Things to do in French Polynesia…
Swim with whales. From August to October the sheltered waters surrounding Moorea, around 15km west of Tahiti, are a haven for calving humpback whales. The sight of mother and newborn calf is just mesmerising and the chance to get into the water and swim whilst accompanied by an experienced wildlife photographer is just an awesome privilege, not to be missed.
Chartering a small ship to cruise amongst the islands of French Polynesia is one thing but booking a place on a working cargo freighter is quite something else. This is a relatively new means of combining tourist and passenger transportation with cargo deliveries, and has proved successful in subsidising local trade links as well as reaching out of the way destinations that large cruise ships, thankfully, cannot touch.
Feel the rhythm of the islands. For over two millennia Polynesian culture has developed within its eastern archipelago, and despite French being the official language and Christianity the main religion it’s essentially a tropical island beat that best describes French Polynesia’s natural cultural rhythm. Traditional welcome ceremonies differ from one island to the next as do handicrafts and carvings, with tapa cloth, flower stones, boulders, bones, coconuts and shells all providing unique canvases for intricate designs and sacred inscriptions.