Everyone who sails has some day or other dreamed of cruising on the blue waters of the Pacific, to those evocatively-named South Sea Islands
Marquesas, Austral, Society, Gambier and Tuamotu…
Situation : The 118 Polynesian Islands scattered over the South Pacific were formed by millions of years of volcanic activity. The oldest among them are the ‘low islands’ which generally have a ‘desert island’ appearance, just like those in our daydreams - a deep turquoise lagoon, bordered by small islands (Rangiroa, Manihi or Tetiaroa…). The ‘high islands’ are decorated with majestic peaks and covered with deep, lush valleys (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora). They are situated 17,000 km from Europe; flight time from Los Angeles to Tahiti is approximately 7h30.
Formalities : EU or North American citizens do not need a visa for French Polynesia; a valid passport is sufficient. Very few health problems, apart from ciguatera, the only too well-known ‘gratte’, which can be avoided quite simply by not eating fish caught in the lagoon.
Weather : The Polynesian Islands benefit from a tropical climate with maximum sunshine, reaching nearly 3,000 hours per year in the Tuamotus! The temperature is kept down by the Pacific trade winds which blow all the year round, and is always pleasant. Average temperatures are 27°C for the air and 25°C for the water. In short, a cruising paradise.
Shopping : Crafts are everywhere in Polynesia. From the seashells which can be found anywhere, to the famous Tuamotu black pearls and wooden sculptures from the Marquesas Islands, the hats and baskets woven in the Australs, not forgetting of course the inevitable pareos, there are many ways to spend your money.
The currency in use is the Pacific Franc (1 euro = 119 CFP)