Tikehau Atoll is world famous for its rich underwater fauna. This exceptional diversity is to be discovered during dives in the lagoon or in the oceanic waters. You will meet tropical fish, manta rays and of course many sharks. Diving in Tikehau is a must-do activity for all visitors. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, the expeditions are adapted to your level. On the other hand, the weak current makes the adventure accessible to all. In any case, you can count on the professionalism of the diving centers.
What Can You See During a Dive in Tikehau?
The Manta Ray “Cleaning Station”
The adventure begins on a motu in the middle of Tikehau lagoon. An old pearl farm has become over the years the gathering place for several gigantic manta rays. They fly over the coral spats. There live many small fish, the wrasse, which rid them of the tiny parasites that cover their bodies. This spot is called “cleaning station” and becomes the scene of a fascinating aquatic ballet. In the morning, it is possible to see up to eight rays at the same time.
Shallow, the site is particularly promoted for first time divers. It is also the ideal place for the initiation of youngsters to the underwater world. However, the natural balance is fragile. In order to preserve the tranquillity of the rays, the excursions take place in snorkeling with fins, mask and snorkel. The experience is essentially contemplative because it must respect the animals. Feeding is forbidden. However, the moment is unforgettable and will please everyone, children and photography lovers included.
The Essentials of the Tuheiava Pass
Tikehau Atoll has only one opening to the Pacific Ocean: Tuheiava Pass. Because of its shallow depth and moderate current, the site becomes the preferred place for drift dives. Each dive offers a unique experience for the greatest happiness of the divers.
Carried by the incoming current, you will go up the pass from the ocean to the lagoon. You will cross schools of blue and grey jacks, triggerfish, surgeonfish and napoleon wrasse. The spectacle is breathtaking, both by the number of fish and by the thousands of colors that are waving in all directions. Further on, turtles, leopard rays and even dolphins will attract your attention. Sharks are never far away: white tip reef sharks, coral sharks and black tip sharks. Sometimes you will see large solitary predators like the tiger shark and even the great hammerhead shark.
This drift dive is accessible to beginners when the current is in. On the other hand, a dive with an outgoing current requires to start on the sides of the channel. Indeed, the violent current could take you to the oceanic waters. An advanced level is therefore required. Preferably from the south side, you will fly over a beautiful coral reef. On a long plateau, you can enjoy a unique contact with the aquatic fauna. During a dive at Tikehau, it is not uncommon to come across several hundred or even thousands of fish. The Tuheiava pass is certainly the diving spot to do during your stay in French Polynesia.
For Experienced Divers: The Shark Hole
More south of the Tuheiava pass, in the oceanic waters, is another must-do dive spot in Tikehau: the shark hole. It is a vertical cave at a depth of more than 40 meters, where a school of grey sharks lives. The descent is very impressive. The drop-off is full of small reef fish, while the bottom disappears in an intense blue. Grey sharks are discreet and the luck factor is important. Sometimes, only a few individuals will be visible. Other divers may encounter up to a hundred of them, when the school starts to move.
Only experienced divers can participate, and they should stop before the entrance of the cave. It is preferable to have a PADI Advanced Open Water certificate. However, only PADI Rescue Diver and Dive Master divers will be able to explore the cave and fly directly over the school of grey sharks.
Diving Centers in Tikehau
Undertaking a dive in Tikehau as elsewhere cannot be done alone. The local dive centers will provide you with the necessary logistics for any underwater trip: transportation and equipment. In addition, their staff will be able to put you at ease and ensure your safety for the best possible experience. In some cases, they directly take care of the transfer from the hotels in Tikehau.
Tikehau Diving Center : The Excellence of Diving in Tikehau
Among all the diving centers in Tikehau, we recommend the services of Tikehau Diving. This structure offers magnificent dives with conviviality and competence. We particularly appreciate an impressive sunset dive to observe predators on the move. The Tikehau Diving team shows an excellent pedagogy and a great professional sense. The equipment is of very good quality and the prices remain accessible. It is perhaps the best address in Tikehau.
Discovering Tikehau !
Tikehau is a small paradise for all scuba diving lovers. However, the atoll offers much more. The opportunity to spend a romantic stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Explore the natural wonders during expeditions on the lagoon. The activities in Tikehau do not only consist in diving. It’s up to you to discover them!