Charter News: Taha’a & Raiatea

Author:
Publish date:

Ah, Tahiti! Even the sound of the word elicits thoughts of heaven on earth—a Polynesian paradise and a bucket list cruise to talk about for years. Most people are lucky to come here once in a lifetime, so I have to wonder why charterers are always in such a hurry to get their boat in Raiatea and press on to exotic Bora Bora or remote Huahine. You’re here. Stop and smell the tiare flowers before setting sail to elsewhere.

Raiatea, the “Sacred Island,” is a 50-minute flight from Papeete and the departure point for all bareboat charters from Sunsail, Tahiti Yacht Charter, The Moorings and Dream Yacht Charter. Raiatea and Taha’a Island share a fringing reef, so it’s easy to stay in protected waters on the first day or two while you get your sea legs and learn the idiosyncrasies of the boat before heading out one of the many passes on all sides.

A circumnavigation of Raiatea will bring you to some hidden gems like Naonao Island at the southern tip, a perfect motu that you can kayak around, or Faaroa Bay where you can SUP on an Indiana Jones-esque river flanked by taro fields. Here, the paddling is usually calm as you float along, surrounded by bushes of exotic flowers, their scent hanging heavy in the still air. At times, the river gets so narrow and shallow that you may have to “get out and walk,” pulling the board behind you.

Nearby is Onoa Bay and Marae Taputapuatea, one of the largest spiritual sites in French Polynesia. Many of the stone temple outlines have been rebuilt, so a stroll through will give you an idea of the civilization that ruled here a thousand years ago.

Two hours north from the charter bases is Hurepiti Bay on Taha’a, the “Vanilla Island.” Here, Alain and Christina Plantier run a great land tour on a 4x4. The couple sailed their 32ft plywood catamaran to Tahiti from France 45 years ago and built a Robinson Crusoe-like homestead that shows off every kind of plant and flower Tahiti has to offer— including many different colors of tiare.

Alain is a trained botanist who ran a vanilla farm for years, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the flora of Tahiti is mindboggling. His four-hour tour includes a stop to feed coconuts to chickens (they’re crazy for the stuff) and an extensive lesson on vanilla pollination. In season, Alain also serves up noni juice, the fruit of a tree in the coffee family, purported to be a miracle cure and a fountain of youth. Beware, though, the stuff tastes like a mix of laundry water and boiled sweat socks. Bottoms up!

Taha’a is black pearl central, so a visit to a “farm,” like Champon, is a must. Nobody gets away from a pearl display case without being a few Polynesian francs lighter. These little round wonders are hypnotic and unique to this part of the world, so you can’t possibly leave without one.

The western side of the long reef offers phenomenal sunset views of Bora Bora in the distance. Le Taha’a Resort, with its picturesque (and expensive) over-water bungalows, makes for great photos too. In fact, the whole place can’t take a bad picture. Even the coral in the nearby pass is photogenic. Just beware the zippy current as you snorkel through the pass, and unless you have tough feet, bring your reef shoes.

In any other part of the world, Taha’a and Raiatea would be a draw in themselves, so they’re worth a slow careful exploration. If you’re lucky enough to tick Tahiti off the bucket list, well, you’re lucky enough. So adjust your pace, look around and take in the beauty before sailing on to someplace else. I mean, what’s your hurry? The bucket list is all around you. 

Charter companies

Sunsail sunsail.com

The Moorings moorings.com

Dream Yacht Charter dreamyachtcharter.com

Tahiti Yacht Charter tahitiyachtcharter.com

June 2018

Related

DEI Panel - ICSA TIDE (Dec 10, 2020)

US Sailing Diversity Panel

On Thursday, December 10, at 7:30EST, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum is hosting a town hall-style conversation with the Intercollegiate Sailing Association's TIDE panel. TIDE (the Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity) committees have been founded in three regional branches of the ...read more

200807_RICKETSON_AUCKLAND_24-2048x

Point of SAIL: America’s Cup Flight Controller Andrew Campbell

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Andrew Campbell, the “flight controller” for the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic challenge in the 36th America’s Cup down in Auckland New Zealand. In their conversation, they discuss everything from ...read more

Vendee

VENDEÉ UPDATE: Macron Calls Le Cam, Escoffier

To activate English subtitles in the above video, click the button “CC After this week’s dramatic rescue, French President Emmanuel Macron called Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) and Kevin Escoffier (PRB) to wish them well and congratulate them on their effort. Escoffier was slammed by ...read more

VG2048x

Vendeé Update: Escoffier Rescued in Southern Ocean

Around 1345 UTC on Monday afternoon, Vendee Globe competitor Kevin Escoffier (PRB) activated his EPIRB 840 miles southeast of The Cape of Good Hope, in the heart of the Southern Ocean amid some of the most violent water anywhere on Earth. Shortly after, he managed to get a ...read more

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more