from 3 reviews
The reef is characterised by a gently sloping plateau out to about 30m / 100ft, where the reef steepens and ‘drops off’ into the abyss. There is a variety of terrain and fish life at different parts of the reef and with over 30 dive sites there are plenty of options to keep you interested.
The south side of the island is characterised by a shallow lagoon which empties to the ocean by passages or passes. These passages offer exciting canyon like dives with sharks, rays and turtles often present. Access to these is only by boat and we dive them from the outside of the reef.
The north coast of the island has the most coral cover with huge Porites bommies mushrooming up and forming overhangs and gullies. Turtles, Napoleon Wrasse and the myriad of reef dwellers can be easily approached on this coast offering great interactions and opportunities for photography.
There are a few wide sandy runoffs located on the northern side of the island, a favourite resting place of white tip reef sharks. The drop off is also accessible and looking from 30m / 100ft to depths of over 80m / 250ft can make your heart flutter.
The east and west coasts are typically steeper with boulder like terrain sloping out to the drop off.
PADI Dive Center
17th May 2014 by dive_champ
Visit Date: April 2014
I was really disappointed with my experience with Pacific Divers. First off, let me preface this with some background on myself. I'm a very experienced diver that has previously worked in the dive industry. My needs from a dive shop are minimal, get me a tank, take me to a good dive location and let me dive my dive and I'm happy...show me some things I wouldn't have found on my own and I'm even more pleased.
However, there is also a standard expectation of safety that should accompany any 5 Star PADI dive shop and these guys really missed the mark on this one.
First off, lets start with the boat. The "Dive Master/Boat Captain" couldn't steer the boat and was unable to reach the mooring line. Now to put this in perspective, we were diving a dive location that couldn't have been more then a couple hundred meters from the harbor. There was a little bit of swell and some small wind chop, but still no reason to have problems reaching the mooring line. Since he couldn't reach the mooring line, we threw anchor out and the DM did a quick bounce dive to check to make sure the anchor was set in the reef.
Then while he was going over the dive briefing he mentioned that they don't have life jackets on the boat and that everyone should just use their BC's for floatation. Found this amusing as laws in the States very clearly wouldn't allow this, not to mention the fact that there were two people on the boat without BC's (my wife, who was along for the ride and not diving as well as the second DM who stayed on the boat).
Next, the DM forgot his wetsuit, which funny enough he mentioned had happened a few times to him lately. There were probably 3-4 other divers on the boat, not including the DM and they were your typical vacation divers. The dive site was pretty mediocre (I come to find later that other dive ops don't even dive this dive site, because it sucks compared to the others). The DM led a quick dive around the reef, never pointing anything out to anyone, expect a turtle that shot by and had us back to the anchor line in around 30 min. Most of the divers were low on air and surfaced, the dive master went up with them (presumably because he was shivering due to not having a wetsuit. He I stayed in the water for another 25-30 minutes and he also left a 13yr old in the water on his own. Not sure if the kid had his Jr. Open Water or not, but even if he did, he is supposed to have an adult diver buddied up with him at all times and this guy completely left him. This was another major red flag.
Finished my dive, got back on the boat and they try to pull the anchor up. However, it's firmly wedged in the reef. DM/Boat captain tries to pull it off the reef by tying it off to the bow and nosing into the swell, finally it releases, and he runs to the front to pull it up while the boat drifts back and the anchor re-sets. 20-30 minutes later, he grabs his dive gear and bounces back to the bottom to swim the anchor up. 3 quick bounce dives to 40 ft within an hour!
Then they call the second dive. Conditions weren't perfect, but weren't that bad, and while we were calling the dive, Dive Rarotonga was out on their second dive with no issues.
My last issue with Pacific Divers was that I was charged $99 for my one dive trip. If you look at their website, they say a one tank dive trip only costs $80, but they insisted on charging me more than that.
Very disappointed in the whole experience. Did the rest of my diving with another op on the island and the experience was night and day.
Only positive I have were the toasties after the dive.
4th June 2009 by uwguy
Visit Date: April 2009
I went diving with this shop recently and had a couple of average dives, nothing special. The centre is run by youngsters obviously for a younger crowd. The lad that took us out must have been no older than 17. He was pretty confident for that age, but it’s not very reassuring knowing that you are being led by someone with not a lot of experience who’s younger than your kids. I admit that during the dives he did a reasonable job, but fell a bit short when it came to the briefing and checking divers under water. We didn’t have a real dive plan, as such, just follow the leader and down we went. Underwater the topography is pretty similar to the dives I’ve done around Tahiti. It’s rocky more than coral, but there was quite a few fish to see. After the dive, our guide didn’t show much interest about the dives or the fish. Of the dive shops I’ve been with over the few years I’ve been diving, they are unique in that with younger master divers the diving comes second to the social aspect of the island. This was evident with most of the chat back at the shop directed to weekend’s conquests. As an older diver, I would only recommend Pacific Divers if you are in the party 18-21 bracket.
19th May 2009 by TriJo
Visit Date: April 2009
While in Rarotonga I planned on doing a couple of dives but after my morning out with Pacific Divers I decided that wasn't enough!
I had such an enjoyable experience and made to feel really comfortable and relaxed that eventhough I am a beginner diver I went out and did a night dive.
I did 5 dives in total and each time was at a different site - all of them fantastic, great visibility and heaps to see.
I had such a great experience with these guys that I was planning on returning in a few weeks to do some more diving and my advanced but unfortunately flights are horrendous so I will be keeping an eye out for specials and returning as soon as possible.