The following is a description of the dive sites you may visit during your liveaboard safari as M/V French Polynesia Master cruises around the Marquesas Islands. You will be shown the very best of the islands, however there is also an exploratory element to this itinerary as well so this will likely include sites that are little known or being dived for the very first time.
Every attempt will be made to ensure that the number of dives scheduled is fulfilled, however, bad weather can hinder the yacht’s ability to reach a specified dive site in good time. The safety of all on board is paramount and the team will always do their best to offering diving at alternate locations should they be unable to visit those sites listed below.
Your Cruise Director will schedule up to 4 dives per day; 3 day dives and either a sunset or a night dive.
The diving day has a typical schedule as follows:
For your final full day aboard we schedule 2 morning dives to allow plenty of time for off - gassing before disembarkation the following morning and your flight home. The Cruise Director is happy to listen to requests from guests to visit or remain at certain sites and providing it is possible and the schedule allows, then guest’s requests are respected.
The Hammerhead Sentinel
Named for the Scalloped Hammerheads that can be spotted here, this site offers a quandary for the photographer. Whilst there is always the chance of Hammerheads, as well as Grey Reef and other shark species, the macro life here is amazing too! Multiple dives will offer the chance to break out your lens collection to see dragon eels, boxer crabs and various Nudibranchs.
A must see for both divers and snorkelers alike, as long as there are calm seas. Though they can be seen elsewhere, this site on the east of Nuku Hiva is one of the best spots for seeing Melon headed Whales (closely related to the pygmy killer whale). These playful and curious mammals leap in the surf and don’t take too much encouragement to investigate those in the water.
This rocky outcropping is on the western portion of Nuku Hiva. The wall drops away steeply from the island here and offers an abundance of masked morays, dragon eels and more. Manta rays are often seen here as well as the occasional shark cruising the reef.
Exposed to open sea currents, this site acts as magnet for large pelagic. Several species, in particular Hammerheads and White Tip Reef Sharks, come here along with schools of Trevally and Barracuda to hunt on the schools of Red and Black Snapper. There is also a great chance for Manta here in the currents!
Spectacular before even jumping in the water, this is a perfect place for spotting both pelagic and reef species in large active numbers.
Currents can be strong here but you are rewarded with schools of Trevallies, Unicorn Fish and Barracuda. There are also often groups of Eagle Rays as well as a plethora of reef species and White Tip Reef Sharks cruising.
A large cave, with two chambers awaits here with not only groups of Stingrays and Giant Lobsters, but also interesting natural phenomena. There is a vertical tube filled with fresh water from above, as well as a large air pocket, large enough to take a break and have a quick chat before continuing.
Dulcinea Dulcinea is a rocky sea mount that just brushes the surface in a protected bay. While the site is often covered with Snapper, Urchins, Lobesters and other Crustaceans there is a large tunnel joining the two sides of the site that should be investigated, if only for the huge groups of Soldier Fish waiting at each entrance.
The top of this large sea mount is at only 9m, thought he walls below drop away beyond 1500m so as you can imagine, this site boasts plenty of Sharks, Barracuda, Tuna and even passing Mantas. All covered with healthy hard corals.
Another open sea shoal, far to the west of Clark Bank, Loson tops out at 17m before dropping away to depths of more than 1000m.
Again, you can expect lots of pelagic action in the big open blue!
Fatu Hiva Island
Something a little more sedate after the high energy current and pinnacle diving,
Fatu Hiva has some spectacular scenery, both above and below the water. The towering spires that encircle Hanavava Bay drop steeply into the water below leading to a rocky reef that is abundant with anemones, three - spot damsels, cowries and eels.
Ua Huka Island
Beginning with a rocky substrate, the bottom here transforms into sand in deeper water. Mantas are frequent visitors to this site and while you wait, on the sandy bottom, shrimp gobies stand guard as their blind shrimp companions diligently keep their hideaways clean.
Important information about diving in French Polynesia
This itinerary involves some long distance travel and whilst we attempt to ensure the number of dives we have scheduled is fulfilled, bad weather can hinder the boat’s ability to reach a specified dive site in good time. Many islands require the yacht to move within the atoll for safe overnight anchorage. Your cruise director and captain will therefore plan the best route for entry to the atolls and to hit the channel currents at the optimum time for diving.
We wish to show you the very best diving possible yet the safety of all on board remains paramount. In the unlikely event we are unable to reach a specified dive site; we always do our best in offering diving at alternative locations.
Diving in French Polynesia can be challenging, even for the experienced diver. At many sites currents can be strong and whilst visibility is typically 20m+ it may diminish due to an influx of nutrients. Due to the strength of currents, diving at night is not always an option. We will offer 4 day dives, but the fourth day dive may be substituted for a night dive where suitable.
Water temperature in French Polynesia ranges from 24-28°C (75-82°F) with June-October being the coldest months, however there can be regional thermoclines and fluctuations. For most guests a 3mm long wetsuit will be sufficient, however those who feel the cold easily may wish to bring thicker exposure protection.
Should you have any questions or queries concerning the dive sites or whether this itinerary is suitable for your experience level, please contact our team who will be pleased to assist and advise you.