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)
Connections 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 "string" 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.

Coral plays its role as a barrier against the Pacific. But living at the edge of the waves, 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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