Moorea, north shore. (Pic by David Helsham @ glistenrr)
Moorea & the Tuamotus
May, 2022 (FULL)
Our inaugural oceanswimsafari to the islands around Tahiti was a big success, and we discovered so much more about this exotic collection of archipelagoes. It's opened up more possibilities, so in 2020 we have altered our program, included another island stay (making two different islands, not just one as in 2019), extended the stay by a couple of nights, and we've added a second oceanswimsafari.
In 2020, we'll visit the Tuamotu island group, about 300km north of Tahiti (the main island of French Polynesia), then we'll come back to Moorea, offshore Tahiti itself. Oour oceanswimsafaris will be over nine-nights (after seven nights in 2019), and we'll see and experience much more of exotic French Polynesia.
Most of us know it just as Tahiti. But Tahiti is just the main island of the greater group that is French Polynesia, an expansive territory sprawling across five archipelagoes in the central Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is part of the Society Islands group. About 300km north of Tahiti lies the Tuamotu group. And just offshore Tahiti, also part of the Society Islands, lies the island of Moorea, the main “holiday island” of the group. The Tuamotus and Moorea are the two places we'll be visiting to swim.
French Polynesia offers all the attractions of a tiny, tropical Pacific state: beautiful, clear, warm water, lots of sea life, gentle, lilting breezes sighing through the coconut palms, the world’s most stunning sunsets…
But there’s more. The blend of Polynesian heritage with French culture adds a dimension to French Polynesia that makes it unlike the Pacific island states of Melanesian/British or Polynesian/British heritage that most of us are used to.
The French influence remains strong, so that an oceanswimsafari in French Polynesia combines the best of swimming in the Pacific, and dining in Paris.
There’s a perception that French Polynesia is expensive. But we’ve found it’s not much different in daily costs from island states much closer to home. This year's oceanswimsafari packages are a little higher than 2019, reflecting the extra nights included and the inclusion of the Tuamutos leg.
In 2019, we were accompanied to French Polynesia by our staff snapper, Glistening Dave (David Helsham @glistenrr), who has published a book of his photographs of our visit. To get a good idea of what this oceanswimsafari is like, you can preview Dave's book... Click here
Near digs, Tuamotus. (Pic by David Helsham @ glistenrr)
We will spend our first night in Pape'ete, the capital of French Polynesia, on Tahiti, then three nights in the Tuamotus, then four nights on Moorea, before our final night back in Pape'ete.
There's also an opportunity to extend your tour for a night or two in Papeete, perhaps with a day tour around the island (including a visit to the world's most feared surf spot, Teahu'upo). This will also give you a better opportunity to shop in Papeete, such as for Tahiti's most exotic export, black pearls.
The Tuamotus lie about 300km north of Tahiti. We will visit an island at the far western end of this archipelago, an island so small that it carries nothing other than our boutique resort. This very comfortable resort was designed, built, and is run by an Australian, a builder by trade and a swashbuckler by style. No two of the ten bungalows are the same at this resort. All meals, by our French chef, are included, as are water activities. We'll swim each day -- outside the reef and inside -- and, if we're in luck, we'll get to swim with manta rays, and maybe some other larger fish. It's a terrific spot for watching the sea life.
It's also a surfing resort -- our resort owner is a surfer -- with excellent right and left handers by The Pass just to the north. There'll be opportunity to surf. Our resort carries a stock of boards of different lengths to suit pretty well any body shape and surfing style.
This is truly a special and a unique place. We are privileged to know about it and to visit. We'll have three nights in the Tuamotus.
Evening swim, Tuamotus. (Pic by David Helsham @ glistenrr)
Moorea lies just offshore Tahiti. Along with Bora Bora, it's French Polynesia's best known "holiday island". We'll have four nights at our boutique resort of nine bungalows. We'll have two mornings of swim excursions, and we'll do an around-island tour including lunch prepared on the beach. Moorea is a mountainous island. Development hugs the coastline, while the interior is wild and rugged. We’re staying right on the beach, so lagoon swims over and around coral whenever you like are at your doorstep.
In the evenings on Moorea, we have a choice of nearby restaurants – within short walking distance -- offering cuisine that ranks with France itself, hence, ”Swim the Pacific, dine in Paris”.
Our resort is at one end of Moorea's restaurant strip offering a variety of blends of French and Polynesian cuisine across a spectrum of price bands, everything from takeaway to "haute cuisine" -- or "fayn dayning", as they say in English. As we say, swim the Pacific, dine in France.
On our last night on Moorea, we’ll dine in, with a private banquet at our resort provided especially for us by a French chef.
We will spend our first and last night in Pape'ete, the capital of Tahiti. Arrival is late on the first night, and departure is early on the final morning. We'll have the afternoon of our return from Moorea to get to know Pape'ete better. Of course, you can always elect to arrive a day or two early, or to stay on a bit longer, to find out more of what Tahiti has to offer. We can arrange that for you.
Pape'ete has a variety of restaurants and shopping attractions, such as the famed black pearls. Don't buy them from just anywhere. You need to be careful. We can offer advice on that. For dinner, try one of the town's French restaurants -- it's like dining in the suburbs of Paris -- or perhaps the food trucks on the waterfront, which offer a great variety of food at very good prices.
French Polynesia exists in yesterday: it’s the other side of the international date line, so you probably will arrive in Papeete before you left home in Australia or New Zealand.
Bungalow options in the Tuamotus are comfortable and unique across most rooms. Some bungalows are more expensive or less expensive than others, generally reflecting space provided. Prices quoted above are based on the most common options.
Room options on Moorea include Garden or Beachfront villas, each accommodating 1-2 people. There is also a family bungalow with two bedrooms accommodating up to six. Bungalows are scattered around a central common bungalow housing sitting room, library, fully-equipped kitchen, and verandah.
We can also arrange other dates to suit your group, if you'd like to travel at a different time of the year.
Note that oceanswimsafaris.com/oceanswims.com are tour operators and we handle all your land arrangements. We do not book international airfares for you. On this oceanswimsafari, we recommend that you book your domestic (inter-island, inside French Polynesia) flights with us to facilitate travelling as a group between islands. We are happy to advise on international flights.
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Swim buddies, Moorea. (Pic by David Helsham @ glistenrr)
Communal house, Moorea (above and below).
It's the water. (Pic by David Helsham @ glistenrr)
Sunset, Pape'ete, from our pub.