Consisting of 118 islands forming numerous archipelagos, this area offers incredible charter yacht vacation itineraries. The mountainous islands are surrounded by atolls, which create vast calm anchorages in clear turquoise waters. Mixed with powder white beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, French Polynesia is an astounding natural environment with awe-inspiring views.
French Polynesia is considered one of the best snorkeling and diving destinations in the world, with 1000's of species of sea life, including a plethora of reef fish, turtles, sharks, dolphins, manta rays, sting rays and whales. Snorkel, paddleboard, or scuba dive amongst the astounding diverse wildlife and coral frees found in the South Pacific Ocean. Venture to the communities ashore, and you will be greeted by the delightful and hospitable Tahitians, who take such pride in welcoming you to their islands and the natural environment that they call home. Take an island tour, rent a car, or e-bike your way around to numerous hikes, archaeological sites, and vanilla bean farms. You can even tour their pearl farms and shop these local treasures at boutiques and markets throughout the islands. The charming restaurants and bars ashore offer delicious cocktails and exquisite French Polynesian cuisine.
A Tahiti cruising itinerary offers easy passages in protected waters and plenty of places to moor within the coral reefs that encircle the islands. The most popular cruising area are the islands of Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Huahine. These islands are short distances from each other, and each is rimmed with atolls and motus, offering so much to do and explore above and below the water's edge. The warm trade winds average between 15 and 20 knots throughout the year, offering a relaxing sailing conditions. The year-round temperatures range from 78°F to 80°F, with April to November being a bit cooler and dryer, and December to March being a bit warmer and more chance of rain.
Motu: Using geographical terms, a motu is a reef islet formed by broken coral and sand, surrounding an atoll. In other words, it’s a very small island. French Polynesia being what it is, there are thousands of small motus scattered around the Pacific Ocean, ranging in size from practically nonexistent to somewhat large.
Atoll: A coral island or series of coral islands forming a ring that nearly or entirely encloses a shallow lagoon. Atolls are created when the ancient volcanic island sinks, and the coral reef that once was at it’s shores, now forms a ring around the volcanic island, and a natural lagoon at it’s shores. In some cases, the volcanic island completely disappears under the ocean surface, leaving only the atoll and lagoon within it.
Black Pearl: Black pearls are formed by a piece of sand or shell in the body of a very specific type of oyster, called the Tahitian Black-Lipped Pinctada margaritifera. The interior shell, called the nacre, of most oysters is usually a glossy white or silver, but the Tahitian black-lipped oyster features a thickband of black. When the pearl forms near that band, it will suck up that coloring, either being completely black, or shades of grey, but can also contain various tones of green, pink, blue, silver, and yellow. Tahiti is famous for it’s black pearls, with stores offering exquisite variations of the size, shape, and shades for their pearls, crafted into beautiful jewelry designs.