In the lagoon
Most hotels supply fins, masks and snorkels for you to discover the lagoon. If you stay in a guest house, make sure to bring some with you. Underwater swimming is not dangerous if you follow a few elementary rules. Alway let someone know that you are going snorkeling in the lagoon. While underwater, avoid touching lagoon life to prevent accidents, or worse, destroying live coral. The lagoon is a very fragile ecosystem. Some corals or crustaceans can inflict painful stings. Be very careful with your fins, do not hit coral, it breaks like glass. Leave shells and other sea life where you find them, enjoy seeing them in their natural environment. If you encounter turtles or rays, approach them slowly without scaring them. The local Ministry of Environment manages a major program to preserve our oceanic assets.
For your own safety, please follow our advice and avoid trying to explore the lagoon after meals, after drinking alcohol, after long exposure to the sun and, of course if you feel tired or sick. Never go scuba diving a few hours before taking a plane. And of course never go far away alone. Beware of currents that are often frequent and sometimes violent inside the lagoons. Ask before you go.
Canoeing or kayaking also requires care. Beware of winds and currents and bring life jackets, hats and bottled water if you leave for a long time.
Finally, be informed that wearing plastic sandals or diving boots is STRONGLY recommended before landing on the reef or on a beach that has not been raked in order to avoid cuts on the sole of your feet. .
In French Polynesia, diving opportunities are plentiful: From watching fron the surface with a mask and snorkel to more technical diving. Each diver can choose his/her style based on personal experience.
For beginners, training is necessary. You have to get familiarized with this new environment, learn how to use your equipment and try it. A diver must easily get used to using a snorkel and a mask (generally sufficient in a lagoon). To dive deeper with scuba devices, it is not necessary to be an athelete. Diving centers initiate you to safety rules: never dive alone, never dive at night without being accompanied by a specialist, beware of currents in passes, become comfortable underwater, become capable of emptying your mask, take out and back your air supply while underwater, learn the basic communication signs identical in all countries.
Our recommended itinerary for
- divers (and the types of fishes encounteres in each island)