My rating rates the dive operation, not the quality of the sea life and coral, though I was very happy with that as well and think Tahiti is underrated as a dive location.
So first about the dive operation. Top Dive is excellent. It has operations across several of the French Polynesian islands, so we were able to buy a package of 20+ dives that covered diving in Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Rangiroa. They offer Nitrox with no upcharge. (I separately reviewed my experience with Bora Bora and Rangiroa, so this review addresses just Tahiti.)
My husband and I did 7 dives with the Top Dive Tahiti operation. Our dive master was Lionel Garcia, and he was top notch! He was very focused on safety but also very conscientious about providing us with a satisfying dive experience. Lionel spoke English quite well, and he provided us with a thorough safety and dive site briefing prior to each dive. He did a great job of finding interesting things to see on each dive, be it very small things like nudibranchs or large things like sharks and eagle rays. It was clear he loves his job and loves sharing the Tahiti reefs with those who come to see them. Lionel did a good job of ensuring that we were able to go to a variety of sites so we could fully experience the diving that Tahiti has to offer. In addition, he picked us up from our hotel and drove us back to it after the dives. This was no additional charge.
Tahiti offered almost as good sea life as we saw in Bora Bora and Rangiroa. We saw lemon sharks, black tips, and reef sharks. We had an amazing experience watching about 30 Eagle Rays at a cleaning station twice. We were able to see nudibranchs, a plethora of fish varieties, and the coral was definitely better than what we saw in Bora Bora and Rangiroa (hard corals, not colorful soft corals). In addition, once on the boat, we had the chance to see a school of Spinner Dolphin playing near the reef two different times. What a treat. Having now dived there, I would consider Tahiti a dive destination, not just a pass through on the way to the other islands.
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