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Old 26-09-2020, 07:34   #1
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Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

Off a fresh high from a Lagoon 42 charter in Croatia, we're looking to book our next charter in French Polynesia, specifically the leeward islands (Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora, and Huahine) with a 42-45' catamaran for 10-14 days. Planning some scuba diving, lots of snorkeling, some land excursions like hiking, etc. but mostly enjoying the boat, water and views. A few questions for those with any good advice:

1) What month would be the earliest you recommend sailing the area? We went to Bora Bora and Rangiroa for land-based travel the second half of May 2019 and it seemed perfectly fine, but that was with nice hotel rooms with great A/C. We're from TX so can handle the heat, but don't want it to be ridiculous to where it impacts activities, and also don't want too much risk with cyclones or many days of rain. March or April too soon?

2) Any recommended charter companies/boats? There don't seem like that many options out of Raiatea really. The Moorings has a few nice newer Leopards, but they are pricey. So far the best deals look like 2017-2020 Bali 4.3, Bali 4.5 or Lagoon 42 from Click&Boat or Boat Bookings.

3) Recommended sailing plans? I found the soggypaws post which has a lot of great info (especially the Dream Yacht Charter pilot guide), but I'm looking for some more specific info like the best ways to get around inside the lagoons of each island. Obviously I can read the charts and figure out where it's possible to go, but looking for recommendations from experience.

4) Any other suggestions for chartering in the area? We've chartered a week in BVI on an Oceanis 45', 5 days out to Catalina from San Diego on a Bavaria 46', and now a week around Central Dalmatia in Croatia on a Lagoon 42, so we're still relatively young charterers, so are open to any suggestions for things we may experience the first time in this area (example, I will certainly read up more on my Aids to Navigation to help navigating inside the lagoons safely, and plan to take ASA 105 before this trip).

Thank you in advance!
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Old 28-09-2020, 00:44   #2
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

just in case you haven't noticed: there is a Covid pandemic going on, the number of cases in French Polynesia is mounting
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Old 28-09-2020, 07:13   #3
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

We sailed FP last February/March and had a grand time.

This won't answer all your questions but addresses some at least....

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...es-230400.html
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Old 28-09-2020, 12:01   #4
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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We sailed FP last February/March and had a grand time.

This won't answer all your questions but addresses some at least....

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...es-230400.html
Thank you very much! Great write up. Interesting that you went in late Feb / early March. What did you think of the weather in general? I've been reading that La Nina is expected to continue in the Pacific into next year, which likely means low chances of cyclones in FP, which would be great. We may consider going in late March or early April after all.

I see you said no anchoring in Bora Bora. Is that really true? At all?? It seems like there are many great areas to anchor in the shallow sands like NW of To'opua, and ESE of Paopao Point, and we were very much hoping to overnight at each. I could understand no anchoring allowed in the deeper part of the lagoon near Bloody Mary's & BBYC.

Do you happen to have a copy of your tracks around each island to share?
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Old 28-09-2020, 13:19   #5
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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Thank you very much! Great write up. Interesting that you went in late Feb / early March. What did you think of the weather in general? I've been reading that La Nina is expected to continue in the Pacific into next year, which likely means low chances of cyclones in FP, which would be great. We may consider going in late March or early April after all.



I see you said no anchoring in Bora Bora. Is that really true? At all?? It seems like there are many great areas to anchor in the shallow sands like NW of To'opua, and ESE of Paopao Point, and we were very much hoping to overnight at each. I could understand no anchoring allowed in the deeper part of the lagoon near Bloody Mary's & BBYC.



Do you happen to have a copy of your tracks around each island to share?

We chartered out of Raiatea in early December 2016. It is more risky for weather and it is summer, so lighter winds, hotter, and more humid. As it turned out we had only one rainy day and the rest were sunny. We used AC in the evenings to cool the cabins for sleeping. But it’s less expensive and best of all way less crowded.

The anchoring ban at Bora Bora is total and applies to the entire lagoon. That said, I’d be surprised that the charter companies haven’t either (a) got an exemption to the ban or (b) put down moorings for their boats’ use. Regarding anchoring anywhere in the South Pacific, you look for the green sandy patches, as anything blue is most likely too deep.

Dream Yacht Charters and The Moorings both publish detailed itinerary guides. And in these times of Covid it is really important to contact them and find out what is possible.

