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Last updated on April 11, 2021
Maupiti’s “Fausse Passe” (false pass) is one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. By snorkeling in the pass, drifting with the light incoming current, you will be able to observe coral beds and a large variety of tropical fish.
“Fausse Passe” is the name given the two passages located between the motus north of Maupiti. Unlike a “real” pass, these two passages are very shallow and do not cut the reef. It is therefore not possible to enter the lagoon from the open sea using these passages, hence the name “false pass”.
The snorkeling spot is located in the narrower of the two passages, which splits Motu Pae’ao and Motu Tuanai (see map below). To snorkel the Fausse Passe, ask your pension about the available boat trips.
The Fausse Passe is crossed by a light incoming current and is explored in drift snorkeling. After getting into the water at the pass entrance (open seaside, north), you will let yourself be carried by the current, contemplating the seabed until the pass exit (lagoon side, south). In any case, follow the instructions of your guide.
On this spot, the depth varies between 1 and 10ft/0.5 and 3m. It’s the perfect water height to enjoy underwater life from the surface. In the pass, the seabed alternates between coral reefs (more or less healthy) and sandy beds.
A beautiful diversity of fish occur in the pass, including angelfish, triggerfish, many wrasses species and pufferfish. In some places, you will be surrounded by schools of double-saddle butterflyfish, seemingly fed by some guides.
Tahaa’s Coral Garden is another famous drift snorkeling spot in the Society Islands. It has roughly the same features as Maupiti’s Fausse Passe, although narrower and shallower.
Lunch on a motu is included in most day trips. Check with your pension when booking.
These spots are only recommended to good swimmers, in good physical conditions, and with excellent snorkeling skills. These spots can experience currents, moderate waves, important depths, tight or narrow passages, or tricky water entrance, and can be located near hazardous areas (channels, boat traffic, strong currents…). The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas can be important - up to 500 meters. The “advanced” category includes drift snorkeling (transported by currents) and snorkeling off the coast.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell.You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Tahiti and the Society Islands
Shallow lagoon area where manta rays come to be cleaned by small fish
Reef drop-off visited by Manta rays
Free shore access
Sandbanks and coral patches with rays and reef fish
Free shore access
Shallow lagoon with coral patches and reef fish
Drift snorkeling in a shallow channel with coral and reef fish
Patch reef with coral and reef fish