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Tahiti, Tahiti & French Polynesia

Suggested Cruising Program Popular 10 day program

A Tahiti sailing itinerary typically includes easy passages within the protected waters behind the beautiful coral reefs that encircle the islands, allowing for relaxed sailing in one of the most exotic cruising grounds in the world. Snorkeling and scuba diving on the reefs, swimming and sunbathing on white-sand beaches, enjoying the delights of luxury resorts, shopping, and fine restaurants, and spending quiet evenings aboard your yacht in picturesque anchorages are all part of what makes sailing in Tahitian waters so appealing. Relatively short passages between the islands (see Tahiti maps) integrate open-ocean sailing. The longest passage to windward is about 18 nautical miles. The open-water passages downwind from Huahine to Tahaa and from Tahaa to Bora-Bora are simply spectacular, South Pacific sailing at its very best

Day 1: Apu Bay

Uturoa to Apu Bay - 3 nm. It's just a short hop north inside the barrier reef to the exotic island of Tahaa and Apu Bay. As you draw near, the unmistakable sweet scent of vanilla carries to you on the balmy wind. Tahaa is nicknamed the Vanilla Island because of its vanilla plantations. Pick up a mooring at the Taravana Yacht Club, a French restaurant and hotel with a convivial bar. The food is excellent at the restaurant. Moorings are free of charge for diners.

Mooring:Moorings are available at the Taravana Yacht Club (free of charge to diners at the restaurant). Anchoring is not recommended in the north end of the bay due to excessive water depths and potentially gusty winds funneling down from the mountains.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do:A great meal at the French restaurant at the Taravana Yacht Club and then relaxing over cocktails is a splendid way to relax on the first day of your charter. Take a stroll and admire the scenery.

Facilities: Water and garbage disposal are available with permission from the yacht club manager.

Day 2: Bora Bora Yacht Club

Apu Bay to Bora-Bora Yacht Club - 23 nm. Your mooring off the Taravana Yacht Club puts you in an excellent position to begin a splendid off the wind sail from Tahaa to fabled Bora-Bora. In an easterly, the wind will be off the starboard quarter, ideal for fast sailing the way it's supposed to be. Off the starboard bow, the heights of Mt. Otemanu soar 2,362 feet above an azure sea, with impressive Mt. Pahia nearby. It's about 18 nautical miles on the open water, then you head through the reef pass into the calm waters of Bora-Bora's lagoon. The Bora-Bora Yacht Club is about one nautical mile to the east, a famous gathering place for world cruisers. Enjoy cocktails in the casual and colorful island bar

Mooring: Moorings are available free of charge when dining at the yacht club restaurant.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: The yacht club has a restaurant and bar, world famous among long-distance cruisers. You can also access the Internet free of charge if you're dining at the restaurant. Vaitape Village isn't far off, with its various shops and restaurants. Car rentals in the village are available for island tours.

Facilities: Water is available at the yacht club dock..

Day 3: Taurere

Bora-Bora Yacht Club to Taurere - 8 nm. Set sail for a beautiful passage through Bora-Bora's magnificent lagoon, the ever-changing color of the calm waters captivating to the eye as you pass miles of barrier reef to port. Between Motu Piti Aau and Taurere are good overnight anchorages near an exquisite coral formation popular for snorkeling. On the way there you can stop to experience the wonders of the Lagoonarium, where you can swim with all kinds of intriguing sea creatures, including sharks!

Mooring: No moorings are available. The anchorage is well protected and beautiful.

Dinghy dockage: No dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: On the way to Taurere, plan to anchor for lunch at Motu Tape and go ashore to visit the Lagoonarium, where you can swim with fish, sharks, and rays without any worries. It's a great experience for kids and adults alike. If you desire dinner at one of the resorts there, you can anchor for the night off Motu Tape. At Taurere, take the dinghy around Pt. Faaroone and anchor south of the motu in sand. There's a stunningly beautiful coral garden for snorkeling. You can also take the dinghy into the many inlets of the nearby motus. Stroll to the ocean-side to enjoy the beach, collect shells, and swim.

Day 4: Pt, Raititi

Taurere to Pt. Raititi - 10 nm. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as you watch the birds on the nearby motus, then set sail back around the top of Bora-Bora within the calm waters of the lagoon. It's off the wind all the way. Pt. Raititi is near the Bora-Bora Hotel, shops, and art galleries. Fine swimming and snorkeling abounds at the nearby beaches.

Mooring: Moorings are available for diners at the Bloody Mary restaurant in Povai Bay. Anchor west of the beacon marking the north end of the reef near Pt. Raititi. Another great anchorage for spending the night is close to the west shore of Topua at the south end of the island in Topua Bay. Also in the bay are day anchorages with easy access to the beach and the reef.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available at Hotel Bora-Bora for boaters who avail themselves of the excellent food and drink at the hotel's restaurant and bar.

