French Polynesia: corals, lagoons and volcanoes

French Polynesia is in the heart of the South Pacific. With 118 islands and atolls spread over an area of ​​around 4 million square kilometers, this French territory is roughly the size of Western Europe. However, the total land area is not much larger than Mallorca. The islands were first settled by settlers from Samoa and Tonga between 150 BC and 700 AD.

The multi-faceted flora of the islands consists of around 1000 types of plants brought in by wind and weather before the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers, about 400 types of plants that only grow on these islands and the types of plants that the European settlers brought with them later.

The islands of this Yacht Charter area are divided into five archipelagos: The Society Islands named by James Cook in honor of his sponsors, the Royal British Society of Sciences, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Marquesas Islands named by the Spanish explorer Mendana in 1595, the Austral Islands and the Gambier Islands. The island groups lie between 5 ° and 23 ° south latitude.

The Society Islands consist of a total of 13 volcanic islands, the windward eastern and the leeward western islands, including Tahiti, Moorea, Tetiaroa, Huahine, Bora Bora, Maupiti, Tahaa and Raiatea. The capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, is located in Tahiti. Slightly more than half of the approximately 245,000 inhabitants of the French overseas territory live in Papeete and the surrounding area.

The Tuamotu Archipelago is a diving paradise northeast of the Society Islands. From afar, blue, white and green dominate the appearance of this archipelago with its low islands and atolls protected by coral belts. Seen up close, one is overwhelmed by the variety of colors of the coral reefs and the different shades of turquoise of the clear water.

Further northeast, the Marquesas Islands, including Nuku Niva and Hiva Oa, form the northern border of French Polynesia, in the south, after the 14 mountainous Gambier Islands, the five volcanic Austral Islands form the southern border of this area.

Tahiti & amp; Moorea

Sailing in the South Seas

Tahiti

This yacht charter area consists of the islands of Tahiti and Moorea. Tahiti is made up of two peninsulas, Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, which are connected by the isthmus of Taravao. The 2241 meter high cloud-covered mountain Orohena dominates the landscape of Tahiti Nui, the 1300 meter high Mairenui rises towards the sky on Tahiti Iti.

In the east of Tahiti, impressive, rocky landscapes and black basalt beaches offer the visitor a varied picture, while surfers will be happy about the high waves there. Particularly recommended for a visit are the Papehue Mahana National Park, the Lagunarium, the lighthouse of Pointe Venus and the marina of Papeete. Shore excursions should include a tour of the Pearl Museum, Museum of Tahiti, and Paul Gauguin Museum for art lovers and history buffs. Hiking trips inland offer a variety of experiences. In addition to the lush flora and fauna, waterfalls and caves dominated the landscape. A visit to the Maroto Pass, the Vaihrira crater lake, the Papenoo high valley, the Fenua ai’here nature reserve and the archaeological sites should be on every excursion list.

Moorea

Moorea is an island rich in legends. Local lore says that Moorea was said to have been the dorsal fin of the great Tahiti fish. The hole in Moua Puta, the perforated mountain, is said to have been created when a warrior named Pai put the god Hiro to flight and tore the hole in the mountain with his spear. Hiro had tried to steal Rotui, the mountain on which the souls of the dead rest, before they embark on the long journey, and to take it to Raiatea.

Moorea was formerly called Aimeo and got its current name after a vision of a large, yellow lizard appeared to a high priest. From Moorea, Protestantism was also spread in French Polynesia. The first Bible in Tahitian language was printed there in the 19th century. Moorea was also an important seat of the Pomare royal family.

The picturesque bays Baie de Cook and Baie d’Opunohu with their deep water, framed by the high mountain peaks and the beautiful Rotui that surround them, have always had an irresistible charm on philosophers and artists of all kinds.

The many heavenly white sandy beaches, the colorful coral reefs and the lush underwater fauna also attract a large number of visitors for diving, snorkeling and sunbathing. Shark feeding and whale watching, boat trips and all kinds of water sports are also available on Moorea. Surfers will have fun in the reef passage Matauvau near Haapiti. We also recommend trying the island’s delicious pineapple and a’hima’a, the Tahitian stew from the traditional earth oven.

Accommodation for all bag sizes can be found on Moorea. Shore excursions should include visits to the art galleries, Mou’a Roa’s House of Nature, Tiki Village, the Moorea mini-train, the local dolphin center, and the fruit juice factory’s distillery. For visitors who love tattoos, a visit to Ronnui, who has revived the Polynesian tradition of tattooing, is inevitable.

There are a number of attractive inland excursions for hikers and mountaineers. The hike from Vaiare to Paopao leads to the Tearai foothills with its breathtaking view and from there into the Paopao valley. The path from Paopao to the pass of the three coconut palms, of which only one remains, leads through rivers and forests to the ridge of the pass, from which the neighboring islands can also be seen. The hike to the hole in the Moua Puta mountain first leads to the waterfalls of Afareaitu and from there through undergrowth and a maple chestnut forest up to the mountain ridge, on which caution is advised to get to the platform above the mountain hole. From the platform you rope down to the hole. A head for heights is a prerequisite for this excursion. The hike to the 900 meter high Rotui is steep and dangerous, but the view is indescribable. The excursion to the Mou’a Roa above the Vaiana valley with its lush flora and fauna offers peace for the mind and peace for the eye. The mountain hikes should be guided.

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