After lots of research about diving in French Polynesia, I read about some incredible dives in an atoll located in the Tuamotus.
The name of this atoll is Fakarava and it has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for the preservation of rare species. A small part of the atoll is inhabited, with only just over 400 people.
It took me about an hour and ten minutes by plane to get there from Pappete. I stayed on the north part of Fakarava where I did most of my dives with Fakarava dive center.
Most of the dives are done outside the lagoon and you drift with the strong currents. It is here that you will see most of the big pelagics like sharks, manta rays and even sail fish.
During my stay I also went to the south pass where I did some of my best dives. The dives are done in the channel into the lagoon where you can see hundreds of sharks hovering over the wall. The dives normally end at the Tetamanu Village where you can enjoy stunning coral reefs in the shallow water.
Diving with sharks has always been a passion of mine and I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world photographing them. Some of my favorite have been the oceanic white tips in Egypt, great whites in South Africa and whale sharks in Equador.
A few years ago I photographed some silky sharks in Cuba. These sharks swim in the pelagic zone of the ocean and are incredible creatures to photograph. Here are a few images taken while diving in the Queen Gardens.
The Turks & Caicos is well know for it’s sheer wall that surrounds the island. Starting from approximate 40ft to 55ft, the wall drops as deep as 6,000ft in some places.
Most of the dives in the Turks and Caicos are wall dives and typically you can expect to see some big marine life like Eagle Rays and Caribbean Reef Shark passing by when diving here. Some of the best soft and hard corals can also be seeing living on the wall.
Split photography is a passion of mine and living in the Turks & Caicos gives me great opportunities for it as the waters here are normally clear and calm.
The best time of day for this style of photography is around noon when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky. Ideally, the brightness below the surface of the water should be as closes to the brightness of the Sky.
Here are some split images from the Turks & Caicos Islands and Fakarava Atoll….
After more than twelve years diving and photographing the waters of the Turks & Caicos Islands, I still enjoy every chance I get to go back into these beautiful waters.
I have done hundreds of dives in the Turks & Caicos and each dive can be full of new surprises. You never know when you might get the opportunity to see a great hammerhead, a tiger shark or an eagle ray, an octopus or a humpback whale (during season) or even the biggest fish in the ocean, the whale shark.
Grace Bay beach on the island of Providenciales has won awards for being one of the top beaches in the world. With it’s soft white sand and great hotels, the Turks and Caicos is a perfect place to enjoy a great vacation.
What some people don’t know is that only a few minutes away from this beautiful beach there are some incredible dives. The wall is not as dramatic as the one you can find while diving in West Caicos or French Cay but there are some great dive sites.
Some of my favorite dives around Grace Bay are The Aquarium, The Pinnacle, Piranha Cove, The Cathedral and Grace Land. You can dive Grace Bay wall all year round but the best time to dive here is during the summer months when the waters tend to be calmer.
Caribbean reef sharks, great barracudas, Nassau and Tiger groupers are a few of the many species you will find while diving here.
It normally takes around forty-five minutes by boat to get to the dive sites around the north west point of the island.
Of the many great dive sites here, my favorites are Two Steps, The Crack, The Amphitheater, Chimney, Shark Hotel and Thunderdome. Thunderdome is great for night dives; accessible only by live-aboards as the local dive shops only take boats there during the daytime. Here you can expect to see tons of little creatures- great for macro photography.
Here are few images from a couple of dive sites around North West Point.