Day sailing from Raiatea, French Polynesia


Super Anarchist
#2 Son and friends will be bareboat chartering two 40'-50' Catanas from Raiatea - for 8-9 days in mid-may. Since their collective skill level isn't stellar, it is to be hoped they'll stick to day sailing (like they've done in the Caribbean) and not attempt passages.

On this basis, any recommended itinerary, best sailing guide and advice for the area?

Thanks from a concerned parent



Huahini and Bora Bora are day sails from Raiatea.  I'd guess overnight passages are off limits on charter boats. Regardless what they do navigation is more challenging in FP than in the Carribean. There's lots of hard bits lurking under the water inside the lagoons, narrow passes thru the reefs entering and exiting the lagoons, look a bit disconcerting on approach to see breaking seas on both sides so close. Sailing around BB inside the lagoon there is a dog leg in the channel, it's marked but have to follow it.  A couple of boats in our group hit bottom around Tahaa as I recall.  

Beautiful part of the world, friendly people and May is a good time to be there. If they have an extra day on Raiatea, look up Trucky Tours for a tour of the island. 


Not My Real Name

Not Actually Me
Bora Bora is an easy day trip, and sailing in the open is easier than zig-zagging around the tighter lagoons.

Just popping around the lagoon on Riatea and Tahaa provides a lot of good stopping places and short trips.

I highly recommend a stop in Api Bay on Tahaa, and dinner at the Ficus restaurant. Make a reservation ahead. It's a little pricey and the menu is fairly small, but the show is fantastic and it's well worth it. One of the highlights of our trip to the society islands. The night there were two tables with six people on each from two boats. They put the whole show on for us, with more people serving, dancing, singing etc. as we had eating dinner. The performer's families come by too and hang out, it's a really fun night.

Also stop and snorkel the coral gardens at Motu Tautau, also on Tahaa. You can anchor the day there, perched on the edge of the shallows, but it's not a great overnight spot unless it's pretty calm. But you can pop across the lagoon about a mile away for the night where it's more protected. There's a very pricy resort on Tautau; we didn't try to visit but you may be able to have drinks or dinner there.



Super Anarchist
Thanks - much appreciated. Is there a sailing guide you'd recommend?

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New member
I'm sure they'll find out but the snorkeling on the reef adjacent to Tapu Amu bay on Taha'a is really nice. They can anchor close to the island, but we took a buoy in the adjacent protected bay, rented bikes on shore and had a wonderful day touring the island.  Just be sure to check the mooring line.

I preferred Huahine to Bora Bora because it was less developed. It would be more upwind getting there and more downwind back (reverse for Bora Bora). The main bay is easy access with lots of anchorage, a couple of surf spots, and a pleasant bar/restaurant on shore.  But Bora Bora has the spires....


42 South

Bora Bora is an easy day trip as noted above - the boat charter company will provide a sailing guide as part of their induction process.

On BB we found that the locals generally treat the beaches as their backyards and thus don't like you swimming or taking the dinghy to the beach. Most hotels however don't mind you anchoring off their beaches.

The Bora Bora yacht club is worth a visit and they have a nice sign board for a family photo opportunity in front of it.



Vail, CO
Avoid the mutton on Air New Zealand (they call it lamb).

On Huahine, hit the docks early (shortly after sunrise) and meet the local tuna boats coming in, while the ladies get the baguettes before the local ladies scoop up 20 at a time. (Not to be sexist, but that's what happens there) You'll get amazingly fresh ahi at a great price, and they'll filet it if you ask. Stock up on some fresh coconuts, scrapers, limes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, onion or scallions and tomatoes and ask a local for their favorite poisson cru recipe. (We had 10 kg of ahi to "dispose" of, 3 days of joy steeped, grilled and sashimi'ed!) Also bring wasabi.

Check out the pass between Raiatea and Tahaa; if they have a good modern anchor set it near the dropoff towards the Tahaa side in the sand, and be ready for the manta ray parade with the tide. We snorkeled it and it was awe-inspiring; got to gently brush against a few and were thrilled. Ours was near sunset.

Bora-Bora is nice in a more developed way, but the reefs are more played out than the 3 above.

Bring some comfortable paddings, as the flights arrive at Fa'a'a airport in Papeete in the wee hours, and the outgoing flights to the outer islands don't start until later in the AM. You can get bad food all night, though. Bring all the legally allowed alcohol in that you can, and buy wine in town if you can, as parts of our crew spent precious hours on a desperate search for a few dusty bottles on Tahaa. And get fruit everywhere, it's awesome and cheap.

...and please bring me back an Hinano beer ball cap (canvas); I lost my beloved one to a gust in Grenada last June and will gladly pay for its replacement! TIA ;-)

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