The Islands of Tahiti is a very popular destination with diving enthusiasts due to the variety of its marine life, especially the big species such as humpback whales, sharks, manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles. But there are other big attractions that you can discover beneath the waves with diving in Tahiti and Raiatea as well: shipwrecks! Take a dive into Polynesia’s past.
The main reason divers from all over the world visit The Islands of Tahiti, is for the incredible richness of coral reff, density and variety of marine life in its clear waters. In the Moorea lagoon, you can dive among tropical fish, blacktip sharks, rays and sea turtles, and for an even more memorable experience, you can swim with the humpback whales that visit French Polynesia each year to reproduce and nurture their young. The diving spots of Bora Bora, the Pearl of the Pacific, is reputed for a unique diving experience: swimming above manta rays and lemon sharks. Rangiroa in the Tuamotu archipelago is the place to go for an encounter with the best loved creatures of the ocean: dolphins. And neighboring Tikehau is home to stunning quantities of tropical fish, moray eels, napoleons, barracudas and whitetip reef sharks. But if you’re looking for something you can explore and has a bit of history to it, then there are several shipwrecks that you can dive to in The Islands of Tahiti.
The wreck of aschooner in Faa’a – Tahiti
From the eel caves of Hiva Oa to the coral gardens of Maupiti, The Islands of Tahiti has diving sites that attract enthusiasts from all over the world. If you like diving to shipwrecks, then you’ll enjoy the spot at Faa’a on the west coast of Tahiti island. There are three wrecks lying on the seabed: a Catalina seaplane, a Cessna light aircraft and an ancient schooner. The were small ships of about 30 meters that used to deliver goods and merchandise to all the islands of French Polynesia.
Both the seaplane and the schooner were scuppered intentionally to make dive sites in 1962 and 1976, respectively. On this dive in the bay of Faa’a, you’ll undoubtedly spot the Catalina seaplane first. During the war it used to fly between Tahiti and Bora Bora, which only had one landing strip at the time. The schooner was once a minesweeper, and although its wooden deck has disappeared now, eroded by the waves, its frame is still visible and is home to a whole population of little fish. This dive takes you to depths of between 6 and 21 meters.
The Nordby in Raiatea
The wreck of the Nordby is another well-known dive site in The Islands of Tahiti. The wreck lies close to the shore in the lagoon of Raiatea island. The Nordby is a Danish three-masted cargo ship that sank when it took shelter in the lagoon on its way home from Auckland in 1845.
The Nordby lies at depths of between 8 and 24 meters and is home to some beautiful coral specimens and myriads of tropical fish. If you want a more thrilling experience, you can also explore this dive site at night, which gives it a completely different atmosphere. Seawater prawns, black coral, surgeonfish, pennant coralfish, stonefish (be careful, they are extremely venomous), jackfish, giant trevally, angelfish, thorny oysters, sponges, nudibranchs…You’ll have a lot of company!