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Diving and Sailing Vacations in French Polynesia

Just say the words “French Polynesia” and what springs to mind are a plethora of small islands with stunning white beaches, surrounded by crystal clear warm water. Situated in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, this island archipelago is home to some of the most wondrous dive sites, where hundreds of hungry sharks gather in schools to be joined by manta rays and bottle-nosed dolphins. Diving Rangiroa’s reefs and channels you can expect to see grey reef hammerhead, black tips, silky, tiger and silver tip shark species cruising the reef, hunting on schools of snapper and fusiliers. Whilst drift diving through the 1200m wide channel at North Fakarava Island, you can experience incredible shark action, see huge Napoleon wrasses and witness marbled groupers spawning. A typical diving day will see you cruising through channels and exploring the outer reefs of the atolls, yet there are numerous of shallow dive sites within the Tuamotu Archipelago, each with stunning hard corals, sheltering all manner of crustaceans and molluscs.

French Polynesia Liveaboard

Built of steel, the French Polynesia Far & Away Adventures plies the waters of this island archipelago, welcoming aboard 25 guests for 7 or 10 night dive safaris. Our 4 decks provide ample space for relaxation and dive equipment and camera preparation. Our experienced crew will ensure you receive only the highest quality service on your diving vacation.

Itineraries

French Polynesia Diving Itinerary

On a typical day we offer up to 3 day dives however the third day dive may be substituted for a sunset or night dive when the boat is anchored within a lagoon.

The diving day aboard the French Polynesia Far & Away Adventures is scheduled as follows:

  • Light breakfast followed by a briefing and Dive 1
  • Full breakfast, relaxation period, briefing and Dive 2
  • Snack, relaxation period, briefing and Dive 3
  • Dinner

Guests may also take the opportunity to visit the islands and walk upon the pristine beaches.

Our diving itineraries take you through the Tuamotu Island chain, from Rangiroa to Fakarava, with a choice of 7 or 10 night safaris between these two hot spots, as well as a Fakarava-Fakarava 7-night loop which maximises the time spent in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Dive sites are typically channel or “Pass” dives and the route planning for each trip is highly dependent upon the incoming and out-going tides for each island. We dive the optimum tide for each site to bring you the ultimate in pelagic fish action. Strong currents and sometimes diminished visibility are to be expected and diving can be challenging here, even for the experienced diver. We highly recommend our guests are Nitrox-certified and have training beyond beginner level and a minimum experience of 50 dives, preferably in similar conditions to ensure maximum enjoyment. Dive sites also include outer reefs, plateaus and coral gardens found with the lagoon, where currents are less intense and many smaller creatures can be found.

Water temperatures throughout the year range from 24-28°C (60-82°F), with January-March being the warmest months and July-November the coolest. The cooler waters bring forth migrating humpback whales and the spawning of marbled groupers, with June/July being the optimum time to see them in large numbers.

Livaboard

Yacht Information

The 46 metre M/V French Polynesia Master has lower deck and upper deck cabins, each with en-suite and individual air conditioning units. Communal relaxation areas are split between the middle and upper decks; comprising a spacious indoor lounge area, camera set up station and guest storage drawers, with pillowed bench seating and a plasma screen. There is an extra shaded outdoor lounging area to the rear of the upper deck with more cosy seating. Finally, there is a sun deck on the upper level with comfortable lounge chairs from where you can unwind and soak up the stunning views of the French Polynesian islands.

Dive equipment is set up and stored at the rear of the main deck in a dedicated shaded outdoor area. All guests are allocated an individual set up station, with under bench storage for masks, fins and other personal items. A camera table can be used to store prepared equipment ahead of the dive, with dedicated rinsing tanks provided. Divers can make use of the shower hoses on deck or rinse off between dives with the port side deck heads.

Schedule and Rates

Master Liveaboards offers a range of services to make your stay on board even more enjoyable. Full rental equipment, Marine Park & Port Fees, gases and courses can now be pre-booked and pre-paid at the time of booking. Please note that there is a 175 USD per person pre-payable cruise surcharge on all itineraries that begin or end in Papeete. This surcharge is payable with the final balance.

Land excursions are included in your cruise free of charge and services are available for an additional fee:

– Alcoholic beverages (prices vary)
– Satellite internet
– Master Liveaboards merchandise (prices vary)

On-board pricing can vary or be updated without notice.

Destination Info

Getting there and away… French Polynesia Master embarks and disembarks at Rotoava Dock in Fakarava, Quai D’Ohotu in Rangiroa, or at Port Autonome, the waterfront in Papeete, depending on your chosen cruise. Take your international flight into and out of Fa’a’ā International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti. We recommend that you arrive in French Polynesia one day before cruise departure so you are well rested before the start of the cruise. There are 6-7 flights per week from Tahiti to Fakarava and Rangiroa (depending on the season), which take approximately 1 hour.

Embarkation time in Fakarava is 15.00, in Rangiroa 14.30 and 12.00pm noon in Papeete. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise will be at 9am in Fakarava and Rangiroa, and at 12pm noon when disembarking in Papeete. If you are not remaining in French Polynesia for additional nights after your cruise, please allow plenty of time for the transfer to the airport and check-in.

