French Polynesia 2014
We had the opportunity to spend a week sailing in French Polynesia with our good friends in May 2014. Thanks to Erin for documenting our trip and taking the majority of these amazing photos… You are welcome to sail with us anytime!
Good Morning Tahiti
After a few months of excitement building and a lot of time in the air we finally arrive in Papeete. Our first morning in Tahiti is overcast but still very warm due to the humidity. The Intercontinental Tahiti was a great property with a couple of infinity pools and one even has sand on the bottom. We spent the majority of late morning and early afternoon at that pool and its swim up bar.
We have one more day before our charter starts so we decide to take a day trip to Moorea. The day started out overcast again, but all is forgotten when we arrive at the snorkel site with the rays and sharks. The guide has snacks for the rays so they are all over him the entire time. It has to be one of the best things we have ever done.
Another rainy day but we are hoping that with our flight to Raiatea we will leave the bad weather behind. Not so as our tiny airplane has to make three passes over the airport before we get to land. So our third island of the trip also has nothing but rain for us. A short drive away is the marina where we meet our catamaran from Tahiti Yacht Charter. We pick up our snorkel gear and are greeted by our crew with a coconut drink. Our stewardess is Candace from Paris and the skipper is Fabreese from French Guiana.
We had the opportunity to visit several islands during our sailing adventure to include Huahine, Tahaa, Bora Bora… Each island was more magical than the last! Our favorite part of the entire vacation was the amazing sealife, pictures truly cannot do it justice. There was everything from sharks to sting rays and even manta rays!
We have a delicious lunch of Poisson Cru along with some Tahitian wine!
The promise of seeing the sacred blue-eyed eels are what prompted us to sign up for the 4×4 tour of Huahine. The eels turned out to be a bit of a let down but it was fun to see the entire island of Huahine. We did Poe Island Tours which is guided by Poe whose family appears to own most of the island. She points out her family or their residence for most of the drive. We make lots of stops along the way, first of which is for some archeological ruins, then a vanilla plantation and my favorite a pearl farm!
After our tour and one last photo over looking the turquoise waters we head back to the boat for an amazing lunch of sashimi with curry, tomatoes, garlic, onion and goat cheese.
We spend most of the next day relaxing, fishing and snorkeling…
And yet another day of snorkeling and beautiful views!
Before departing Tahaa, we head to another pearl farm where the owner gives us a lesson on how pearls are made and we have a chance to make purchases from the showroom that is part of this lady’s house. Pearls in Japan have a center of plastic but those made in Tahiti have a center made from pieces of shells in Mississippi. This particular location has a Japanese man who does the surgery on the oyster to insert the shell from Mississippi. Pearls are graded based on roundness, color and defects and of course we are mostly shown Grade A for purchase.
Having significantly depleted our budget we move to a coral garden in Tahaa that is free! This is a drift through the corals but first you must walk down the beach to the start. The water is very shallow so it can be a challenge to find a way out but also means great photos. Fabreese attracts some fish with bread and we are off. There are TONS of colorful fish and they don’t seem that afraid of us so it makes taking pictures every easy.
We head back for lunch, Tahiti drink (we thought this would be delicious so we bought almost 10 cartons and I think we only managed to drink two of them during the entire trip) and we are off to Bora Bora.
We head off on a four hour sail to Bora Bora and enjoy some great sunset views as we arrive.
We are trying to find a way to distract ourselves from the fact that it is our last full day on the boat so the day is packed full of activities. We get a tip that the motu we spent the night anchored near does not have tourists until later in the morning. If we go before breakfast we could have the island all to ourselves so that is exactly what we do We can easily walk around the entire thing taking in the surrounds and looking for any shells without a tiny crab in residence.
After breakfast we head to the main island for some shopping.
Our next unbelievable experience is to dinghy to the lagoonarium which is on a private island. It has sharks, turtles, rays, etc fenced in and we can swim with the sharks. Apparently there are not many sea turtles in French Polynesia because people still eat them! I don’t even know how many hours we spend working up our appetite swimming with lemon and reef tip sharks.
As we move to a new place to anchor for the evening we try to decide what we want for dinner. Eventually we settle on The Lucky for dinner which serves pizza and is just what we needed after a long day of working up our appetites.
Our last day on the catamaran dawns very rainy and ominous. Fabrees tells us the swells are going to be up to 15 feet in the open ocean. Right after breakfast the rain pours down but he gives us the option to snorkel at one last coral garden. We can’t see much so don’t waste time getting back to the boat. The weather clears as we sail on to our hotels and the land part of our adventure….