The Great Southern Route : 2010 - 2011
CAPTAIN'S LOG FRENCH POLYNESIA 294 | GSR 10- to 15-day discovery trip will take you from Fakarava to Rangiroa. This downwind route is considered more comfortable by some captains, especially for sailing yachts. For longer trips, the itinerary could start further southeast in Makemo or Hao and finish in Rangiroa or in the Society Islands. The opposite itinerary is possible but crossings are likely to be slightly longer because of the wind direction. For guests arriving in Tahiti by air, an onward flight to the Tuamotu island of choice by charter flight is the quickest and most comfortable option. Rangiroa, for example, is only an hour from Tahiti. Tahiti and her islands are famous for their precious black cultured pearls. Most of them are grown in the atolls' lagoon. Pearl farms are seldom marked on charts and often their only indication is lines of buoys that are sometimes last stage of development of an island in French Polynesia. The natural phenomenon of a pass is the result of former rivers whose fresh water flow, hostile to coral polyps, from the mountains into the lagoon and through the fringing reef creating a clear path into the ocean. Despite their remote position, comprehensive provisioning is simple for yachts thanks to local agents and the daily domestic flights from Tahiti to the main atolls. Nothing is easier than entering a lagoon and finding the perfect anchorage spot for the night or for several days, while many yachts cruising the area, travelling and exploring one atoll after another. With guests on board who want to make the most of their days in a new place, it is recommended that the boat is moved at night but unless a captain is familiar with the area, it is not recommended to enter the lagoon in darkness. Guests are then able to wake up in the morning and have breakfast in a new environment. The remoteness and pristine condition of the Tuamotus make visitors feel that they are the very first to explore an untouched island surrounded with a crystal clear blue water. For the majority of the time, your yacht will be the only one in sight. Furthermore, there are absolutely no security issues anywhere in the archipelago whose islanders welcome visitors. The prevailing trade winds usually blow from the east or southeast. Although several itineraries can be drawn up to travel the Tuamotus, a perfect TODAY, THESE ISLANDS account for a total population of 15,000 in comparison with the 260,000 of the whole of French Polynesia. In 1521, Fernando de Magellan was the first to discover one of the Tuamotu atolls situated at the northernmost point of the archipelago. In 1567, the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendaña de Neira sailed through French Polynesia from the east to the west without seeing any land whatsoever, and it was only in 1606 that the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, sailed through the Tuamotu atolls and positioned them on a chart. Located between longitudes 134 deg W and 150 deg W and latitudes 14 deg S and 24 deg S, the Tuamotu atolls cover an area 1800 kilometres long and 600 kilometres wide. It is an incredible playground for yachts with excellent sheltered anchorages within the lagoons of the various atolls accessible from the ocean through their reef's natural passes. The atolls are all remnants of ancient undersea volcanoes, which erupted and created islands between 10 and 12 million years ago. Given the tropical climate, coral developed around the shores. Over the millennia, erosion and the movement of the underwater geological plates made the volcano slowly sink back into the ocean while the growing coral reef stayed close to the surface . The classic atoll with a lagoon within a bounding reef was then born. The atolls are the Diving the Tuamotu Archipelago By: Christelle Holler Photography: Rodolphe Holler This group of islands is among the last discovered by Europeans en route to "Terra Australis Incognita". Spread over 800,000 square kilometres, the 78 atolls of Tuamotu archipelago remained uninhabited until the first migrants travelled on their large outrigger canoes from South-East Asia about 2000 years ago.
2008 - 2009
2013 - 2014