Tahiti: 05.09. - 14.09.2006
Route: Tahiti, Bora Bora, Mo'orea, Tahiti
Distance: 185 Km
|Preface: French Polynesia, with
Tahiti as the biggest island, contains 118 islands and has a seize
of only 3500 Km². Most of the Islands are pretty hilly and every flat
piece of land is used; so bushcamping is nearly impossible without
anoying the locals. Most of the islands are sourrounded by a reef
and so most islands have a beautiful lagoon (no waves). Especially
the amazing blue lagoons of Bora Bora and Morea are definetely worth
a visit, even if French Polynesia is one of the most expensive holiday
destinations in the world. SORRY FOR THE POOR ENGLISH, BUT I HAD TO
EXCHANGE MY ENGLISH DICTIONARY INTO A SPANISH DICTIONRAY AND HERE
IN SOUTHAMERICA I ALSO CAN΄T MAKE A SPELLING CHECK!
|Welcoming ceremony: Straight
after the customs the great welcoming ceremony: music and flowers!
No friends and no prebooked hotel expected me at the airport, and
so I got only a single flower instead of a whole bunch.
|The history of French Polynesia:
Though quite remote in the middle of the South Pacific, French
Polynesia looks back to a quite interesting history. Islands like
Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti were first discovered from the Polynesians
between 200 BC and 400 AD. 1520 AD the Spanish came with Ferdinand
Magellan and 1615 AD the Dutch, buth both just saw some very remote
islands. Finally 1767/68 AD, the Brittish and the French first discovered
Tahiti. Between 1769 and 1779 the famous James Cook came, dicovered
most of the islands and missed just some bits and pieces. In 1772
the Spanish came to to proclaim the islands although they were already
proclaimed from France and Great Britain. 1787 the famous Munity on
the Bounty happend on an english ship. When the Brittish brougth some
protestant priests to Polynesia, Christianety started to spread through
the islands. Later, the French brought some catholic missionaries.
When finally two French Missionaries were captured and deported in
1842 by the British, a French Admiral came an took over. Nothing happened
during WWI but during WWII the Americans needed a base in the South
Pacific, after the attack on Pearl Habour, and arived with 5000 soldiers
on Bora Bora. Here the soldiers built a road (32 km long!) and an
airport (the first airport of French Polynesia until 1961). 1946 French
Polynesia became officially an Overseas Republic of France,
and 1958 65% of the Polynesians voted, that they would like to be
connected with France. 1966 France started some nuclear testing on
the atolls Moruroa and Fangataufga. After strong international protests,
after the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" was sunk from the French
Secret Service in Auckland Habour, and after even more international
protests France finally stopped the tests 1995. Unfortunately the
two atolls have some cracks, and so some radioactivity may come into
|Expensive Paradise: I thought New Zealand
was already expensive, but compared with French Polynesia it's a cheap
heaven. Within my first 16 hours (while having slept 9 of them) I
had spend already 75,- . Just for a night in a very simple dormitory
in Papeete (I never saw such a simple dormitory in Asia) I had to
pay already 20,- . If the biblical paradise was also as expensive
as Tahiti, then Adam and Eve didn't have to leave becaus they ate
from the forbidden tree, but because they ran out of money after a
couple of weeks.
|Cargo boat Vaeanu: Though the biggest island
of French Polynesia, Tahiti is not paticulary beauytifull or interesting
(no lovely beaches or good snorkelling), and so I booked a passage
on the cargo boat Vaeanu to Bora Bora. Bora Bora is about 270 Km northwest
of Tahiti, and it took the boat nearly 20 hours to get there. After
a lovely sunset the sea became quite rough during the night, but calmed
down the next morning.
|Bora Bora: Bora Bora was created after
a volcano exploded about three to four million years ago. The ocean
came over the crater rim and created an absolutely beautiful blue
lagoon.The crater rim still sourounds the island either as small islands
(motu) or just below the surface of the water. Thanks to the crater
rim, all waves breake already there instead of at the beach, whrere
the water is calm and has this this amazing blue color. Due to the
absence of plankton, the water is cristal clear.
|Loverly beaches on Bora Bora:
Thaks to the lagoon, the mild warm climate throughout the year, some
lovely beaches, the abundant green vegetation and the volcanic peak,
Bora Bora is one of the top destinations in the world for diving,
snorkelling and relaxing. No wonder, that there are quite a couple
of very expensive hotels, where you can easily spent 450,- to 1000,-
for one night in a small bungalow. Activities are of course not
included. Even the cheapest hostels charge from 65,- onward for
a simple dobble room. These prices are of course far beyond my budget,
and so I decided the first night to sleep under the stars. On the
second day I went to a very basic campground for 10,- per day in
the rough backyard of a local family. I shared the kitchen and the
bathroom with the family and this gave me the chance to experience
at least a little bit the simple live of the normal Polynesians.
