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Diving on the Paul Gauguin


jennyjayfl

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I was wondering if anyone can recall the cost of doing a dive trip on the PG (we are both certified already) as this is the primary reason for booking this trip and I just want to have an idea of what this will cost us. Also which areas/ports are the best to go diving? We will be on the 15 night Fiji, Cook Islands and Society Islands (5/22/10) trip. Are there any private dive operators/trips that you would recommend? Any other input you can offer would be most appreciated.

Thanks,

Jenny:)

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Jenny, believe the price for a single tank dive on the PG today is $95...when we

dove for 14 days in 2005 it was $75...we did use two outside operators to add variety

to our two b2b 7 day trips on the PG..we used boradiving.com for Giant Manta

Ray diving in Bora Bora..and (in Moorea) used scubapiti.com for an additonal shark dive.

Their websites now charge between $120-$140 for a two tank dive.

 

These diveops provided very good dives but for convenience and attention to dive

detail you can't beat the PG dive team led by Dominque...you simply stroll down to

the sports platform, gear up (the dive team has your weights/bcd all set up for you)

get your dive brief/plan..walk 5 steps to the PG Zodiac's and within 5-10 min are diving

in beautiful French Polynesia...Recommend for diving on the PG; sharks gallery and ledges as must

dives...Am sure others will give you dive recs for Fiji, et.al. On the PG when dives end..within 5-10 min you return

to the PG sports platform while the dive team helps put your gear in the rinse tanks/sets your gear up

for future dives..you simply walk upstairs to Deck 4 and head to lunch...diving is turnkey/wonderful on the PG

...downside is they only offer single tank dives. Have a dive blast r/Wes

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I was wondering if anyone can recall the cost of doing a dive trip on the PG (we are both certified already) as this is the primary reason for booking this trip and I just want to have an idea of what this will cost us. Also which areas/ports are the best to go diving? We will be on the 15 night Fiji, Cook Islands and Society Islands (5/22/10) trip. Are there any private dive operators/trips that you would recommend? Any other input you can offer would be most appreciated.

Fiji will probably have the best diving of your trip, provided the boat stops near some of the world-class dive sites that make Fiji a dive destination that supports plenty of dive resorts and liveaboards. I'm saving my future Fiji experience for one of those liveaboards so I can best enjoy the diving and u/w photography opportunities. At best, you'll be able to do two dives a day off the Paul Gauguin, while liveaboards can offer four or five a day every day.

 

I can't report on the Cook Islands personally either, but a diving friend who has been all around the Caribbean and a few spots in SE Asia wasn't too impressed. I've seen some incredible footage of diving/snorkeling with humpbacks off Tonga, but I don't know what the season is for them.

 

Finally, FP, where your cruise hits Bora Bora and Moorea. On our July 4, 2009 cruise, for certified divers the PG charges $95 for one dive at the various sites (Shark Gallery off Moorea, Scuba Tapu and Scuba Toopua at Night off Bora Bora), plus we're also paying $95/dive in Rangiroa and Taiohae, where your cruise won't be visiting. Diving in FP can be excellent for big animals, but it lacks the lush soft corals that you'll find in Fiji.

 

Note that the prices are $95 PER dive, not for a 2-tank dive excursion as you'll find in many other places in the world. This is more a peculiarity of FP rather than the PG, so it's quite possible they'll be able to offer 2-tank trips in Fiji for the same price as services in Fiji are far more reasonably priced in general. For some reason, even if you dive from land in FP, most dive operations there are structured to provide one dive in the morning and one in the afternoon. It's apparently the European way.

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Both Bearnaise and ColonelWes are absolutely correct. You can not beat diving from the Paul Gauguin. It is the most convenient system I have ever experienced from a cruise ship. Because it is a single tank dive you have the ability to both dive and then take an excursion to see the rest of what the islands offer. I found the dive schedule very amenable to diving and island exploration.

 

The reefs are in sad shape from what I believe is mostly the fact that they are infested with the Crown of Thorns sea star. However, you will see lots of sharks.

 

You can take a look at my pictures from a trip last June at the following site:

 

http://gallery.me.com/lottodiving#100029/Tahiti%20Diving&bgcolor=black

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Thank you everyone for all the info and great photos:). I was also wondering when we can sign up for the dives. Is it like the shore excursions that you can preboook before the cruise or do you have to wait until you actually get on the ship? :confused: Has anyone ever had difficulty being able to dive at the time they wanted to? Any recommendations as to how to ensure we get to dive on the days we want and times? This would become important if we scheduled land tours or other excursions for part of the day as we wouldn't have the flexibilty to go at another time and I surely don't want to miss out on any of the dives you all mentioned! I am sure I will have more questions as we get closer to our departure date and we really begin planning for this great trip!

