2021 TAHITI FLOTILLA SAILING CRUISE
REDISCOVER ENCHANTING POLYNESIA WITH COLGATE SAILING ADVENTURES®
Smell the beguiling fragrance of Frangipani flowers. Feel the allure of Polynesian drumbeats echoing across the water. Envision yourself on a big, spacious catamaran as it glides through the crystal-clear waters of an island atoll. This and so much more is waiting for you in Tahiti.
A 10-DAY TAHITI SAILBOAT CHARTER IN UNRIVALED TROPICAL BEAUTY
When Nate and Heather Atwater returned from the 2018 7-day Colgate Sailing Adventures® Cruise in Tahiti they said it wasn’t long enough. And they were right. The beauty and unique character of the exotic islands of the Tahitian Leewards are so hard to leave. Balmy trade SE tradewinds average between 15 and 20 knots. Temperatures range from 78-85°F this time of year. Water temperatures are around 77°F. If you were with Nate and Heather Atwater, your Tahiti catamaran charter leaders last time, you probably are longing to return. If you couldn’t make it then, now’s the time to join the Atwaters and other happy sailors on this bucket list adventure! Many of the photos on this page were provided by participants on a shorter French Polynesia cruise several years ago.
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Situated midway in the Pacific Ocean between South America and Australia, French Polynesia is actually 118 islands spread out in an area roughly the size of Europe. This Tahiti catamaran charter takes you to the Society Islands. Papeete on Tahiti is the capital. Within the Society group are Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Huahine. Because the islands are downwind from Tahiti they’re known as the Leewards. Mountains rise from the sea on the remains of ancient volcanoes. Snorkeling on barrier reefs reveals sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, porpoises, colorful hard and soft coral, and more than 500 species of fish.
On this cruise you enjoy sailing inside reefs where the water is calm and navigation is line-of-sight from one marker to the next. Between islands you can experience spirited sailing on open-water passages. The longest passage to windward is about 18 NM. Open-water passages downwind provide the best of spectacular cruising in the South Pacific. As always keeping an eye on the chart and plotting your course is important. With tidal ranges less than one foot, currents are usually weak except in narrow passages from open-water through the reefs. Snorkeling on the reefs, swimming and sunbathing on white-sand beaches, enjoying the delights of luxury resorts, shopping, and fine restaurants, and spending quiet evenings aboard in picturesque anchorages are all part of what makes bareboat Tahiti sailing so appealing.
WHAT DOES A 10-DAY TAHITI VACATION PACKAGE COST?
- Single traveler in a private cabin – $5,800
- Two sharing a cabin – $5,200 per person
Offshore Sailing School graduates who hold US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification, enjoy a $300 per person discount:
- OSS grad with BCC Certification, single in a private cabin – $5,500
- OSS grads, with BCC Certification, (2) sharing cabin – $4,900 per person
If one person in your party holds US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification and the other does not, the discount applies only to the person with that certification. To reserve your cabin, a 30% deposit is required when you sign up. An additional 20% deposit (for a total of 50%) is due by May 1, 2021, and the final 50% balance plus a $300 refundable security deposit per person is due July 1, 2021. If you cancel May 1, 2021 or later, no refunds of monies paid are allowed. Please buy trip insurance – click here to find out more.
Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Tahaa and Huahine are not far apart, yet each has its own special features. Of course they all have fantastic reefs to snorkel, beautiful white beaches, and sandy islands called “motus.” Your cruise leaders will have consulted with the base manager to make sure the cruise itinerary takes you to the best spots. They will go through this with the group when all have arrived. Please fill out the Required Flotilla Cruise Resume link below and email back to Cheryl@OffshoreSailing.com. What follows is a brief description of the highlights you may get to during this very special 10-day bareboat charter in Tahiti.
Four catamarans with ensuite heads are reserved for this cruise: one Moorings 5000, two 4800s and one 4500 – all located at The Moorings/Sunsail Base in Marina Apooiti on Raiatea. The base is just 1.3 miles from the town of Uturoa and very close to the airport. Raiatea is the largest of the Tahitian Leeward islands and the cultural heart of Tahiti. Formerly an important port on ancient Polynesian routes, traders traveled to and from Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand and present-day French Polynesia. The yachts will be ready to board at 10 am on September 4. The Atwaters will be at the base to greet you and guide you to your assigned yacht, oversee boat check-outs, the chart briefing, stowing gear and provisions. Then the real sailing begins to some of the most exotic islands in the world! This cruise ends at 10:00 am on September 14th.
