in December and January
The French Polynesia has inspired some of the world’s greatest creatives, from the author Robert Louis Stevenson to painter Paul Gauguin, and is popular with sailors worldwide. It’s not hard to see why these remote groups of islands, each with their own character, are known as the textbook definition of paradise.
Cruise the Society Islands and the Windward Islands of Tahiti, and Moorea, and the Leeward Islands of Huahine, Bora-Bora, Tahaa, and Raiatea, the ‘Sacred Island’, where you’ll begin your charter adventure. You’ll find mountainous peaks that jut into blue skies and glittering lagoons to explore. Get close to nature in the South Pacific by swimming and snorkelling with rays, turtles and colourful marine life. Don’t forget to join in traditional Tahitian dancing ashore and try the fabulous local dishes, such as marinated raw fish with coconut milk.
February - April
Tahiti offers a cruising ground with line-of-sight navigation in the calm waters behind the reefs and exhilarating open-water passages. Wind speeds generally range from 10-15 knots and the tidal range is negligible, but narrow passes between reefs need careful navigation. Temperatures range from a low of 25ºC to a high of 35ºC in summer. The ideal sailing time in Tahiti is April to October. Keep in mind that wind speeds between July and August can reach 20-25 knots, creating swells of 3-5 feet, which makes this a location for an experienced sailor.
You can fly to Los Angeles with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic from the UK and onto Tahiti’s Papeete international Airport (PPT) with the national carrier, Air Tahiti Nui. For the US, you can fly with Qantas or the national carrier direct to Papeete.
Take your time to explore Papeete-Tahiti before taking a local charter plane to Raiatea. The base is just a short drive from the local airport.
Day 1 Raiatea to Tahaa
While in Tahaa you can visit the Hibiscus Sea Turtle Protection sanctuary. At the black pearl farm you can see how pearls are cultured from the large Black Lip Oysters and made into exquisite jewellery.
Day 2 Tahaa to Bora Bora
Bora Bora is surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef, and in the centre of the island are the remains of a volcano. You can visit WWII cannons on the island. Luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, hibiscus blooms in the valleys, and the clear waters are full of colourful fish.
Day 3 Bora Bora Lagoon with The Coral Garden
The Coral Garden is the best snorkelling spot in Bora Bora. Aside from pretty coral, keep your eyes open for everything from sting rays to reef sharks, eels to octopus.
Day 4 Bora Bora Lagoon,
Have a cocktail under a thatched roof on the shore as you listen to live music. On the south side of Vaitape is a trail leading to the summit of Mt. Pahia, where you will get stunning views of the lagoon and island.
Day 5 Bora Bora to Tahaa
Tahaa is home to a vanilla plantation that you can tour.
Day 6 Tahaa to Motu Ceran
Located just off the southeasten edge of Tahaa, the glistening jewel of Motu Ceran is the epitome of a deserted island. Picnic on the beach, bask in the warm Polynesian sun, and swim in the clear water.
Day 7 Motu Ceran back to base
Day 1: Apu Bay (3nm)
Sail the short distance from Uturoa to Apu Bay where the sweet scent of vanilla will waft across the water.
Day 2: Bora Bora Yacht Club (23nm)
As you approach Bora Bora you will see the soaring peak of Mt. Otemanu rising above the sea. Head through the reef pass into the lagoon and then go onshore to the yacht club, a famous fathering place for world cruisers.
Day 3: Taurere (8nm)
On your way to Taurere you will pass exquisite coral formations popular for snorkelling. At Taurere, take the dinghy around Pt. Faaroone and anchor south of the motu in sand. Stroll along the coast collecting shells and taking in the beauty of the nearby mountains.
Day 4: Pt. Raititi (10nm)
Shopping, art galleries, and fine beaches await you at this next stop.
Day 5: Faaroa Bay (37nm)
Located on the east side of Raiatea, Faaroa Bay is a fjord-like with lush mountains on either side. Explore the Aopomau River by dingy, passing working plantations.
Day 6: Opoa Bay (5nm)
Exlore the little village and archaeological site of Taputapuatea Marea. The site dates back to around 1,000 AD and was a place sacrifices to the gods. It was last restored in 1994 and features a great stone altar and stone figures called Tikis.
Day 7: Fare Village (21nm)
Fare Village is the main town on Huadhine, and it offers a variety of restuarants and shops where you can pick up more provisions. Consider an afternoon of horseback riding or just sip a cool drink at the Huahine Shack, a tropical bar catering to world cruisers.
Day 8: Bay d’Avea (9nm)
The snorkelling in the bay area is excellent, so bring your underwater camera. You can also rent watersports equipment, motor scooters, and bicycles to explore the area.
Day 9: Haamene Bay (35nm)
Haamene Bay is the largest protected body of water on the island of Huahine. There is a scenic hiking trail through dense tropical forest. You can have a nice dinner at the Hibiscus Restaurant.
Day 10: Apu Bay