Many yachts have a dedicated dive master or instructor on board to enable guests to explore some of the matchless dive sites they come across on a trip. For owners and guests looking to take their diving experience to the next level though, hiring an outside expert can make a trip truly unforgettable. Christelle Holler of Tahiti Private Expeditions, a company that offers private, customised dive services tells The Superyacht Owner why adding one of their team can make all the difference.

Credit: Rodolphe Holler

Many yachts have crewmembers on board who have dual roles as deckhand and dive leader, or stewardess and beautician. While this is useful, they are often no substitute for a dedicated professional. “It is very rare that the onboard dive officer knows every dive area well even though he or she is a very skilled diver,” says Christelle Holler who, with her husband Rodolphe, founded Tahiti Private Expeditions (TPE), a company that has been working with owners and brokerage companies across the world for many years. “We bring our expertise of a dedicated area and adapt the dives and snorkeling trips to the guests' experience and interest, whether the group is all experienced, beginners or includes children.”

In Tahiti, TPE’s main area of focus, certain atolls and currents in natural passes can be challenging if you do not know the area. “Having an expert of the destination will allow you to dive safely while seeing the best of the best,” says Holler. “Of course, local knowledge and understanding of the local language also helps communicate with the locals ashore much more easily and arrange any other activity while onboard. The dive guides are often the main contact between the yacht and the shore, especially in remote areas.”

“Having an expert of the destination will allow you to dive safely
while seeing the best of the best.” - Christelle Holler, TPE

TPE’s client list is extensive; their team has worked with the owners and charter guests of everyone from M/Y Big Fish, S/Y Carl Linné and M/Y Octopus to M/Y SuRi, S/Y Silencio, M/Y Askari, M/Y Unbridled and M/Y Noble House. “Quite often we’ll work with yachts on both their charter and owner's trips,” says Holler, saying that they recently worked a charter for Silencio in Tahiti having previously worked with the owner.

Holler says that guests often start a trip interested in going on just one or two dives with a guide, but end up becoming so captivated by the experience that they keep the guide for much longer. On Silencio for example, the guests originally wanted an introduction to diving, with a guide on board for just three days out of their 10-day charter. “On day two they had already decided that they wanted the guide until the end of their charter,” says Holler. “It was a huge success, they are now certified divers and they are considering using the same guide next summer in another destination.”

Credit: Roldolphe Holler

In addition to their unrivalled local knowledge, part of TPE’s value lies in the fact that their dive guides can film the dive expeditions and play the edited film back to them just hours after finishing the last dive. Sitting in the main salon at the end of a charter reliving their underwater experiences and sharing their moments with each other is something that guests are unlikely to ever forget. Holler says that guests often start a charter interested in going on just one or two dives with a guide, but end up becoming so captivated by the experience that they keep the guide throughout the charter, become certified and request a custom film.

The islands of Tahiti are TPE’s favourite playground but over the last few years the demand for the company’s services in other areas has grown tremendously. “We join some of our repeat clients anywhere in the world,” Holler says, telling me that due to demand she and her husband have set up Superyacht Private Expeditions out of New Zealand to coordinate all of their trips taking place outside of French Polynesia and the brand is just about to expand into Fiji and Indonesia as well.

“Onboard dive crew are often very busy when guests are onboard and diving is not their sole responsibility, so having a dedicated person in charge of this activity makes things much easier for the crew and captain,” says Holler. “Not only are we piece of mind for the captain, we step onboard to make our clients' trip unforgettable.”

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