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Diving 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 wrasse 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 and giving a cruising speed of 10 knots, the French Polynesia Master is the newest liveaboard to ply the waters of this island archipelago, welcoming aboard 20 guests for 7 or 10 night dive safaris. Our 3 decks provide ample space for relaxation and dive equipment and camera preparation. Whilst our experienced crew ensure you receive only the highest quality service on your diving vacation.

Map-French-Polynesia-webFrench Polynesia Diving Itinerary

On a typical day we offer up to 4 day dives however the 4th day dive may be substituted for a night dive when the boat is anchored within a lagoon. A 7-night itinerary provides for between 18-20 dives, whilst during our 10-night itineraries, up to 30 dives will be possible.

The diving day aboard the French Polynesia Master is scheduled as follows:-

Light Breakfast followed by a briefing and Dive 1. Full Breakfast, relaxation period, briefing and Dive 2. Lunch, relaxation period, briefing and Dive 3. Snack relaxation period, briefing and Dive 4, where possible. 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 area.

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 to be expected and it is therefore recommended divers have experience beyond beginner level 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.

MV-French-Polynesian-Master-Deck-Layouts-webYacht Information

The Astral Star, a long range cruiser built by Codecasa and designed by Camper Nicholson, has joined the Master Liveaboards brand and will undergo a full refit prior to her re-launch as the French Polynesia Master, in May 2016. The refit will be overseen by the experienced yacht building team of Worldwide Dive and Sail, Jan & Frank Van Der Linde. with the assistance of  Camper & Nicholsons and Codecasa.

Guests may choose between lower deck, middle deck and upper deck cabins, each are en-suite and have individual air conditioning units. Communal relaxation areas are split between the middle and upper decks comprising of a spacious indoor dining area, camera set up station and guest storage drawers, lounge bar with comfortable bench seating and plasma screen, shaded outdoor seating area and a sundeck.

Dive equipment is set up and stored on the rear of the middle deck. All guests are allocated an individual set up station, with under bench storage for masks, fins and other personal items. A central camera table can be used to store prepared equipment ahead of the dive, with dedicated rinse tanks provided. Divers can take advantage of the on deck shower hoses or use the starboard side deck head to rinse off between dives.

The Captain welcomes you to join him at the fly-bridge, from where you can soak up the stunning views of the French Polynesian islands.

Schedule and Rates

Schedules for 2016

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Schedules for 2017

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Master Liveaboards offers a range of services to make your stay on board even more enjoyable. Land excursions are included in your cruise free of charge and the following are available for an additional fee:-

Dive equipment rental 

Nitrox 

Alcoholic beverages (prices vary)

Master Liveaboards merchandise (prices vary)

Getting there and away… The French Polynesia Master embarks and disembarks at Fakarava Airport. Take your international flight into and out of Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti and that if possible you arrive in French Polynesia 1 day before cruise departure so you‟re well rested before the start of the cruise. There are 6-7 flights per week between Tahiti and Fakarava (depending on the season), which are only around 1 hour in duration. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise will be just before 10am. 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 for 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 at France Diplomatie. 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 (CFP). The following forms of payment are accepted: all legal bank notes, international credit cards and traveller’s check. The international banks with foreign exchange offices on Tahiti and the most frequently visited islands are the Bank of Tahiti, the Bank of Polynesia and Socredo. International hotels also provide this service but be careful: some atolls and islands in the Austral and Gambier group have no banking facilities

 

Climate and weather… 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:
– US State Department
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

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.

Are there any specific local diving regulations?

Diving regulations within French Polynesia differ slightly from many areas of the world. Please note that Open Water and Advanced Open Water divers (or equivalent) are limited to 30 metres maximum depth, regardless of whether you carry the Deep Diver Specialty. Rescue Divers and above are permitted beyond 30 metres to a maximum depth of 40 metres. Please note that there are regular checks by the authorities that these limits are being maintained so our guides will be very strict with them.

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

Can I dive with Nitrox?

Yes. All Nitrox qualified divers may opt to dive with nitrox for an additional charge.

I am not Nitrox certified. May I take a nitrox course whilst on board?

We do not currently offer any dive training courses aboard the French Polynesia Master. For those wishing to take a nitrox certification course we recommend you contact your local dive centre or consider PADI e-learning.

What should I bring with me?

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).

Can I rent scuba equipment whilst aboard?

Yes. We offer Aqualung BCD, regulator, wetsuit, mask/snorkel and fins for rental on board. Prices per item vary however we also offer a package price of US$40 per day of diving. Computer and Torch(flashlight) may also be rented for a daily fee of US$5 per item.

Must I pay National Park fees?

Yes.

I’m travelling alone. Must I pay a single supplement or may I share a cabin?

For solo travelers we offer 2 options. You may choose to have a cabin for yourself for which we charge  a single supplement of 100% 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.

Must I spend an additional night in Tahiti either side of my liveaboard trip?

We recommend guests spend an additional night 1 day before cruise departure so you’re 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 are only around 1 hour in duration. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise will be just before 10am. 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 for check-in.

Do I need dive insurance?

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 our Worldwide Dive and Sail office or online through DiveAssure.