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Shark-Feeding in French Polynesia's insider take:

It may sound iffy, but it's one of the most popular activities in the islands: donning a snorkel, jumping into head-high water, and holding onto a secure rope while three- to four-foot reef sharks thrash around eating chum just a few feet away. The tour operators who orchestrate this swear that as long as you keep all your body parts behind the rope, you'll be safe—the sharks apparently think the rope is a net and will avoid coming close to it. Of course, you're only as safe as the professionals who take you out. Bora Bora's Raanui Tours, run by the Tepeva family, is among the best. Their not-too-slick but soulful tours include shark feeding, stingray "petting," and a motu picnic. Leo will even put an octopus on his head on occasion to gross you out, and if he's in the mood, play a few tunes on the ukulele while you lunch (689-794-314).

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