towards Moorea: left side
- Moorea towards Bora Bora: left side
- Bora Bora towards Rangiroa: left if stopover to Tikehau, right side for the arrival in Rangiroa
- Rangiroa towards Tahiti: left side

Advice: choose front seats to avoid the gaz of the plane' s motor.

Donít buy the airport transfers to hotel proposed in agencies. They are sold more expensive than the price of the regular bus. Furthermore, itís really nice and friendlier to take the famous trucks.
 

THE FOOD
There is no particular precaution to take as regards of the food. But caution, the water is not drinkable except in Tahiti and Bora Bora.

Advice: buy the fruit in Mooreor Tahiti, they are cheaper.
 

THE MOSQUITOES
The fortunate which go to the Marquises Islands will have the happiness to meet the famous "nono" (endemic mosquitoes). The meeting with the mosquito under its most known shape is inescapable on all the islands of  Polynesia. After a "mutation of 30 years of nuclear attempts ", they are tough. So, famous OFF or 5/5 are indispensable. Do not hesitate to put the dose. For night, the pensions and the hotels distribute anti mosquitoes.

Advice: bring another system anti mosquitoes

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