The sharks of Rangiroa. (Photo: © GIE Tahiti Tourism / Philippe Bacchet)
© GIE Tahiti Tourism / Philippe Bacchet

Diving among sharks in French Polynesia

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, click on the French flag below to access the original text:

In 2012, I discovered Rangiroa and his spectacular gathering of sharks. My dream: to go back and dive to Fakarava, another legendary Polynesian spot to observe sharks.

The sharks of Rangiroa

Ah, Rangiroa! This is the most famous and legendary spot that fascinates divers from all over the world. You can see a "wall" of sharks, when the current is favorable, at the entrance to the Tiputa pass.

Sharks in Rangiroa ... (Photo: © GIE Tahiti Tourism / Philippe Bacchet)
(Photo: © GIE Tahiti Tourism / Philippe Bacchet)

For my first immersion, with the excellent little center Y Aka Diving, in this October 2012, I'm lucky: the sharks, mainly reef grays, are there in number, about forty meters deep. It's an incredible feeling to be able to move in the middle of the bench. It feels almost shark among sharks!

The show is both beautiful and ... peaceful. The cattle swim in the current, indifferent to our presence. ????

No autofocus, no photos ...

With a beating heart, I aim my lens towards a big gray for a first photo ... In vain. The autofocus of my camera remained in "manual" mode inside the waterproof box! Can not do a single image ... ????

Frustrated, I still take the time to enjoy this fabulous dive, just with my eyes, before having to run with the rest of the team in the current.

The sharks of Rangiroa. (Photo: © GIE Tahiti Tourism / Philippe Bacchet)
The photo I would have dreamed of taking ... (Photo credit: © GIE Tahiti Tourisme / Philippe Bacchet)

On my second attempt, the camera works (I checked before launching). Unfortunately, that day, the bench is too deep, within 60 meters. Impossible to go down among the sharks, this time. In fact of "wall", it is rather a "carpet" of sharks ...

In Rangiroa, you can also dive with the sharks off in the blue, attracting them with a "smoked" fish. It's quite impressive: I invite you to return see the video I posted at the time, with a silky shark quite insistent.

Silky shark and diver. Rangiroa, French Polynesia. October 2012.
Silky shark photographed off Rangiroa. Polynesia, October 2012.

Fakarava, I dream of it!

When I return to Polynesia, besides Rangiroa, I will put the atoll of Fakarava on the program. The southern pass, Tumakohua, also has its "wall" of sharks.

According to the comments on the forums and blogs, the site is just as spectacular as that of Rangiroa and easier to dive ... I dream already! ????

UPDATE 2018. Arte diffuses aired in June 2018 the documentary 700 sharks in the night by Luc Marescot, on the expedition led by the biologist and underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta at Fakarava. An exciting film and spectacular images, about the behavior of these sharks, especially at night, when they hunt. Laurent Ballesta also published a book on this extraordinary adventure.

On YouTube, Arte then posted two 7-minute episodes of 360-degree footage shot in Fakarava during Laurent Ballesta's expeditions. I give them below (do not hesitate to "move" in the video to enjoy it, it's fascinating): 

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012