Sure, Poindimie is not the first destination you’ll have on your list when visiting New Caledonia. The neighbour town Hienghene, only one hour north, is more picturesque. But if you’re a scuba diver who loves gorgonians, don’t miss the opportunity to go scuba diving in Poindimie. We saw beautiful gorgonians when we went scuba diving in Hienghene and on the Isle of Pines. But the size and the number of gorgonians in Poindimie were something else. I’ve noted a few tips to help you organise your dive in Poindimie.
When is the best time to go scuba diving in Poindimie
If you’ve already read my article about scuba diving in Hienghene or scuba diving in New Caledonia, there’s nothing new to add about the weather and seasons in Poindimie. You have higher chances of having fantastic visibility underwater and no rain in winter (June – August). The sea is are colder (about 20-23°C), so you’ll need a good wetsuit to be comfortable.
It’s recommended to avoid planning a trip to New Caledonia in summer, especially during the cyclone season (mostly February and March). It rains a lot more on the east coast of New Caledonia compared to the west coast. So it’s also wise to travel when it’s less humid from May to mid-November.
The peak season in New Caledonia is during local school holidays, especially in summer around Christmas and New Year, and for Easter. Make sure you book your dives and accommodation in advance if you’re travelling during the peak season.
We once travelled to Poindimie in the middle of summer and during the peak season and still had a fantastic time and great weather.
How to go scuba diving in Poindimie: Tieti Diving
The dive centre in Poindimie is located at the biggest resort, the Hotel Tieti*. You can email or WhatsApp Tieti Diving (email@example.com, +687 51 34 73) to enquire about availabilities and book a spot. We didn’t have to pay in advance. It’s always recommended to check with operators that the conditions are good for the next day.
As far as I know, they don’t offer transfer from accommodations but you can walk to the dive shop if you’re staying at the Hotel Tieti*.
We dived with Tieti Diving twice (with six years between our two visits). It’s a reliable and well-organised dive centre. Even though we were the only customers both times, they took us to beautiful sites and gave us the full experience. We met at the shop at 7.15 am and were back before 1 pm. During the surface interval, they offered some of my favourite French biscuits (Petits Beurres) that we struggle to find in Australia. They can also organise afternoon dives if your group is big enough, but scuba diving conditions are often better in the morning.
You gear up at the dive shop and then drive for a few minutes to the boat ramp before hopping on the boat. It’s a wet boat, so it’s better to leave things you won’t need at the dive shop. There isn’t much shade on the boat, so make sure you bring a hat.
Are you covered for scuba diving by your travel insurance? It’s worth double-checking. If not, I recommend DAN (Divers Alert Network) for those who dive regularly. WorldNomads* and Covermore* also make it easy to add adventurous activities like scuba diving to your plan.
The equipment you need for scuba diving in Poindimie
We hired equipment from Tieti Diving (BCD, reg, and wetsuit).
The equipment was already set up and loaded on the boat when we arrived. I usually like to check it before boarding, but there was no issue with it. We appreciated the efficiency and not having a lot to do. The equipment looked recent and well maintained. Even if they are bulky, we prefer to bring our own masks and fins when we’re doing multiple dives as we’ve had bad surprises when travelling. So I cannot comment on this gear.
If you’re bringing your equipment and using DIN, you may want to let them know in advance.
Other equipment we were glad we brought
It is not mandatory to dive with a computer in New Caledonia. Dive computers weren’t included in our gear hire. If you don’t have a computer, you must follow the guide very closely to have the same dive profile. I find it safer and more relaxing to have my personal computer. It allowed us to have more freedom.
We’re always happy to bring underwater cameras. But our guide from Tieti Diving took many photos underwater and you can buy them all at the shop after the dive.
The guide will light things with their torch for you to see details or smaller critters. However, I was happy I had my own torch. The colours look so much better.
What we saw when scuba diving in Poindimie with Tieti Diving
Your underwater pics don’t look that good? Check out my tips for beginners to take underwater photos that aren’t blue!
You may hear macro photographers love scuba diving in Poindimie. If you take your time, you will indeed spot nudibranchs, crabs and shrimps. But even if you’re not that much into macro, you will still enjoy scuba diving in Poindimie. We saw the usual reef marine life, including white tip sharks and anemone fish. Don’t forget to keep an eye out to the blue too for a chance to spot some pelagic such as Spanish mackerels and barracudas.
But the maco and fish life weren’t the highlights of our dives in Poindimie.
I mentioned the gorgonians before. At The Magic Drift and the Chemin des Ecoliers dive sites, we saw the biggest gorgonians we had ever seen. And they were everywhere. It was spectacular.
At the Val d’Isere dive site, we were amazed by the size of the rose corals and branch corals. This type of branch corals grow very slowly (1cm a year), so you’ll only see them that size on a well-protected site.
We’re lucky to have dived the Great Barrier Reef a few times, including some fantastic sites in the south (Lady Musgrave Island, Lady Elliot Island, Heron Island). We don’t recall seeing rose corals and gorgonians as big as in Poindimie on the Great Barrier Reef.
Responsible tips: Be extra careful with your fins when you snorkel or dive on a reef not to damage the coral. If you can use shorter fins, you will reduce the risk of accidentally hitting the coral.
Where to stay in Poindimie when you’re scuba diving?
I recommend staying in Poindimié the night before your dive. We drove twice from Hienghene early in the morning (it takes about one hour) because we were short on time. It’s feasible, but you’ll have to get up at sunrise.
The dive centre is located at the Hotel Tieti*, so it’s effortless to stay there and just walk from your room. The Hotel Tieti* has beautiful, comfortable rooms with ocean views that are great for relaxing. It was a pleasure to enjoy the resort facilities when we came back from our dive without having to drive at all. We don’t usually spend much time in our accommodation when we’re travelling. But the beautiful room and the views were amazing at the Hotel Tieti*. It’s one of the most reputed accommodations in New Caledonia. They also have a pool, a bar and a restaurant onsite.
After scuba diving in Poindimie, the first time we visited back in 2016, we opted for a different kind of accommodation. We stayed in a chalet in the Nevaho Valley (called Les Ignames de Nevaho). It was a lot cheaper for our small group, and we always find it interesting to talk to the locals. We had lovely views of the valley and the river from the patio in front of the chalet. However, it may be more challenging for those who cannot speak French. For our second trip, we really loved how easy and straightforward it was to just book online at the Hotel Tieti* at the last minute.
Did you go scuba diving in Poindimie? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Poindimie?
Poindimie is on the east coast of the main island of New Caledonia. It takes about 4.5 hrs to drive there from Noumea. Remember it is recommended not to drive at night in New Caledonia.