Rangiroa, my favorite island in the Tuamotus

There are few places in the world where you feel a strong connection to. Rangiroa is definitively one of the places I have liked the most since I started this trip in December, along with Itacare in Brazil. And my favorite island in the Tuamotus, diving was the best I have had.

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I think a lot of it is due to very nice atmosphere there was in the place I stayed at, Pension Plage Rangiroa. Lea and Loic are just so sympathetic that they create a positive vibe in their pension.

And Lea said it: she created her homestay as a place she would like to travel herself.

Pension plage 3

 

Pension plage 2

Simple but nicely put all together, with a view on the lagoon and a coral beach. The care of the owners and their approacheability makes everyone feeling good, and friendly. Most people are divers too so there is a strong connection between people in that aspect. People living in Tahiti, students abroad, and particularly a crowd of long-term travelers like me end up here.

They also have a ‘Roulotte’ (love this name!) where they serve amazing tuna steak (the fisherman is their neighbor, it helps!), and a delicious Mousse au chocolat… and yes I ate 3 of them in just 4 days. Why not?

So all good for me!

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They also have a super cute small surfer dog, that is just craving for affection from everyone!

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While in Rangiroa I visited the Gauguin Pearl farm. When you realize that for the smallest pearl, you need at least 3 years of care and work on it, with no guarantee it will end up a beautiful one, you understand the price of it.

huitre à perleFerme Gauguinferme gauguin 2

And diving of course, this is why I ended up to the atoll, to dive in the pass where they say the wall of sharks is amazing. I was also looking forward to see some manta rays but we did not see any.

Everyone told me, if Yves Lefevre is there, go dive with Raie Manta club. He is a naturalist who opened the first diveshop on the island decades ago, had dived with Cousteau and organizes some diving safari throughout the world for underwater photographers or production houses.

It turned out he was talking to other people at my pension the night I arrived. So I signed up for dives with his diveshop.

Almost everyone diving there are people who have their own diveshop throughout he world so all very experienced, which is very good. I was lucky to dive with them one morning down to 49,8m and we had lots of current in different directions throughout the dive. Challenging but still accessible, it was a great dive!

In that single dive we saw the famous wall of sharks, a huge spotted eagle ray staying in the courant right in front of me, and two… Great HAMMERHEAD sharks!!! See one below.

hammerhead 2.

One at about 40mtrs depth, the other one at about 12mtrs, he was looking for some food… smaller sharks Yves said! The hammerheads were about 2,5mtrs long. Apparently small for this kind. We were not extremely close but close enough to see them clearly for quite a few seconds.

All in all, we also saw 2 sailfish (blue marlin family), their shape is amazing, we also jumped off the boat straight above a Silvertip (‘tapete in French polynesia’) shark that ended up following us the whole dive -hum – I started t o swim looking back in the middle of the dive!
See the silver tip shark video below:

And also a Lemon shark, some Silky sharks, and the usual Grey reef, Black tip and White tip sharks. And as usual there huge humphead wrasse, tunas, trevally etc.

Then in the afternoon we were looking forward to see the dolphins, as they jump in the waves of the north pass every afternoon and sometimes come to see the divers. After an hour, we were desperate to see them, we could hear them closely though, and finally 4 of them swam at about 30 meters from us. We were so happy, laughing under water!

Also saw huge barracudas, easily over 1,20 meters length, 2 turtles in the current. See how this one was hanging on to the coral in the current!

dancing turtle - BEST

One of them going from the surface right down to me, I thought she would move but no, I had to move at the latest half centimeters to avoid a collision!

turtle that came to me 1 sec before i moved - BEST

That was so funny! That’s exactly the type of situation in which you need good buoyancy control. As I respect underwater life, I did not touch her, and managed to move quickly – well I had less than a second after that shot above to move- to let her go to the coral she had planned to eat just behind me. Yes, I was probably the only thing between her and the coral she had spotted so she took the shortest angle. See the video below:

 

After 4 full days in Rangiroa, it was time for me to go to my third atoll in the Tuamotu, Tikehau. Lea from Pension Plage drove me to the airport and… she gave me a beautiful typical shell necklace which made me so happy! Love this tradition of welcoming with flowers and saying goodbye with shells necklaces!

Lea et moi

So I told her, like I had told myself these days: Rangiroa, I’ll be back!

Nana! (Goodbye word)

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