With the outstanding diving afforded by the French Polynesia islands in the South Pacific, one would think that a large number of live-aboard dive operations would be available to choose from. Until recently, only Archipels Cruises' catamarans operated in the area. The Tahiti Aggressor now offers areas withn the Tuamotu atolls to divers.
The 18-passenger Tahiti Aggressor offers seven-day charters diving the Tuamotus. This is fast-paced, drift diving for experienced divers. Because the Tahiti Aggressor departs from Rangiroa, there is an opportunity to stay a few additional days on the island to dive this spectular atoll.
Since 1992, hundreds of divers have discovered the Tuamotu atolls on Archipels Cruises' catamarans. Orava is fast, spacious, very luxurious and specially adapted to this type of cruise. Four air-conditioned cabins can accommodate 8 passengers (7 divers plus one non-diver). In 2001, they have expanded their program to include twenty cruises to the Tuamotus.
The Orava catamaran journeys to the Tuamotu archipelago to discover and dive four atolls. The diving program includes dives on the atolls of Fakarava, Tahanea, Kauehi, and Toau.
Fakarava is the second largest atoll in the Tuamotu. Tumakohua Pass, in the southeast, has exceptional fauna such as manta rays, grey sharks, and seabass. Garuae Pass, to the northeast, is the biggest in Polynesia. More difficult dives (strong currents) are conducted at the end of the cruise. The fauna in this pass is remarkably dense and varied. One can see a great variety of sharks.
Tahanea is the Robinson Crusoe atoll of the cruise. This deserted 19 miles (30 km) long atoll is a huge natural pool with incredible underwater scenery as well as a beautiful coastline. Three passes allow a variety of dives with manta rays, dolphins, barracuda, and sharks. The pass of Kauehi is an exceptional, huge amphitheatre with many underwater caves and rock formations. Toau has three passes very close to each other, adding to the appeal of these dives which are as beautiful as the other atolls visited.