Bora Bora from the sky. Polynesia, October 2012.
Bora Bora from the sky.

Huge French Polynesia

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Five archipelagos comprising 118 islands and atolls, scattered across the Pacific, over a territory as vast as Europe... Polynesia is just huge!

Nothing beats a card

I was there… in october 2012. Two and a half years have passed already. I dream of returning to Polynesia and one day having the time to explore its five archipelagos: Society Islands, Tuamotu, Marquesas, Gambier and Austral Islands. In 2012, my two-week trip only allowed me to discover 4 islands out of 118: Tahiti, Moorea, Maupiti (Company) and Rangiroa (Tuamotu).

In the lagoon of Maupiti. Polynesia, October 2012.
The lagoon of Maupiti. (Society Islands, Polynesia, October 2012) 

As before each departure, I wanted to locate myself on a map. I know the islands of South-East Asia, but until then I did not know anything about Polynesian geography ...

On several websites, I found this presentation that I like very much: it's a map that superimposes the five archipelagos to Europe. At a glance, you get the full measure of the immensity of Polynesia!

Links between the islands of Polynesia, superimposed on a map of Europe (Illustration: DR)
Links between the islands of Polynesia, superimposed on a map of Europe (Illustration: DR)

Islands-mountains and atolls

Tahiti, the entry point, is a high island, the highest in Polynesia (2,241 m). It was born from the volcanic activity of the ocean floor, whose drift and hot spots have created a whole "chain" of mountain islands in the Pacific.

Bora Bora from the sky. Polynesia, October 2012.
Bora Bora from the sky.

And then there are the famous atolls. They're ancient volcanoes too. So old that they've disappeared with erosion: only the coral remains, which has grown in a crown all around. These rings at the water's edge are both beautiful and movingly fragile.

Rangiroa famous dive spot where I spent a few days, is one of the largest atolls in the world: 80 km long by 32 km wide, and more than 200 km in perimeter... When you arrive by plane, you don't see the end of it! Only a tiny portion is inhabited and the widest parts hardly exceed 300 m, wedged between ocean and lagoon. This one has the dimensions of a small sea, which can be as stormy as the ocean!

The storm arrives on the Rangiroa lagoon. Polynesia, October 2012.
The storm arrives on the Rangiroa lagoon.

The coral plays its role as a barrier against the Pacific. But living at sea level, on an atoll lost in the immensity of the ocean, is a bit strange. I admit, I felt more vulnerable than elsewhere...

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012

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  1. Wow, the photos will dream! But hey, a little far from Reunion for the moment ...

  2. @Corinne: But, tell me, does it smell like a return to Polynesia soon, or am I wrong? 😉
    Your article I like well, and falls perfectly!
    I went there in 1996, sailing, to Mopélia, through Maupiti, Bora, Huahine, Tahaa, etc ... then Rangiroa for diving.
    I always made a promise, go back! And now, 20 years later, it's done! 8)
    Take off June 25. This time, direction the Marquesas Islands (Nuku HIva/Hiva Oa, Ua Pou) then the Austral Islands (Raivavae, Tubai, and Rurutu) 🙄
    Originally, I had planned a "diving" program, but it will be more of a hike. Well, it'll be a change from Greenland! 😆

    1. @Didier: I've been wanting to go back for two years... And I will go back, for sure, but it's not going to be right away, unfortunately. But I hope I don't wait twenty years!!!

      Marquesas and Austral... It's going to be fantastic. At least no risk of crossing the ice 😆

  3. Superb shots you've given us here! I wanted to go to Polynesia during my world tour, but it's crazy how far it is from everything! A dream that has yet to come true for me 🙂 All the best to you!

  4. Ah Polynesia ... I stayed there for 1 month on my honeymoon, and I can confirm that the Marquesas Islands are well worth the trip! To this day (and from my very little international experience), it remains the place where I felt most at the end of the world ... an incredible memory. Huahine is also a little gem: a small island that has kept all its authenticity (compared with Bora Bora, for example) and an absolutely sublime lagoon. Finally, Tetiaroa. An island lost in the distance, so unique. In short, I understand the desire to go back, but for me, it will be difficult given my fear of flying (and yet we were leaving from Florida, not France 😉 ).