One of the greatest assets of The Islands of Tahiti is the superb corals to be found on the seabed of its turquoise lagoons. They are an essential part of the marine ecosystem of French Polynesia. A dive in the clear warm waters enables you to appreciate the richness of this magnificent natural heritage.
Exploring the coral reef is one of the most popular tourist activities in The Islands of Tahiti. These small marine animals are vital for the survival of numerous species. In French Polynesia, there are over 1,000 species of fish and 150 species of coral. Threatened by the effects of global warming and mass tourism, the corals are now highly protected species. These coral barriers form magnificent lagoons around idyllic islands such as Bora Bora, Moorea, Taha’a and Raiatea. Far from the Society Islands, Rangiroa, in the Tuamotu Islands is the second biggest lagoon in the world and is a perfect place to discover and explore the coral reef. While you’re on the reef itself, be careful not to damage it in any way. And remember, it is strictly forbidden to collect pieces of coral.
Diving to explore the coral reef
Scuba diving in the coral atolls in the Tuamotu Islands, such as Rangiroa, Fakarava and Tikehau, offers the opportunity to observe the rich marine life in The Islands of Tahiti. These atolls are very different from the high, volcanic islands to be found elsewhere in French Polynesia, such as the Marquesas Islands. Diving, or snorkeling in the crystal clear lagoons and passes is a unique and unforgettable experience.
When diving in Rangiroa or Fakarava, let yourself be swept in the current towards the passes. With very little effort, you’ll be able to descend quite deep and you’ll discover the magnificent coral gardens, which are home to countless species of fish; parrotfish, napoleons, butterfly fish, angelfish, cornetfish, octopius and eels, to name but a very few. Fakarava is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and many of the species are protected. In the waters of The Islands of Tahiti you can also observe manta rays, sharks, sea turtles, dolphins and whales.
Explore and protect the coral
The coral reef is a fragile enviromnment and in The Islands of Tahiti, its protection and preservation is of the utmost importance. The association, Te Mana O Te Moana, working in cooperation with numerous hotels and tourist professionals, proposes special excursions to visitors for exploring the coral gardens.
During your visit to French Polynesia, you can participate in the protection of this rich marine heritage with one very important and simple gesture: use an ecofriendly sun cream. For a more active participation, you can adopt a piece of coral in Tahiti and Moorea through the association Coral Gardeners, which will then be transplanted from their nursery to the coral reef. You’ll then be kept regularly informed of its development.