For our 12 day charter we skipped Huahine and spent more time around Raiatea and Taha’a, as well as a few days at Bora Bora. If you rush a bit you could add Huahine, which is the most laid-back of the four islands, or skip Bora Bora and spend the time at Huahine instead. You’ll see Bora Bora well enough from the west and north sides of Taha’a and it is very touristy all over.

Two very special places we will go back to are the coral river at Motu Tehutu (N reef of Taha’a) and Motu Naonao (S reef of Raiatea).
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Old 28-09-2020, 13:24   #6
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

Navigation is dead easy, there is almost no tide, and not much current in the larger passes. All navigation is done by eye, so if you have a squall going past then you stop and wait for it to go past. The charter company guides clearly show the navigation limits and which passes you can use, so no need to worry.
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Old 28-09-2020, 13:36   #7
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

Hey Glock did you post any stories or pics from your trip to Croatia?

If/when the pandemic abates enough to travel I may look into FP as well.
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Old 28-09-2020, 13:39   #8
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

Thanks for the tips, fxykty! We're certainly not opposed to weather that requires running generator and A/C overnight to be comfortable. Used to that in TX, ha. My wife and I have been to Bora Bora on land, but the rest of our crew has never been, so it is definitely on our list, but appreciate the advice on the other islands. We don't want to rush, but hope to see all 4 islands if we can.

If anyone has recent experience with anchoring or added mooring balls in either of those areas (NW of To'opua, and ESE of Paopao Point), would very much appreciate it! I'll check with whatever charter company we go with to confirm ability to anchor as well.
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Old 28-09-2020, 13:42   #9
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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Hey Glock did you post any stories or pics from your trip to Croatia?

If/when the pandemic abates enough to travel I may look into FP as well.
Not yet! It was great though! Thank you very much for your recommendations! We're heading to the Maldives in a week and a half for our 10yr anniversary and trying to wrap up a lot of work before then. We'll try and get some info & pics posted when we're enroute on that trip.
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Old 28-09-2020, 14:02   #10
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

Wow, you guys are having way too much fun! haha
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Old 28-09-2020, 14:29   #11
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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Thank you very much! Great write up. Interesting that you went in late Feb / early March. What did you think of the weather in general? I've been reading that La Nina is expected to continue in the Pacific into next year, which likely means low chances of cyclones in FP, which would be great. We may consider going in late March or early April after all.
We had FANTASTIC weather....rained like crazy the day we were leaving for New Zealand and OZ. So maybe we just got lucky.

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I see you said no anchoring in Bora Bora. Is that really true?
Yup.....with one exception. There are no mooring balls at the Lagoonarium, but that was just a short stop.

Sorry, no tracks. But our route was pretty much as described.
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Old 29-09-2020, 08:34   #12
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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Wow, you guys are having way too much fun! haha
Always trying!
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Old 29-09-2020, 08:58   #13
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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We had FANTASTIC weather....rained like crazy the day we were leaving for New Zealand and OZ. So maybe we just got lucky.



Yup.....with one exception. There are no mooring balls at the Lagoonarium, but that was just a short stop.

Sorry, no tracks. But our route was pretty much as described.
Good to hear! We'll have to look more into the Lagoonarium. We didn't go there last year, and we may have a 4yr old with us on this trip, which that seems perfect for.
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Old 29-09-2020, 09:04   #14
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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Good to hear! We'll have to look more into the Lagoonarium. We didn't go there last year, and we may have a 4yr old with us on this trip, which that seems perfect for.
Yes....your 4 year old should REALLY like the Lagoonarium. Think we paid $25 bucks each which included a really nice fruit platter after we were finished.

BTW, number one rule from the lady that runs the place..... "DON'T touch the sharks or they will touch you". Funny thing is I still don't know exactly what she meant by that.
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Old 29-09-2020, 09:14   #15
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Re: Looking for advice on French Polynesia charter

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Yes....your 4 year old should REALLY like the Lagoonarium. Think we paid $25 bucks each which included a really nice fruit platter after we were finished.

BTW, number one rule from the lady that runs the place..... "DON'T touch the sharks or they will touch you". Funny thing is I still don't know exactly what she meant by that.
Haha, sounds good. My wife and I will be diving, but one other couple with us will have the young one that I'm sure will thoroughly enjoy the water and fish.
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