Things to do: SThere are several excellent beaches accessible by dinghy for snorkeling on the reef. Scuba diving excursions are available. A leisurely stroll ashore takes you to a number of shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

Day 5: Faaroa Bay

Pt. Raititi to Faaroa Bay - 37 nm. Set sail early for your 18-nautical-mile open-water passage from Bora-Bora to Tahaa. Once you're through the pass at Tahaa, it's 12 nautical miles or so to beautiful Faaroa Bay on the east side of Raiatea. Faaroa Bay is highly recommended for two reasons: There's much to see on the east side of Raiatea inside the reef, and you'll be ideally positioned for your upcoming sail to Huahine. You can pick up a mooring in Faaroa Bay or anchor. Alternatively, you can stop at the Moorings base to reprovision and stay the night.

Mooring: Moorings are recommended. There are 15 available.

Dinghy dockage: No dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: Aside from its stunning beauty, the main attraction of the bay is the opportunity to explore the Aopomau River by dinghy. In no other place in French Polynesia can you take a river trip! As you head up the river, jungle fronts both shores, interspersed with the cultivated lands of working plantations. The mountains are ever present, looming above like watchful sentinels. At an elevation of approximately 3,400 feet above sea level, Mt. Tefaatuaiti is the tallest peak in the Tahitian Leeward Islands.

Day 6: Opoa Bay

Faaroa Bay to Opoa Bay - 5 nm. After you explore the Aopomau River at the head of Faaroa Bay, a definite must when visiting Raiatea, a short sail southward takes you to the village and bay of Opoa. This is an excellent day stop. Ashore are a little village and the magnificent archaeological site of Taputapuatea Marae, the most important in all of French Polynesia. Return to Faaroa Bay for a good night's rest.

Mooring:No moorings are available. Anchor off the village. The anchorage is open to the prevailing easterlies. Make sure the anchor is well set, and watch for the Pearl farm buoys.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available for a short time only.

Things to do: Ashore in Opoa is the archaeological site of Taputapuatea Marae, restored in 1994. Work continues to preserve the marae, which is being tentatively considered for inclusion as a World Heritage Site. The great stone altar is the centerpiece, but there are many other interesting points of interest, such as stone figures called Tikis. The size of the complex indicates its importance. It dates back to earlier than 1000 A.D. and was a place of sacrifices to the gods and gatherings of the best seamen in Polynesia who passed on their knowledge to students.

Day 7: Fare Village

Faaroa Bay to Fare Village - 21 nm. The passage to Huahine is usually a close reach. The island is plainly visible as you head out of Passe Irihu ou Maire, its mountain heights covered in green, its peaks sometimes cloaked in puffy white clouds. Once you are through the pass at the northwest end of Huahine, Fare Village is directly ahead. This is the island's main town, with a variety of restaurants, some small hotels, and general stores. Of particular interest to sailors is the Huahine Shack, a casual tropical bar catering to world cruisers.

Mooring: No moorings are available. Anchor off the west end of Fare Village, just inside the pass through the reef. There's good protection from the prevailing easterly winds. <

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: Going ashore to see the island by rented car takes you on quiet country roads weaving through the valleys and hills. Vanilla plantations spread out from the roadside and climb the hills. Horseback riding is another option and a great way to see the interior. Spending some time at the Huahine Shack sipping a cool drink is a must for cruisers.

Facilities: Water is available at the commercial dock. Car rentals are available.

Day 8: Bay d'Avea

Fare Village to Bay d'Avea - 9 nm. Sailing along the west coast of Huahine inside the barrier reef takes you past a number of beautiful anchorages, with tall mountains off the port beam, the blues, greens, oranges, and browns of the reef to starboard. The rich scent of tropical flowers carries on the breeze. One of the more scenic places to spend the night is at Bay d'Avea, at the southern end of the island's western shore. The snorkeling in the area is excellent. There are also restaurants and other attractions.

Mooring: No moorings are available. There are two preferred anchoring locations in the bay. At the east end of the bay near Pt. Tiva you will find good holding and easy dinghy access to the beach. The other anchorage is near the entrance to the bay in front of the Mauari hotel and restaurant.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available at the Relais Mahana restaurant.

Things to do: The Mauari restaurant is said to be the best on Huahine. Watersports equipment is available for rent, as are motor scooters and bicycles for island tours. The Relais Mahana hotel and restaurant also serves delicious food. Car rentals are available for island tours.

Day 9: Haamene

Bay Bay d'Avea to Haamene Bay - 35 nm. Get an early start for your open-water passage to Tahaa. You'll be off the wind the entire way, sailing fast and loving every minute. The soaring heights of Raiatea and Tahaa rise from a cobalt sea, cottony puffs of white cloud stark against a brilliant blue sky. This is South Pacific sailing at its best. Once you're through the pass at Tahaa, the fjord-like expanse of Haamene Bay is just a couple of miles away, scenic and secure. If you're yearning to dine ashore, the Hibiscus Restaurant is a nice place to eat dinner.

Mooring: Moorings are available at the Hibiscus Restaurant. Anchor at the head of the bay for the best protection and scenery.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available at the Hibiscus Restaurant.

Things to do: Dinner at the Hibiscus Restaurant is a pleasant way to pass an early evening. At the head of the bay is a scenic hiking trail through the dense tropical forest over Mt. Taira to the head of Hurepiti Bay.

Final Morning: Apu Bay to Uturoa - 3 nm. Although you won't want to sail back to reality (you can always come visit the Tahitian Leewards again!), the final leg of your charter will be an easy passage south back to the Moorings base. Please check in by 10:00 A.M.


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Country info: Tahiti