|Coconut (Bora Bora): It would be a pity
to visit French Polynesia, where coconuts fall straight to your feet,
without collecting your own coconut. On a remote beach where many
coconuts were just laying on the groud I found one which was not yet
eaten from the crabs. But the most difficult thing to come to the
nut is not to crack the sell, but to remove the thick green/brown
layer around the shell. It took me 15 minutes, throwing the coconut
onto a big stone to finally remove the green/brown layer. But the
delicious taste of the fresh, by hand opened coconut was well worth
|Coconut Crab (Bora Bora): Yeah, you read
right! There are crabs in French Polynesia, who have choosen coconuts
for their main diet. May be you lough now, but if you step into one
of these big crabs, you won't; they are sometimes huge! One of these
crabs was living straight next to my tent and on the next morning
it had pulled one of my tent ropes into it's hole.
|Dancing performance (Bora Bora): On my
last evening, I was lucky to see a polyneisna dancing performance
in one of the lurury hotels (the shows are for free and everybody,
even cyclists, are welcome). When the first missionaries came to Polynesia,
they were pretty shocked when the woman were singing indecend songs
and were dancing also quite indecent. Of course everything was forbidden
immediately in "the name of god"! Only nearly half a century later
under Queen Pomare IV singing and dancing was allowed again, if it
was only a little bit indecent.
|The boat trip back: On my way back the
cargo boat Vaeanu deprated already at 8am, and so we were crusing
the whole day from island to island delivering and picking up some
cargo. Like the Polynesinan travellers I also had booked "deck class",
which ment that we had to sit and sleep on the wooden floor. While
I spent most of the time outside, enjoying the beautiful islands,
the Polynesians were sleeping all the time. On each island, we're
welcome by a big crowd, waiting for the delivery of their goods. As
soon as on of the containers was an the ground, the locals came and
everybody picked what was supposed to be for him. Nobody controlled
any shipping documents. But this system seems to work, because nobody
claimed, that something was missing and there was also never anything
left on the dock.
|Mo'orea: After returning form
Bora Bora to Tahiti at 1am, I spent a quite uncomfortable night on
a bench in a park, until the first ferry to Mo'orea left at 6am. After
only 1 hour, the ferry arrived on Mo'orea, but because the most beautiful
beaches and snorkelling areas are on the opposite site of this beautiful
island, I had to cycle 30 Km on a flat road half around it to Haru
Point. This was the best costal road on the entire trip: flat, very
good paved, nearly no traffic and great landscape!
|Rays (Mo'orea): I found an affordable campgroud,
pitched my tent under a small coconut palm, and went straight into
the beautiful lagoon. I snorkeled to Motu Fareone, a small island
just a couple of hundred meters off the coast. Snorkelling was not
really exiting and also the beach on the island was nothing special.
I was just about to leave, when I saw a gliding shaddow in the shallow
water. There, just a few meters from the beach, was a huge ray gliding
straight towars a tourist group. Instead of swimming away from the
tourists, the ray now started to swim around them. Just when I decided
to join the tourists, another even bigger ray (over 1m in diameter
without the tail) came. Together with the other tourists, I was lying
with my head under the water while the two ray were just crusing around
and below us. A couple of times the bigger ray was gliding just a
few centimeters underneth me. After the rays seemed to be very comfortable
with us, I finally decided to touch the slippery skin of the bigger
ray, which didn't seem to bother him at all. Finally I got a bit annoyed
from the other tourists who started to tease the ray (one man tried
to get pulled by the ray)and so I left the scene. On my way home I
encountered many more rays, but none of them was as "tame" as the
|Underwater world on Mo'orea: Thanks to
the cristall clear water and the lagoon, it is even possible to observe
the underwater world without a mask and a snorkel while just walking
through the water. Perfect for making some photos, though the coulors
are not the very best.
|Munity on the Bounty: The famous munity
on the Bounty happend somewhere in French Polynesia and was already
filmed three times. The third movie, with Anthony Hopkins and Mel
Gibson was shot here in the Cook's Bay on Mo'orea in the 80's.
|Paul Gaugin: The 1948 born painter Paul
Gaugin spent his childhood in Peru. Later he became a marineofficer
and later a stock broker in Paris, where he started to paint landscapes.
After a big crash of the stock market in 1882 he finished his career
as a stock broker, left his wife and his child and concentrated totally
on painting. Gaugin and his way of painting weren't understood at
that time and so he left Paris for Tahiti. After he went back to Paris
in 1893, because he had no more money, he finally returned to Polynesia
in 1895. Until his death in 1903 Gaugin lived on the small and remote
island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. The photo is the copy of a "Gaugin
painting" made from a good friend of mine.
|Flowers: Thanks to the warm climate
you can find everywhere in French Polynesia the most beautiful flowers.
