Tahiti-Polynesia – the Society Islands
Catamaran Yacht Charter - Pacific Ocean - Society Islands
- Overview about the Society Islands
- Cost of Living
- Sailing with Neverland in the Society Islands
- Raiatea and Taha´a
- Bora Bora
Tahiti and the surrounding 13 islands – also called the Society Islands – have about 200 000 inhabitants from which more than 100 000 live in Papeete. They are regarded as the centre of Polynesia.
The Society Islands are French oversees territory with internal self-government. With the help of France the capita gross domestic product is with 16 000 US $ the highest in the South Pacific.
The climate is in July/September the best of the year with a refreshing SE trade wind. The temperatures are in the mid 20th.
Together with the Fiji Islands the Society Islands are the centre of tourism in the South Sea. The infrastructure is good especially the flight connections. But you will never have a feeling that the islands are overcrowded with tourists. It gets only 3 % of the visitors who go to Hawaii. The main reason for that is the longer flight from the US for the American mass tourism and the higher prices. Polynesians want to keep their islands in the traditional way and will not except mass tourism development.
While Tourism is the biggest industry pearl farming became No. 2 in the last decade. The beautiful black pearls also called Tahiti pearls are cultures a 26 atolls of Polynesia. Especially for the small remote islands this gives a lot of income.
The cost of living is the highest in the South Sea. Prices in good restaurants for dining and wine can easily be over $ 100 per person. A better alternative for you is to dine and wine on board of Neverland anchoring between reef and village with a wonderful view. And the food on Neverland is always excellent.
70 % of the population are Polynesians, 12 % Polynesians/Europeans and 10 % Europeans. They all are French citizens and also the language is French. Life is a mixture of Polynesian and French style, more French in Papeete, more Polynesian on the remote islands.
Neverland will stay in the waters of Tahiti-Polynesia from July to September 2005 for about 10 weeks. You can charter her on a weekly basis with captain and stewardess. A round trip cruise for 2 weeks brings you to 4 to 6 atolls and you will sail about 700 miles.
There are basically 2 different cruises possible in 2 weeks. One through the islands of Moorea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Maupiti and Tahiti and the other one to the islands of the Tuamoto group with Rangiroa as the centre.
Many activities like deep sea fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving, wonderful hikes, beach life, visiting pearl farms, take part on organized tours, or just relax on board of Neverland with good food and drinks and swim and snorkel in the lagoon.
Tahiti is the centre and with 1050 sq km the biggest island of Polynesia. The NE coast has cliffs and rocks without a fringed reef and is therefore exposed to the surf; the south coast is gentle with coconut groves large gardens and is sheltered by a barrier reef. The people live along the coast with a great concentration to Papeete with over 100 000 people. The interior of the island is almost uninhabited.
Along the Papeete waterfront you will find yacht from many countries on their tour around the world. If it is not too noisy the boulevard Pomare will be also the mooring place for Neverland during her stay in Papeete. Papeete is a cosmopolitan city with new hotels, expensive restaurants, bars and skyscrapers and many cars and motorcycles. Papeete has the infrastructure a functioning tourism needs with airport, hotels, golf courses, and organized tours. You can do all type of water sports, mountain climbing and more. Instead of a restaurant try in the evening the “les roulettes”. They are dozens of vans, which offer all type of food for reasonable prices in good quality and that all just on the main promenade.
Moorea is situated just 16 km NW of Papeete. A 2 hours sailing trip will bring us with a backstay breeze to this beautiful island, which is quite different from Tahiti. There are many white beaches and long deep bays and a coral reef ring with several passes into the lagoon. The total land is 125 sq km and 12 000 people live here. Lifestyle is relaxed; you will find many coconut trees, pineapple and vanilla plantations. Most people live on the southern part of the island whereas the tourism is more on the north side. Moorea has two spectacular deep bays cutting into the north coast and they give good shelter for anchoring yacht – the Opunohu bay and the Cooks bay. The best hike is from the Opunohu bay to the Belvedere that can be done in a 3 to 4 hours walk for both ways. From there you will have a spectacular view over the northern part of the island. Beach live, diving and snorkelling, surfing, horseback riding, dolphin watching are the day activities and going out for dinner and watch cultural shows are the night activities on this beautiful island.
Many people think that Huahine is the nicest island of the Society Island group. Wonderful beaches and deep bays, a charming village and a variety of scenery and lush vegetation that is Huahine. The atoll has 74 sq km of land (8 times 5 miles). The population is almost entire Polynesian with 5500 people. The island is located 100 miles NW of Papeete and Neverland will arrive after a 10 hours night sailing cruise with a normally a back stay breeze. Sailing back will be more challenging against a SE trade wind. Huahine is a touristy island but the resorts are constructed in the traditional Tahitian style and quite different from those of Papeete and Bora Bora.
The Main village on this island is Fare. There is a good tourist infrastructure for provisioning and entertainment, with good restaurants and bars, there are guided biking tours or 4 WD safaris. Huahine is an atoll for a good mixture of relaxing and enjoying and an ideal place for a huge catamaran like Neverland is. We will anchor on the west coast in front of Fare the main village wich is very well protected by land and the reef.
There are many activities you can do, wonderful hikes of 2 to 3 hours along the ocean and beaches through cannons, along archaeological sites with ruins and tiny museums and you will have spectacular views. You will pass a river populated with sacred blue-eyed eels, which you can feed. And during your hike the beach is always nearby for a refreshing bath.
Raiatea is with 171 sq km the second biggest island and has about 10 000 inhabitants. Taha`a has a land area of 90 sq km and 4500 people. Both atolls have protecting fringing reefs. The people live in 7 small villages around the island. The two islands combine an atoll of 25 miles times 5 miles.
Both islands are quite different from the other atolls of the Society Islands. It is the only atoll where you can sail around inside a reef and there are many beautiful anchorages that makes this area to the top sailing destination. But there are not many tourists on this atoll.
There is a lot you can do – beach live on the motos, wonderful walks, diving and snorkelling or relax in the shade of palm trees in the villages on the water side. Together with Bora Bora this part of Tahiti-Polynesia is a sailing destination by itself and Neverland will stay there for several weeks and you can charter her on a weekly basis.
Most people see Bora Bora as the most gorgeous lagoon in the South Sea. You will see the best beaches and perhaps the highest touristy standards with the best infrastructure, cultural shows, discos, expensive boutiques, good restaurants and bars and all types of water sport are offered. But it is an expensive island and very touristy. For us it is the best to come in for a day or two, enjoy the nightlife and sail back to the remote islands of Taha´a, Raiatea, Maupiti and Huahine.
Maupiti is what Bora Bora was 25 years ago before it was discovered by the tourism industry. It is a tranquil south sea atoll where you can lay back for a while. The atoll has 4 times 5 miles and only 1 000 people live here. It takes you 3 hours to walk over crushed coral roads around the 11 sq km big island. The way is lined by mango trees, banana, hibiscus and breadfruit trees and fresh water springs and everywhere beaches. Sailing with Neverland you will visit Maupiti on a 2 weeks cruise.