Here is sample itinerary of what you may expect while enjoying a sailing vacation with TradeWinds in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Weather or other outside factors may mean that your Captain sets an alternative course.
Please note: As of January 1st, 2022, boarding and disembarkation for French Polynesia AQUA experiences will take place on Fridays, not on Saturdays as previously was the case.
Due to new laws and regulations to protect the environment in Bora Bora, our catamarans are no longer permitted to drop anchor in the lagoon; there are now dedicated mooring areas and our “off the boat” snorkeling opportunities are slightly more limited. We will, of course, use our tender to drop you off at some of the most beautiful snorkeling sites, and, if you wish to snorkel even more in Bora Bora. please discuss this with your crew and they can arrange a dedicated snorkeling tour with one of the local tour guides.
Arrival Day - Friday
Boarding is at 5pm on Friday in Marina Apooiti on Raiatea Island. You will be welcomed with Captains’ Cocktails before heading out to anchor north of Motu Miri Miri, on time for watching the sun going down on Bora-Bora! You will then receive your cabin briefing, and once everyone has settled in and become acquainted with our fellow passengers we will all enjoy a delicious three-course dinner, prepared using the freshest local ingredients by your onboard chef.
Cruising Day 1 - Saturday
Wake up to the smell of fresh coffee in paradise and take in your breathtaking surroundings! You’ve made it to the middle of the South Pacific! Breakfast is served, so let’s tantalize our taste buds with exotic seasonal fruits and freshly baked French pastries. Our captain will go through the various safety aspects of the yacht and outline the plan for the week, and then we’ll hoist the sails as we head across the lagoon to Raiatea’s romantic sister island of Taha’a.
Today’s first destination is a family run organic vanilla farm. The process of vanilla cultivation and it's many uses will be described in detail, and there will be an opportunity to purchase heavenly scented vanilla souvenirs. Afterwards we’ll have lunch aboard as we sail the turquoise-blue waters of the lagoon on our way to the “Pearl of the Pacific” – yes, we’re on our way to Bora Bora!
Moored at Toopua as the sun begins to wane, we’ll sip on Captain Cocktails served on the paddle-boards – as our first TradeWinds’s board meeting of the week is convened on Bora Bora! We’ll toast the sunset glowing over the iconic sacred mountains, before tucking into another scrumptious dinner prepared by our own private in-house chef.
Cruising Day 2 - Sunday
After an early breakfast, scuba divers will be collected from the yacht this morning by the local dive center (see details in our “Good to know” section) in the meantime we’ll head for the western barrier reef where guests can snorkel in the shallow water and we will also try to spot Manta Rays in the south of the mooring area.
We’ll sail around the north of Bora-Bora towards an area called the “Hotel side”: home to Four Seasons, St Regis, and Intercontinental - all iconic hotels with signature overwater bungalows which make the claim to fame of this very unique South-Pacific island. We’ll sail past them all to go moor at the southeast corner of Bora Bora, at the “Swimming Pool”. Bora Bora Lagoon is absolutely spectacular! We will spend much time in, under and on the water here, which is said to show 13 shades of blue.
In the afternoon we can go snorkeling again, looking for spotted eagle rays. Our captain will take us there by dinghy, and if we stay calm and quiet sometimes there can be a whole school of them swimming right below us, and a skittish white tip reef shark might even pass by in the deep. We then come back aboard on time for another board meeting (cocktails on the paddle board)! We’ll relax and daydream, watching the infinite turquoise water on the horizon, and on the other side, the sunset painting Bora Bora’s dramatic silhouette with all its flaming colors.
Cruising Day 3 - Monday
This morning we can use the kayak or paddle board to go explore the white sand beach on the Motu across the bay; gorgeous beachcombing with the most amazing view of the island across the lagoon.
We will then sail to the town of Vaitape for lunch, where we can enjoy some souvenir shopping; or we may wish to check the internet here and send some photos home to make friends and family extremely jealous! We then have Sunset Cocktails aboard before going ashore for dinner at the star-studded Bloody Mary's Bar and Restaurant or to the Famous Bora-Bora Yacht Club. Enjoy the daily catch on the grill!
Cruising Day 4 - Tuesday
After a lovely healthy breakfast aboard, our captain can drop us ashore for a short hike to the look-out above Matira Point, where we will be awed by the different shades of blue in the lagoon. We can also go beachcombing on the world-famous Matira Beach, often described as “the most beautiful beach on Bora-Bora”! After lunch our captain will set the sails for the afternoon sail back to Taha'a; keep an eye out for dolphins near the passes of Bora-Bora or Taha’a, as this is where they like to relax. In season we have the chance to see humpback whales coming into our waters, so all eyes on deck and look out for rainbow spouts!
Arriving in “The Vanilla Island” our captain will drop anchor just south of Motu Tautau on the west side of Taha'a. Far in the distance Bora Bora is framed between the motus, dotted along the edge of the reef. We can go swimming or just relax floating behind our beautiful yacht. We love this place because it’s where we are most likely to see the most amazing South-Pacific sunset right over the water, and maybe even the elusive green flash! We’ll enjoy a Sunset Board meeting as usual before savoring another delicious dinner served aboard.
Cruising Day 5 - Wednesday
After our Chef's amazing Polynesian breakfast, our crew will bring us ashore in the dinghy for a spectacular drift snorkel between two Motu, to the east of Motu Tautau. This is the highlight of the week for underwater adventurers and is not to be missed! We’ll need water shoes to walk to the start of the drift section in the Coral Gardens as the seabed is often covered with sharp coral debris. Once there, the current will carry us through the shallow pass where we may see great schools of butterflyfish, lionfish, brightly colored wrasse, clownfish and giant clams sunbathing in the heart of the coral garden.
Another scrumptious lunch aboard enjoyed, we’ll continue our circumnavigation of Taha'a Island and moor in beautiful Motu Ceyran, to finish the day with spectacular views over neighboring Huahine Island. The lush greens of the mountainous hills and varying shades of blue in the lagoon are just incomparable. Afterwards, around sunset, it’s time for yet another “Board Meeting” followed by our last gourmet dinner aboard this week.
Cruising Day 6 - Thursday
Following a delicious breakfast this morning, we’ll set sail to the largest and most impressive bay of Taha’a: Apu Bay on the south side of the Island. We’ll go ashore to visit the Champon Pearl Farm, a locally run farm where pearl production and jewelry creation are done as a family concern with great professionalism and taste. They will inform us of the process of pearl farming, and will bring us into the workshop where we can witness first-hand all stages of pearl harvesting. We’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase and take home some of our own “pearls of the Pacific.” After lunch aboard we might snorkel along the drop-off, explore the bay on the paddleboards and kayak, or simply go for a leisurely wander ashore.
After our final “Board Meeting” of the week, our last dinner ashore will be either at the “Fish and Blue” or “Raiatea Lodge Restaurant” for a gourmet blend of French and Tahitian cuisine.
Departure Day - Friday
All too soon it’s departure day, and our crew will have the yacht back on the dock at Marina Apooiti on Raiatea by 7am. Enjoy one last breakfast aboard in paradise, before you depart the marina at 9am. First, though, let’s swap email addresses and photos, and then we send everyone home with fantastic memories and huge anticipation for our next TradeWinds’ sailing vacation.