Pacific Ocean

Ti Amaraa: Gambier Islands

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If you're looking for hotels on stilts, restaurants, boutiques, souvenirs and a huge choice of post cards, don't come to the Gambier Islands. There are no t-shirts or sarongs for sale here. As for the post card, well you'll just have to take it all in and remember it! Life goes at a slow pace in Mangareva. The pearl farms that are dotted about the lagoon are the islands' major source of economic activity, and one of the biggest in Polynesia. There are some guest houses for those rebellious tourists who get off the beaten track thanks to the weekly Air Tahiti flights. Nature has created a wonderful array of colors here, all underpinned by a vibrant green. The fir trees, and thorny ones, (such as ironwood), fruit trees (citrus, mango, guava, avocados…) share the land along with coconut palms and banana trees. The walks are pretty physical, but beautiful. The 17km climb up Mount Mokoto certainly gave our legs a good workout after months at sea. Aukena and Taravai are also part of the Gambier Islands. There are hardly any inhabitants but they are also wonderfully charming. We absolutely loved the second island. We could spend weeks in these anchorages, snorkeling, walking through the landscapes, and especially meeting the locals. Each encounter is a simple moment, without any side or falseness. We are happy to be here and to discover the Islands. They are happy to see us and want to know all about us. We often leave with armfuls of fruit from their gardens. Our vitamin levels are super-high thanks to all the grapefruit, bananas and lemons that we eat every day. Once again, we leave a piece of our heart in a stopover destination. The inhabitants, the panoramas. Everything is amazing on these little pearls which are the Gambier Islands. If you are in the region, stop by and go and discover Valerie's sand art. Along with Hervé and their son Ariki, they are the epitome of the Polynesia that we love so much. A lovely family and a lovely encounter. . 

Who: Bernard & Sandra

Where: Rikitéa, Mangareva, The Gambier Islands, French Polynesia

Boat: Lagoon 39


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