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Last updated on February 12, 2022
If you visit Tikehau, you are bound to hear about the Pearl Farm. This old farm (now derelict), located on a small motu in the middle of the lagoon, is indeed one of the atoll’s main underwater attractions. This spot is known for the presence of many manta rays, which come to take advantage of the “cleaning station” to get rid of their parasites by small fish.
The spot is located in the lagoon of Tikehau, about 4km north of Tuherahera, the main village of the atoll. The snorkeling area is on the edge of a small motu, on which you can see an old pearl farm, now abandoned.
All the hotels and pensions in Tikehau can organize a boat trip for you to snorkel the Pearl Farm. There are tours to the Pearl Farm only (around 2 hours) or day trips, which also include a visit to Bird Island and a barbecue on a pink sand beach.
You will enter the water from your boat.
We mainly come to the Pearl Farm to see manta rays. They regularly come to this place (called a “cleaning station”) to be cleaned by small wrasses, which rid them of the parasites they have on the skin.
We usually see them at the foot of the reef (↕18-30ft/6-10m), on sandy beds dotted with a few coral bommies.
Manta rays seem to be rarer than before at this spot, and it is not guaranteed that you’ll spot them the day of your visit. Tours that take place in the morning seem to present the best chance of seeing them.
Around the station, you can explore two shallow coral reefs (↕3-6ft/1-2m). On the drop-offs, hundreds of damselfish and sergeant swim around the hard corals.
Wrasse, goatfish, butterflyfish, and surgeonfish are easy to see on the reef, as are blacktip reef sharks, which come and go peacefully in the whole area. In the case of wind or swell, the underwater visibility can become average on this spot.
Day trips usually include a barbecue on a beach. Check when booking.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
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.
Drop-off and shallow lagoon with blacktip and lemon sharks
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Coral reef with a vibrant marine life
Drift snorkeling in a deep pass visited by sharks, rays and dolphins
Coral patches with colorful fish
Free shore access
Shallow sandy lagoon with reef fish and sharks