Tucked in the south end of Tahaa is Apu Bay, where the Taravana Yacht Club offers free moorings to those who dine with them ashore. The bay is well-protected except in southerly winds, and the views of the mountains on Raiatea and Tahaa are gorgeous. You can enjoy a great meal at the yacht club’s French restaurant after a stroll along the beach, or just stay aboard for cocktails and dinner under a star streaked sky.
THE ISLANDS OF BORA-BORA
A single barrier reef encircles the two islands that make up Bora-Bora. Mt. Otemanu’s black basalt rock face rises 2,362 feet above the sea, with impressive Mt. Pahia nearby. Both provide breathtaking views from lagoon anchorages with wonderful snorkeling and swimming. Bora Bora was a U.S. military base during World War II, and a number of armaments are still visible today. It’s only town is Vaitape, with cafes, local handcrafts, boutiques and jewelry shops that carry black pearl jewelry.
Fabled Bora Bora is home to the popular Bora Bora Yacht Club. North of the main island town of Vaitape Village, Bora Bora YC is world famous among long-distance cruisers, as shown by the many burgees hanging from open air rafters. It’s quite a treat to sip a cool drink at the yacht club bar and listen to their stories. In the Village, are restaurants and shops where you should be able to find locally hand-made Batik pareos, which seasoned sailors and islanders (women and men) wear as skirts and cover ups. Moorings here are free of charge if your boat decides to dine at the yacht club.
Motus dot the Bora-Bora barrier reef and at the far edge of the lagoon on the southeast side of the island is Motu Piti Aau and Taurere. This beautiful anchorage has fabulous views of lush green mountains. On the way to Taurere you might anchor for lunch at Motu Tape. Ashore is the Lagoonarium where you can swim with fish, sharks and rays without fear. There are also resorts ashore where you can have dinner. An incredible coral garden for snorkeling can be visited by dinghy around Point Faaroone, and you can explore by dinghy many inlets of nearby motus, or stroll to the beach on the ocean side for swimming and shelling.
To the east along the Bora-Bora shore is Povai Bay, north of Point Raititi. Here the lagoon is wider, with several hotels and restaurants. The small island to the west is Topua where you can see the only remaining ruins of the massive volcano that formed Bora-Bora. In Povai Bay is the famed Bloody Mary restaurant (think – the musical South Pacific). Moorings are available if you dine there. There are several nice beaches and reef snorkeling, accessible by dinghy; and a stroll ashore takes you to shops, art galleries and more restaurants.
To get here you sail over the north end of Raiatea Island, then southeast along the eastern coast. After entering a well marked channel, to starboard is the fjord-like anchorage called Faaroa Bay, set deep into the shoreline. It’s an amazing place to spend the night, with lush vegetation, tall palms, steep mountains on both sides, and the valley of Mt. Tefaatuaiti beyond. The main attraction here is to explore the Aopomau River by dinghy. As you make your way slowly up river, you’ll pass jungle-like shore lines and cultivated lands of working plantations.
This lovely anchorage is steeped in history. Eons ago this was a major starting point for long-distance voyages to New Zealand, which is how the Maori people were established there. A major religious center at Opoa was built because of its great importance as a port. Today there is a small village on the shore, vanilla plantations inland and pearl farm buoys that must be avoided where you anchor. Ashore is Taputapuatea Marae, an archaeological site dating back to before 1000 AD, restored in 1994, and still being worked on today. This was a place of sacrifices to the gods and a place where seamen passed their knowledge to students. There’s a great stone alter, and stone figures called Tikis for interesting photo ops.
This is the largest settlement on the island of Huahine, where most of the villagers gather when the inter-island freighters dock at the town wharf. Huahine is a large, agricultural islands with many plantations in the valleys and lowlands, and a mountainous interior. The village has several restaurants, shops and small hotels. A small passage between Maroe Bay on the east side and Port Bourayne on the west side separates Huahine into two islands. You can rent cars here to roam the island on quiet roads that weave through the valleys and hills, where vanilla plantations are prevalent. You can also see the island on horseback. A must stop for cruisers is the Huahine Shack where you can get a cool island drink.
At the western passage behind Huahine’s barrier reef is a nice anchorage and many activities to do ashore. For dining ashore head to the Mauari Restaurant or the Relais Mahana hotel.restaurant, which are both very good. You can also rent cars, motor scooters and bicycles for island tours; and water toys for fun in the lagoon.
