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Old 21-05-2009, 12:23   #1
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Society Islands - Bareboat?

Hello:

My wife and I are interested in chartering a 32' to 35' bareboat in the Society Islands sometime in September this year. I gather the windward islands are the best choice and I understand that Raiatea is a good base location.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a reasonable charter company? Any other comments or advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Starbox189
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Old 21-05-2009, 13:24   #2
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AFAIK, Raiatea is the only base in the Societies. Great cruising area...Raiatea, and its sister-island Tahaa, can keep you occupied for several days, and its a short day-sail to Bora Bora, my favorite island in the chain.
Moorings has a base in Raiatea, as does a smaller company. Google should help.
Don't miss the Yacht Club on Tahaa...free moorings, and good chow.
Enjoy
John
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Old 25-05-2009, 19:18   #3
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Starbox189,

I charted in Raiatea last June. I spent a lot of time researching and trying to find a good boat at a reasonable price. I discovered that it was difficult to know who were the actual charter companies and who were brokers. In the end there are only three that I could find. The two big outfits were Moorings and Sunsail. However, once there we were told that Moorings bought Sunsail. The third company was something like Tahiti charters and I never did discover them prior to the trip. All three companies are located in the same little crowded harbor on Raiatea.

We chartered a 46' foot Cat that was a 2001 and I was surprised at the amount of corrosion. Surprisingly everything seemed to work on the boat and nothing failed while in use. Although, we found that the GPS did not have the detailed maps for the area, and hence the islands showed up as triangles and squares and hence was almost useless

I attempted to work right with the base, but found that I got a better deal by going through a broker. The base gives a big discount to brokers and little to direct customers. So by working with a broker that passes on part of their discount, you can get the best deal. I ended up using CharterWorld.com for my best deal.

That area represents the best cruising, the Carribean does not compare.
Have a great trip
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Old 11-06-2009, 21:36   #4
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I spent three months cruising in French Polynesia in 2006. Moorings has a big base at Raiatea as mentioned previously. However, If you want a more authentic experience (i.e. meet locals, see a more intact culture, eat local, stay away from tourists, etc) then skip Bora Bora (after a few weeks there my girlfriend was calling it Bora Boring) due to throngs of charter boats and cruise ship passengers and indifferent inhabitants. Although the scenery is amazing from a geological standpoint the waters have been stripped of fish and are overcrowded by tour boats. Maupiti is a mini Bora Bora less tourists and plus fish. The bad news for you is you're not allowed to take charter boats there as the reef pass is really dangerous. Dangerous with all caps. For real... Major pucker factor from my personal experience. Boats have gotten wrecked here and others have gotten in only to be trapped by BIG breaking waves in the pass for weeks on end.


The BEST places to go are:


#1 Maupiti (not allowed to go if chartering) could be the best island in Societies.
#2 Huahine But, get off the beaten path and go to the East side. Awesome bays all to yourself and tons of fish. Get out and see the archaeological ruins, vanilla beans drying in the sun, ancient fish traps, etc.
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Old 11-06-2009, 22:49   #5
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I specifically asked the charter company if there was anywhere they did not want us to go, and they had no issues with us going anywhere. Perhaps things have changed since 2006?

We actually enjoyed Bora Bora. We sailed around through the lagoon to the south side and there were few boats. We did see a cruise ship on the north side, but it did not bother us as we didn't really go ashore to the touristy shops and the like.
We did go to Bloody Mary's on the North side. I had heard it was a magnet for tourists and was advised to stir clear. But we went anyway and had the best dinner of the whole trip. They provide free water at the end of their nice pier, so if nothing else its worth a look.
Also, Bora Bora has some large artillery from WWII mounted on a hill guarding the the channel into the lagoon. We saw pictures on-line, but we never made it up the hill to the guns. We simply ran out of time on our 7-day cruise to fit everything in.
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