Diving in Fakarava

Diving with sharks in Fakarava south pass

Before coming to French Polynesia, we hoped to see big mantas and Pacific fish, all the marine life we couldn’t find in the Caribbean. In addition to seeing all that, we are learning what else makes diving in Fakarava so excellent.

One of the World’s Best Dive Destinations

We are very lucky scuba divers, diving in amazing places like Bonaire, Utila and The Galapagos. Our boat is equipped with all dive gear minus a compressor to fill our four tanks. We haven’t found room for one! This experience gives us the perspective to realize how incredible Fakarava diving is. We’ve been on some of our best dives ever in Fakarava.

Fakarava: A Protected Place for Diving

The Fakarava Biosphere Reserve includes seven atolls, including Fakarava. Registered with UNESCO, the reserve is a special place where biodiversity and conservation are promoted. In addition, French Polynesia has been a shark sanctuary since 2012, meaning no fishing for sharks or their fins anywhere in FP. These designations combine to make Fakarava one of the best places in the world to dive with sharks. The sheer number and diversity of sharks draws divers to Fakarava.

shark in Fakarava
We see lots of sharks diving in Fakarava

Diving with Sharks in Fakarava

Diving in Fakarava means diving with sharks. All over The Tuamotus, as in Moorea, it is easy to spot sharks, even baby sharks, swimming along the shoreline. We often spot them from our boat, dinghy, and sitting on docks overlooking the water. So it’s no surprise that we see them while diving in Fakarava.

Fakarava is small, and the village of the south pass is tiny, comprised of two boutique dive resorts with dive shops. The resort located on the pass has a bar/restaurant, and when they throw out the cooking scraps, the sharks put on a show!

Sharks feeding at the South Pass Fakarava

The south pass is the place for diving in Fakarava! Visibility is amazing, but the currents are strong. Our best dives in the passes in Fakarava were with a dive shop. It’s great to have the security of a boat and the knowledge of a local guide. It saves us stress so we can relax on our dives and enjoy watching the marine life below. Which in Fakarava means sharks. Lots of sharks. Shivers of lemon sharks, black tips, greys, silver tips, and more.

Diving in Fakarava with sharks in the south pass

What’s special about these dives is we’re not just seeing sharks. We’re among them. Sharks are always moving and with so many of them – thousands – they’re everywhere. They’re above, below, forward, back, alongside. When we dive the south pass of Fakarava, we are in the middle of the sharks. Mind blown. If you are a diver and you like sharks, this is the place.

Don’t Just Dive the South Pass

If you visit Fakarava to dive, don’t miss the north pass. It’s not as shark filled as the south (what is?) but it’s a cool place to dive. We saw mantas and a whale shark on our first dive there, so I am a little biased. The current in the north is also crazy, but diving there is cool. We went with two different dive shops and saw tons of fish and flew through the water with a really fast current. It’s an experience, but I only recommend it to experienced or relaxed divers.

fish in Fakarava
FIsh in Fakarava

Outside of the very popular and fast moving passes, we also dove within the lagoon in Fakarava at different range markers. These were good dives too, just different. We had some nice relaxing dives and saw a variety of Pacific reef fish, and a new to us very large – and poisonous – starfish.

Crown of Thorns Starfish
Spotted on a dive in Fakarava: Crown of Thorns Starfish

We spent much of our time in The Tuamotus in Fakarava, not a little because of the excellent scuba diving. Before we visited we had no idea but now we know why it’s a bucket list destination for scuba divers. Have you ever been or even heard of Fakarava and do you want to visit now?

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, scuba diver, cat parent, cyclist, blogger, love the water and exploring new places.

4 thoughts on “Diving in Fakarava”

  1. This is so cool! I love the underwater videos of the sharks!
    Fakarava looks incredible for diving enthusiasts…or even for newbies who’d love to see the fish too!

  2. After reading this article I’m dying to get back in the water and scuba dive again! We went on a shark dive in Bora Bora 20 years ago and I still remember it as one of the best locations in the world. I need to go back to French Polynesia soon!

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