Thanks,

Jenny

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The dive excursions are considered exactly the same as other shore excursions on the PG, you book them online in the same manner.

 

Yes, conflicts definitely occur, but those on the 7-day cruises with longer stays in Moorea and Bora Bora at least have two days on each island to do a little of each. On our 11-night Marquesas itinerary, we only get one day on each, so we were forced to choose between a dive and a land tour or other aquatic activity since it seemed everything started around the same time in the morning. We of course chose to dive! But Bora Bora and Moorea both lend themselves to self-touring via rental car which is what we plan to do with our afternoons, or you can always book your own excursion with an outside operator.

 

The best way to ensure booking exactly what you want is to book as soon as you possibly can. On our cruise, I thought the 120-day limit applied, but I tried booking online at 121 days and was able to get confirmation of all our requested dive and other excursions, though I had to call the Regent toll-free number in order to book second excursions on the two days where I wanted to and was able to double up (morning dive and night dive on Bora Bora and morning 4wd tour and afternoon dive on Taiohae). I'm now fully booked, if not overbooked, and actually looking forward to those sea days when we have absolutely nothing planned :)

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We did the Fiji-Cook Islands-Societies itinerary in November '07 and did a total of 11 dives, all with outside dive operators arranged by Dominique of the PG. Our cruise was one of those escorted by J.M. Cousteau, so there were probably more divers aboard that cruise than usual. Cousteau dived mainly from the PG Zodiacs and the dive staff tried to make sure that all the diving passengers got to do at least one dive with him. In our case, the outside operator arranged in remote Savusavu was in fact the Cousteau resort operator, so we got to do two tanks with him there. It was very expensive ($240 pp?). We wanted to dive in the Cook Islands but the PG didn't even drop anchor there as the conditions were too rough. We were able to dive at Lautoka, Savusavu, Tonga, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Moorea. We were able to put in our requests online in advance and those requests did reach the record on-board although the pricing was completely changed. I'd do the online request but be sure to go talk to Dominique after you board.

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Tombo,

Glad to hear from someone that did our exact (or similar) itinerary. I am afraid we will have the same problem as well as Jean Michael will be on our sailing so I expect there to be a higher number of divers onboard than usual. I did see that Jean Michael has his own dive resort in Savusavu. Are you saying that you dove with Jean Michael there or with one of the staff from his resort? Which islands that you visited did you feel have the best to offer diving wise? I thought I had read somewhere on a posting that there wasn't that great diving to be had in the Cook Islands but any opinions or suggestions of which ports we should definitely dive and which operators you can recommend (as well as specific dive spots) would be most appreciated!:)

Jenny

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We dived with JMC at the Cousteau dive resort. The boat was operated by the resort staff but Jean Michel was aboard and was in the water both dives, although he was not leading the dives. The dive boat picked us directly from the swim platform on PG and took us to the dive shop at the resort and then returned us to the ship after the dives. Cousteau was very accesssible throughout the cruise, not just on the dive boat.

 

I'd definitely plan to dive in Bora Bora and Moorea, and in some ways it's better to use the local operators (we were withTop Dive in each place) eespecially if you want to do two tanks. Any rental gear will be on a French standard, so you might want to familiarize yourself with BAR vs. PSI, kilos vs. lbs. and steel tanks rather than aluminum.

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Tombo,

Thanks for the info. How did you go about booking the dive at the Coustau Resort in Savusavu? Was that a option offered as an excursion by the PG or did you just contact the resort directly? Just wondering since you said they picked you up directly off the boat which is very nice (and saves time).

Thanks,

Jenny

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All of the dives we did on our cruise were arranged by Dominique of the PG dive staff and were charged as excursions on our shipboard account. Other divers aboard had made prior arrangements with local operators in advance, especially in French Polynesia, but I don't think at Savusavu. The Cousteau resort there is definitely a destination resort and I don't know that they'd even deal with day-trippers or walk-ins.

 

As I recall when we first boarded PG, there was uncertainty as to what dives were going to be available at which locations. I'd definitely get with Dominique first thing and discuss what you think you'd like to do and he may then offer you options as the cruise progresses.

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  • 3 months later...

Sawbone:

 

They did not require a log book in June of 2008 when I was aboard. They did have us fill out paperwork that included questions about dive experience, number, depth and last dive etc. I have never had a dive resort ask for a log book. However, I do have advanced certification. Almost all dive operators do watch you on the first dive or two and they are usually in ideal conditions. They save the advanced stuff until you prove your ability.

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