Traditionally many woman or even man wear a flower in the hair or
behind the ear.
Tahiti, Bora Bora and Mo'orea for under 20,- per day
French Polynesia is very expensive, but if you are already there, thanks
to a stopover of your airplane, it's well worth to explore the South Pazific
for a couple of days, and it's still posible without a mortgage. I spent
160,- for 9 days, visiting Bora Bora and Mo'orea (and even went to the
internet for 9,- ). Although very famous, Tahiti, is not the Pazific
Paradise with white beaches and turquais blue water. Tahiti is the biggest
island of French Polynesia and therefor the economical and political center.
If you would like to see the beauty of French Polynesia, it makes sence
to leave Pape'ete as soons as possible, and to explore islands like Bora
Bora and Mo'orea. The cheapest way to do so is by boat. While Mo'orea
is well seviced by passanger ferries, you have to take a cargo boat to
Bora Bora. I have no idea about the cost for transport on the islands,
beause I travelled by bicycle, but the le trucks are not to expesive.
Restaurants are expensive and so selfcatering can save quite you a lot
of money (baguettes are cheap at around 50,- CFP). The hostel and the
two campgrounds following later have a kitchen. You may get a free guidebooklet
with nice maps for the islands from the Tourist Information (I saw some
of the guides in the campgrounds, and there they used the short versions
of the names (CF, F, ...) for the places of interest and accomodation)
Curreny: CFP: 1,- = 119,- CFP (fixed exchange rate with ) (1190,-
CFP = 10,- )
Accomodation: Chez Fifi (CF): Tel.: 826330
2300,- CFP p.Pers. in dormitory
Small hostel straight across the airport. Just cross the carpark, turn
right and walk until the end of it. On the other side of the main road
is a small road going uphill. Follow this road for about 100m and you'll
find the hostel on your left side.
Shopping: Supermarche Campingon on main road from
airpirt to the city center. Market in city center
Ferryboat to Bora Bora:
The Cargo Vessel VAEANU sails to Borao Bora (Papeete - Huahine,
Raita, Tahaan, Bora Bora). The trip takes around 19 hours and you can
sleep on the the wooden deck. (no seats, or restaurant, but toilet and
Monday, Wednesday, Friday all at 5pm
Departure Bora Bora:
Tuesday, Thursday in the afternoon, and Sunday at 8am
2200,- CFP p.Pers. and 700,- CFP for a bike, (one way)
Office and Terminal in Papeete on Motu Uta (le truck no. 3 from town hall).
Terminal on Bora Bora (F). I took the Sunday morning boat
back to Papeete which was really great, because I sailed the whole day
through the islands (Huahine, Raita, Tahaan, Bora Bora), an experience
many people have to pay a lot of money for. The only disadvantage is,
that you then arrive in the middle of the night in Papeete.
Ferryboats to Moorea: The Ferryboats to Mo'orea leave many times
a day from about 6am to about 5pm. The trip takes 30mins to 1h depending
on the boat. Costs about: 900,- CFP p.Pers. and around 100,- CFP
for the bike, (one way). The ferry terminal in Pape'ete is close to the
World famous Lagoon Island with nice beaches. I especially enjoyed the
great color of the water! Beautiful public beach with amazing blue water
just west of Matira Point (MP). Nice Beach with some
Palms (for shade) in the same bay but on the side towards Hotel Bora Bora
at Raitihi Point., (RP). Quite good snorkeling here.
Some Hotels have dancing performances and you can see then if you buy
a drink at the bar.
Accomodation: Camping Ado (I hope this was the name) (CA),
a very basic camping place in Anau on the east coast of Bora Bora 1000,-
CFP p.Pers. You can borrow one of their bikes for free (at least that's
what a French guy did. I don't know if they always give you the bike for
Mo'orea is also a beautiful island, although the colour of the water is
not as amazing as around Bora Bora. On the north coast is the beautiful
Cooks Bay (CB), where the movie"Munity on the Bounty" was filmed.
I went to Hauru Point (HP) in the northwest of Mo'orea.
The area is good for snorkeling and you can swim to Motu Fareaone
(MF), a nice island just a couple of hundred meters offshore (watch
the current!!!). There are huge big rays around. Some of them are nearly
tame and come to investigate you, which was a great experience for me.
Look for moving "shadows" in the shallow sandy waters.
Accomodation: Camping Chez Nelson (CCN): well maintained
with nice kitchen. 1200,- CFP p.Pers. straight on the beach! They also
have dorm beds, rooms and bungalows but I don't know the prices.
50pages, 80 b/w photos, background
infos, stories, ...
Just send your donation
Pal account: firstname.lastname@example.org
and email us your post
address and we´ll send it to you.
Like to place your Ad here?
Just e-mail to:
liked our website and like to contribute?
Pal account is: email@example.com