• Cultural > Heart of Polynesia

  • Outriggers: Tradition, muscle, and passion.
  • The coral garden
  • Paddling to Taha'a
  • Peaks of Moorea
  • Taputapueta Marae, the most important holy place in Polynesia
  • Sunset over Moorean reef
  • Raiatea and Tahaa Islands (North=right)
  • Ginni in Moorea's Haapiti pass, 2012
  • Faaroa River, Polynesia's only navigable fresh water
  • A motu is a piece of coral reef that forms a little island
  • Lunch break

Heart of Polynesia

An unforgettable trip for paddlers in Tahitian paradise!

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We hope to offer this again, but aren’t sure when.
A kayak trip in Polynesia is worth making time for! Since visiting the Tahitian islands with Henrick on the sailboat in 2012, I have been pondering, “how do I share this with other kayakers?”

Near the island of Tahiti sits Raiatea, the spiritual center of Polynesia. It nestles together with Taha’a, the vanilla island, inside one reef system, presenting extensive paddling opportunities protected from the brunt of the Pacific Ocean. The native vibe here is welcoming. The lush greenery is soul-filling.

My enthusiastic French Polynesian friend Patrice Duval followed a lifelong dream to create a sea kayak company in the islands of Tahiti. He developed routes, built local relationships and bought quality equipment. His wife Isa is being relocated for work next year, and Patrice is making hard decisions. This may be the last season with Kayak Nomad Polynesia. Working with Patrice has been one of those dreams that you think you’ll do tomorrow, but with this news, we’re scheduling a trip this June. The second trip ends literally days before Patrice and Isa relocate to Reunion Island.

This is a one-time opportunity for 6-8 participants. It’s a private, custom trip led by Patrice and me (Ginni).

Complete package of 12-days includes all ground & sea transportation plus food & lodging starting from your arrival to Papeete airport and returning you back there. It also includes several special Polynesian experiences:

  • A ferry to Moorea, the “world’s most beautiful island” and 3-night visit with the following activities.
  • Traditional Polynesian dinner cooked in the ground with local breadfruit, bananas and meats.
  • One-man theatrical presentation on the beach at sunset including making coconut milk, fire dance, and haka man-dance.
  • 3-hour va’a (Polynesian 6-person outrigger canoe) paddle with a local club. The club is sharing not only their canoes, but their technical knowledge, their history, and their passion.
  • Relaxing SUP paddle over the coral gardens to see fishes, rays, and reef sharks.
  • Half-day mountain trek up the verdant slopes of Moorea for amazing vistas. A professional guide will highlight rare native plants and points of interest.
  • Guided mountain trek on Raiatea to appreciate amazing views and to search for endemic tiare apetahi flowers.

The va’a paddle is a special request of mine that Patrice has organized with his local club. For a sense of Patrice’s enthusiasm and the specialness of this opportunity, here is an excerpt from Patrice’s email about it. Imagine a tall, thin Frenchman with an expressive face, and expressive hands, and a ready laugh:

…va’a with my club, 3 hours tour, technical briefing, paddle synchro, understand the captain signal, 12 TO 15 km tour with half in open sea depend sea state and paddlers confidence, depend the number of clients we will use 1 or 2 va’a 6 people with local peperu ( the rudder ahahah!) and farao leader, i try for that depend club members free! but sur for peperu ( for some good open sea surf! )

The sea kayaking portion is a 7-day circumnavigation of Raiatea and Taha’a in the land of palm trees, vanilla flowers, black pearls, crystal waters, and outrigger canoes. We will camp from our kayaks in pristine and remote places. We will eat many fresh delicacies from the sea. We will stop to snorkel and explore. We will enjoy sunsets and each other’s good company. It’s a place that will touch your heart. Patrice’s genuine enthusiasm for sharing it will bring a smile to your face many, many times.

This trip could be accomplished completely within the protection of the reef that encircles Raiatea and Taha’a, so we labeled the first one as a “Primer”. Opportunities do exist to poke our bows out through the passes and taste the tropical Pacific Ocean swell, and return through another pass. As anywhere, there are balmy days, and windy days, and opportunities to go play in kayaks once we’ve reached the camping beach.

Sea kayaks are rare creatures in this part of the planet for the same reason that mono-hull boats grew out of cold climates and live-on-deck multi-hull boats developed where the weather was appropriate for it. Patrice researched far and wide before finding performance sit-on-top double sea kayaks made in South Africa which enable good paddling technique and easy access for at-sea snorkeling breaks. Single, enclosed-cockpit sea kayaks are also available to share. No, I will not be paddling my Romany on this trip–I will paddle anything and love it! Polynesia is one of the world’s birthplaces of paddling. Greenland for closed-decked kayaks; North America for inland canoes; South Africa for surf skis; Polynesia for ocean-going canoes. Paddling is a way of life here, and it is a joy to be immersed in such a culture.

Unless you have a sailboat with your own kayaks on board, this is your chance to paddle Polynesia right. Good kayaks, likeminded paddlers, premier location, logistics worked out for you. Come see why it’s a dream come true!

Flight Logistics June 6 Trip
Air Tahiti Nui flies nonstop from LAX to Papeete (PPT), an 8-hour trip. It’s running about $2000 as of January. Try to get on the June 5 11:40pm departure, or earlier if you would like to spend more time in French Polynesia before our trip. On our first days we do plan some relaxing time to help recover from the travel.

Air Tahiti hops between Pape’ete (PPT) and Raiatea (RFP) several times a day for about $285 round trip.

Please book this PPT to RFP flight for June 9 on the 1:30 flight if possible. Return from Raiatea on June 18 at the time that best suits your international departure.

Itinerary

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Included Always

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Included This Trip

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Dates & Prices

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Expedition Primer


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