On arrival… French Polynesia is a set of islands that is an overseas country attached to France located in the South Pacific Ocean. Passport holders of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco and Norway only need a valid passport for entry. Passport holders of most Western and Asian countries are exempt from visa requirements for stays of up to 90 days, however, we always advise our guests to check for updates and changes with their nearest French embassy. Please make sure that your passport has validity of at least 3-6 months depending on nationality beyond the period you intend to stay in French Polynesia. If you are travelling with medication please ensure to bring your physician‟s prescription with you.

Staying there… The local currency in French Polynesia is the French Pacific Franc (XPF or CFP). You can exchange Euros or US Dollars against a commission at the exchange office located outside the arrival hall of Papeete international airport or at exchange offices on the main islands (Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea). Banks do not exchange money. Large international chain hotels, however, will provide this service against a commission and most of the main islands will have several working ATM machines in case you want to withdraw cash.

Most of the remote atolls (Tuamotu, the Austral and Gambier group, etc.) have no banking facilities, no exchange services and have very few ATMs. They also rarely accept credit/debit card payments and cash payments in other currency than XPF. Therefore, we recommend bringing cash USD or Euro and changing at the airport to cash XPF or alternatively withdraw the cash you may need for your stay in the remote islands when possible. In Tuamotu, exchange facilities are rare and hotels, pensions, restaurants and shops will accept cash XPF only.

Climate and weather… The climate in French Polynesia is tropical but moderate. Very humid. The average ambient temperature is 27°C (80°F). Summer 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.
Time zone… The local time is 10 hours behind UTC (GMT).

Health… In French Polynesia, medical care is generally very satisfactory and medical infrastructure is comparable to what you would find in most developed countries. The most modern facilities are located in Tahiti and mostly concentrated in Papeete.

Travel Advisories… For more in-depth advisories on travel in French Polynesia, please take the time to read the following travel advisories and heed their advice:

FAQs

French Polynesia FAQs

Whilst we have much information on our website you may find you have additional questions about our dive liveaboard, the diving in French Polynesia or general location information. Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions. Should you have other questions or queries, please contact our reservations team who will be pleased to assist you.

Diving regulations within French Polynesia differ slightly from many areas of the world. In connection with this, you will be asked to sign this Diver Agreement upon boarding. There are regular checks by the authorities that these limits are being maintained so our guides will be very strict with them. Diving in French Polynesia can be challenging, even for the experienced diver. As such, we highly recommend our guests to be qualified to a min. of Advanced Open Water level with a minimum of 50 logged dives, preferably with some experience with diving in current, and holding a Nitrox certification.

***Please ensure that you bring all your certification cards, including any certifications that you currently hold for diving on Nitrox.

Yes. All qualified divers may opt to dive with Nitrox for an additional charge. We highly recommend diving with Nitrox due to the possibility of strong currents and sometimes strenuous diving.

We offer Nitrox and other dive training courses aboard French Polynesia Master. For those wishing to take a Nitrox certification course, please refer to our on board prices below and book with our reservations team.

Yes, we offer full scuba rental equipment on board. Please find our on board pricing here.

Liveaboard lifestyle is relaxed and informal. Essential items include T-shirts, shorts, swim wear, long trousers/sarong/long skirt, sturdy footwear for island visits and a warm jacket or pullover for cooler nights. Shower gel is provided on board, however guests should bring any hair care or personal beauty products they require, along with sunscreen. We have a fully stocked first aid kit on board, but guests should bring any personal prescription medications with them (with doctor’s note).

Yes, we have Wifi high speed satellite internet available on board and offer interesting pre-booking specials.

Yes, the Marine Park fee amount depends on routing and trip duration and will be added to your final invoice prior to departure. Note that there is a 175 USD pre-payable cruise surcharge per person on all itineraries that begin or end in Papeete, which is also payable with the final balance.

For solo travelers we offer 2 options. You may choose to have a cabin for yourself for which we charge a single supplement of 80% of the cabin cost. However; if you wish to share a cabin, we will place you in a twin cabin with a member of the same sex. We do not mix cabins without express permission of both guests.

We recommend guests spend an additional night in Tahiti one day before cruise departure so you are well rested before the start of the cruise. There are daily domestic flights between Tahiti and Rangiroa and 6-7 times per week between Tahiti and Fakarava (depending on the season), which take around 1 hour. After disembarkation, it depends on your onward travel plans.

Yes. All divers travelling aboard the French Polynesia Master must ensure they are fully covered for all diving accident and emergency situations, including coverage for air evacuation. We also strongly advise our guests to obtain comprehensive travel insurance to cover against unforeseeable delays and potential missed flight connections. A combination dive and travel insurance, which includes the option for additional liveaboard cover, may be booked through Master Liveaboards or online through DiveAssure.

Courses

Diving Courses

Master Liveaboards encourages and facilitates all guests to continue their diving education. Dive courses can now be pre-booked and pre-paid at the time of booking. Please check below which courses are available on board or contact our Reservations Department via [email protected]

On Board Extras

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