Top 10 Winter Yacht Destinations: Tahiti, French Polynesia
Tahiti leaves sailors spellbound. The island is crowned by volcanoes, carpeted by rain forest and ringed by heaven-sent spa resorts. Marlon Brando fell so in love with the place while filming Mutiny on the Bounty that he made the ultimate gesture… he purchased the neighbouring island of Tetiaroa lock, stock and barrel.
The area is no stranger to celebrity. French navigator Louis Bougainville lent his name to Tahiti’s purple-pink flowers. Painter Paul Gauguin captured its azure seas and skies. You don’t have to be famous to soak up Tahiti’s charms. But we’d recommend you bring a mask, a snorkel and a superyacht.
Crew can lead undersea expeditions to ship wrecks, coral reefs and tuna fish breeding grounds. Softer safaris include sea kayaking, sunset swims and paddleboarding around the Punaauia Lagoon. The truly indulgent can read Herman Melville’s Tahiti Tales in the Jacuzzi, or spot pods of dolphins from the crow’s nest.
Many island highlights are unique to Tahiti. Hardy islanders can offer tips on barefoot waterskiing. Hedonists can ‘skysurf’ down to the turquoise seas with a snowboard tied to their feet. Half-day guided island hikes lead to stone Tiki sanctuaries through ironwood, breadfruit and mango groves.
For sugary sand, set sail for the surrounding Society Islands. This chain of coral atolls stretches into the South Pacific like a necklace of sand. Bora Bora is a den of fine dining and deep water diving, all surrounded by a barrier reef. Moorea’s mix of limpid lagoons and rainforest peaks were declared “the most beautiful island in the world” by travel writer Arthur Frommer.
Tomorrow… Langkawi, Malaysia