HAAMENE BAY ON TAHAA
Tahaa is the “little sister” island to Raiatea, known for its many vanilla plantations in valleys surrounded by beautiful mountains. It’s well worth it to hire an islander to take you on a plantation tour. Black pearls, grown on aquatic farms (some open to the public) are crafted by local artisans into beautiful bracelets, necklaces and rings for sale in shops all over the islands. Tahaa also has a sea turtle preserve, and many fjord-like inlets, with superb reef snorkeling and white-sand beaches. You will likely pick up moorings at Hibiscus Restaurant in Haamene Bay, the largest protected body of water on the island. Or you might drop anchor at lovely Motu Mahea for a picnic lunch, swimming and snorkeling. You can also hike the trail through the dense tropical forest over Mt. Taira to the head of Hurepiti Bay and visit the Vanilla House where raw beans are processed before being exported. The amazing fragrant scent of vanilla fills the air.
Fly to the Capital of Tahiti, Papeete, and then catch a direct flight to Tahiti/Faa’a airport on Raiatea via several commuter flight options. The Moorings base is at Marina Apooiti, 5 minutes from the Raiatea airport. Taxi fare is around $15. The Tahiti vacation package’s Meet and Greet Welcome Party, hosted by Nate and Heather, will likely be held Friday night prior to boarding the boats so we recommend coming in at least one day before. To make your travel plans easy on you, we recommend contacting Soun Saysomvang at the Moorings travel desk: Soun.Saysomvang@thimarine.com). When you sign up you will receive a complete handbook, with a ton of information including hotels recommended by The Moorings. Expect to be greeted by music and dancers when you arrive at the base!
Everyone on this Colgate Sailing Adventures Flotilla Cruise will enjoy sailing on four Moorings catamarans, each with spacious cabins and private en-suite bathrooms (heads) with showers. There are also fresh water showers on the stern to rinse off after a swim. The spacious main salon has a wrap around settee and dining table, with a large galley and navigation station. There is ample room for storage of your luggage once you unpack, but don’t bring too much! You will be in a swimsuit and pareo or cover-ups brought from home most days. The large aft cockpit has plenty of space to gather for dinners and fun. Forward you can sit on bow seats or the trampoline for impressive views underway.
CALL 888-454-7015 TODAY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR FUN TAHITI CATAMARAN CHARTER
HERE’S WHAT YOUR TAHITI FLOTILLA CRUISE PACKAGE INCLUDES . . .
- Your shared or private cabin aboard one of the Moorings catamarans
- Ten days of provisions aboard including all breakfasts, lunches and five dinners
- Two dinner parties organized during the cruise: the Welcome party and dinner first night of cruise and Flotilla Group dinner during the cruise or on last night
- All local and VAT taxes
- Damage waiver
- Full water and fuel tanks when board before leaving base
- Commemorative 2020 Tahiti Flotilla Cruise shirt and hat
- Comprehensive booklet with all the details you need to know to plan your trip
- Cruise leaders, Nate and Heather Atwater, organizing each day, sailing on one of the boats with the fleet throughout the cruise
- Travel and transfers to and from home to Tahiti and base where boats are located
- Accommodations ashore before or after the cruise
- Beverages you wish to put aboard the boat including extra water, juices, wine, beer and other libations
- Additional provisions you wish to have aboard the boat
- Drinks and meals ashore before, after and during the cruise not specified above
- Fishing equipment, kayaks or other “toys” you might be able to rent at the base to take with you
- Shore excursions you take on your own or organized by the cruise leaders during the cruise
- Mooring, docking and park fees (shared by crews on each boat)
- Any other expenses you incur before, after or during the cruise
STAYING CONNECTED WHILE THERE
There are several options if you have a smart phone: (1) Check with your provider to get an extension for French Polynesia; (2) use Skype to call internationally with Wi-Fi available in most main villages; (3) buy a SIM card that works off the VINI network, which can be purchased in Papeete or at the airport post office when you arrive. The Moorings will provide one mobile phone for each yacht, free, but you will have to buy pre-paid calling cards ($1.50/minute). Incoming calls are at no cost on the boat cell phones.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TAHITI
- Time difference is 10 hours UTC/GMT
- Currency is the French Pacific franc (CFP) – approximately 100 CFP to the US dollar; Euros and US dollars are also accepted throughout the islands
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most of the larger restaurants and supermarkets
- Cruising permits like the IPC are not required in Tahiti
- A valid passport is required, with expiration date no earlier than 6 months after your planned return; there is no departure tax
- Internet access is available in the briefing room at the base; in internet cafes near the Marina, and on Bora Bora and Huahine; and there are WiFi zones on each island
- Electricity throughout the region is 220 volts, with European-style plugs; power outlets are available on The Moorings pier; most yachts are equipped with power cords, battery charger and 220V plus; here is a 12V cigar lighter outlet by the chart table on the yachts.