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    SOUTH PACIFIC
    Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu

    Romance, adventure and fantastic diving describe the vast expanse of the South Pacific, a region that includes Polynesia and Melanesia. Polynesia is comprised of Tahiti and Tonga while Melanesia includes Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Throughout the South Pacific, the topside terrain ranges from idyllic remote atolls that barely break the surface of azure seas to chains of large, mountainous isles covered by rainforests.

    The icing on this cake is that the South Pacific is home to many of the friendliest cultures on Earth. Almost everywhere you go, people are eager to share their traditions, which range from firewalking over hot coals to drinking kava with their guests to spontaneous choirs that bid visitors long-remembered farewells upon departure. Living accommodations vary from live-aboards to small resorts that provide guests with isolated thatched huts.

    Tahitian diving is highlighted by colorful reefs and current-ripped cuts filled with big-animal action. Moorea and Raingoroa are well known for hosting frenzied shark dives with Blacktip Reef and Gray Reef Sharks. In wintertime Tonga is famous for visits by Humpback Whales.

    Variety and color are the hallmarks of Fijian waters. Known as the “soft coral capital of the world,” Fiji has it all, from the coral bommies that are home to Blue-Ribbon Eels and Leaf Scorpionfish to nudibranchs, crinoids and anemonefish. There are also sheer walls and encounters with pelagics in the Somo Somo Straits and Astrolabe Reef. Deep drop-offs with walls adorned by rainbow colored soft corals and sea fans along with towering coral heads that almost reach the surface compose the diving at Matangi and Namena.

    The 645-foot-long President Coolidge, a once proud passenger liner turned troop carrier and now one of the largest shipwrecks in the world, is a feature attraction of diving in Vanuatu.

     

    Dive Resorts and Operators
    Aqua Dreams Travel, Inc. www.aquadreams.com
    TRIP-N-TOUR Fiji and Tahiti trip-n-tour.com