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

Huge French Polynesia

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012

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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!

Liaisons entre les îles de Polynésie, superposées à une carte de l'Europe. (Illustration : DR)
Liaisons entre les îles de Polynésie, superposées à une carte de l’Europe. (Illustration : DR)

Islands-mountains and atolls

Tahiti, le point d’entrée, est une île haute, la plus élevée de Polynésie (2 241 m). Elle est née de l’activité volcanique du plancher océanique, dont la dérive et les points chauds ont créé tout un “chapelet” d’îles-montagnes dans le Pacifique.

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.

Le corail joue son rôle de barrière contre le Pacifique. Mais vivre au ras des flots, sur un atoll perdu dans l’immensité de l’océan, est un peu étrange. J’avoue, je m’y suis sentie plus vulnérable qu’ailleurs…

  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: Ça fait deux ans que j’ai envie d’y retourner… Et j’y retournerai, c’est sûr, mais ça ne va pas être tout de suite, malheureusement. Mais j’espère que je n’attendrai pas vingt ans !!!

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

  3. Superbes clichés que tu nous offres là! Je voulais passer en Polynésie durant mon tour du monde, mais c’est fou comme c’est loin de tout! Un rêve qui reste donc à réaliser pour moi 🙂 Bon vent à toi!

  4. Ah la Polynésie … J’y suis restée 1 mois pour mon voyage de noces, et je confirme que les Marquises, ça vaut le coup ! Ça reste à ce jour (et de par ma toute petite expérience internationale), l’endroit où je me suis le plus sentie au bout du monde … un souvenir incroyable. Huahine est également un petit bijou : Petite île qui a gardé toute son authenticité (par rapport à Bora Bora par exemple) et un lagon absolument sublime. Enfin Tetiaroa. Un îlot perdu au loin, tellement unique. Bref, je comprends l’envie d’y retourner mais pour moi, ce sera difficile vu ma peur en avion (et pourtant nous partions de Floride, pas de France 😉 )