B SAILIN' ON A TAHITIAN CATAMARAN
I have been lucky to have traveled to many places in the world. I have traveled by plane, train, car, and boat. My favorite is to travel by boat (not a big cruise), but I had never traveled by catamaran before. After just getting back from traveling to Tahiti, I would definitely recommend this trip. It wasn’t fancy, much like luxurious camping on the water. We flew on Air Tahiti Nui, on a direct flight from LAX to Papeete, the main island of Tahiti. When we landed, we were welcomed at the the airport by local singers with ukuleles and hula dancers—t reminded me of Hawaii. We then took a smaller plane to Raiatea, where we boarded onto the catamaran.
The trip was for 8 days, with five couples on a 62-foot catamaran by Dream yacht charter, the “Dream Patash.” I recommend going with friends that are easygoing and fun, not high maintenance! This is a no makeup, no dress-up kind of trip. We traveled with a crew of three, a captain and two cooks/cleaners. Our captain Timmy was a young guy from Argentina who was fun, happy, and had great positive energy. Timmy’s motto was “stay young, stay fun”. Can someone tell him I love that quote? The cooks were Mom and Vanille, both from Tahiti, very sweet, kind and also very happy, with great energy. Between the all of the couples and the crew, we instantly became a family. The accommodations were simple and great. We all had our own cabins, bathrooms and showers. Water is scarce so showers were limited. We had three wonderful meals made for us every day, and our rooms were cleaned.
Tahiti itself is spectacular, from the breathtaking colors of the ocean to the tropical paradise landscapes. The water is incredibly warm and clear.
During our week in Tahiti, we spent a lot of time sailing, snorkeling, swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing. I have always been a little hesitant of the ocean and all of the creatures living in it. On this trip, I realized how completely freaked out I am by sharks and stingrays. I was fine snorkeling and seeing all the beautiful schools of fish, but I was not excited to see all of the large sharks and huge stingrays that jump up and swim all over you. Let’s just say I didn’t want to get off my husband’s back!
Tahiti has 118 islands, many of which remain uninhabited. We were lucky enough to enjoy two different islands on separate days. We had the islands to ourselves. On one of the islands we enjoyed a wonderful lunch including the local cuisine, which was served on palm leaf plates. The islands are beautiful, but you have to be careful not to get hit on the head by a coconut.
In our downtime, we napped, read, drank and ate a lot of wonderful local fish, and of course we enjoyed a lot of bread and butter—after all, it is “French” Polynesia. Most nights ended early after an amazing sunset, a delicious dinner and a game of name that tune!
Over the years, I have seen many pictures of Bora Bora, with its beautiful resorts and huts over the water with glass bottom floors. I was very intrigued, but I had also heard the saying “Boring Bora.” After visiting the Le Meridien resort, I realized how badly I wanted to get back on the catamaran. It was a beautiful resort but such a different experience. One of the great things about the Le Meridien was seeing the turtle hospital. Many of the locals bring injured turtles to this sanctuary, and they go into a healing room where the turtles have individual pools. Once they are healthy, they are sent back into the ocean.
During our time in Tahiti , we did some local tours of a vanilla farm, a pearl farm, and a rum farm. All were very interesting. Tahiti depends on the export of these goods. Tourism in Tahiti is on the rise but still low in comparison to Hawaii. Last year the number of visitors was 76,906, compared to Hawaii which had 9.6 million.
I have travelled to both Hawaii and Tahiti. I found Tahiti to be more interesting and less commercialized. Maybe with kids it could get a little boring. Tahiti is an 8 hour flight, rather than 5 hours to Hawaii, and you’re in a different country.
Tahiti is French speaking, but English understanding. The islands are picturesque with abundant sea life. Whereas Hawaii’s coasts are almost all exposed to the open ocean, French Polynesia’s are predominantly reef protected. As a result, Tahiti features world class snorkeling and scuba diving, beyond anything available in Hawaii. I definitely give Tahiti a thumbs-up, but would only recommend being on a boat while you are there.