French Polynesia

Aranui III

This year I didn’t plan any journey to French Polynesia. I planned to visit this part of the Earth, but on a different itinerary. First Samoa (two islands), then 20 days of cruising on a small yacht, Bounty Bay. Itinerary: Samoa – Swains Island (American Samoa), Tokelau, Phoenix Islands (Kiribati). The cruise was supposed to end in Tuvalu (I was going to stay there for a week and celebrate my birthday). From there a flight to Yasawa Islands (Fiji), then Wallis and Futuna Island. At the end of the voyage one week stay in The Kingdom of Tonga. The whole trip was planned to take 45 days.

A month before the excursion, Graham Wragg, owner of Bounty Bay, cancelled my dreamed-of cruise. Next day I found Aranui III on the Internet. It is a cargo ship that supplies Marquesas Islands with almost everything: cement, wine, cigarettes or cars, etc. I made my decision straight away: I’m going.

With Aranui III I reached beautiful islands on the Marquesas archipelago (and two atolls on the Tuamotu archipelago). I have dreamt about Marquesas Islands, since as a little boy I read a book “Fatu Hiva” by Thor Heyerdahl. I visited this island as well.

Graham Wragg owns now a sailing ship, S/V Southern Cross, and until now hasn’t returned money that I paid for the cruise cancelled in May 2009. I warn all travellers of him.

French Polynesia Society Islands


Huahine is an island located among the Society Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Leeward Islands group (Iles sous le Vent).

Huahine measures 16 km (9.9 mi) in length, with a maximum width of 13 km (8.1 mi). It is made up of two main islands surrounded by a fringing coral reef with several motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. The two islands are separated by a few hundred yards of water and joined by a sandspit at low tide. A small bridge was built to connect Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti. NW of Huahine Iti lies a 375 ha brackish lake known as Lac Fauna Nui (Lac Maeva). This lake is all that remains of the ancient atoll lagoon. There is an airport at Huahine. It was inaugurated in 1971.

One of the famous attractions on Huahine is a bridge that crosses over a stream with 3- to 6-foot (1.8 m) long eels. These eels are deemed sacred by the locals, by local mythology. While viewing these slithering creatures, tourists can buy a can of mackerel and feed the eels. The Fa’ahia archaeological site in the north of the island has revealed subfossil remains of several species of birds exterminated by the earliest Polynesian colonists of the island.

Source: Wikipedia (under GNU Free Documentation License)

French Polynesia Tuamotu


Rangiroa (meaning “Vast Sky” in Tuamotuan) or Te Kokota, is the largest atoll in the Tuamotus, and one of the largest in the world (although it is smaller than Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Huvadhu in the Maldives). It is located in the Palliser group. The nearest atoll is Tikehau, located only 12 km to the West.

The atoll consists of about 250 islands, islets and sandbars comprising a total land area of about 170 km². There are approximately 100 narrow passages, called hoa, in the fringing reef. The lagoon is approximately 1600 km². It is so large that it has its own horizon.

The chief town is Avatoru, located in the northwestern part of the atoll. Rangiroa has a total of 2334 inhabitants (2002 census).

The first recorded Europeans to arrive to Rangiroa were Dutch explorers Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten during their 1615-1616 Pacific journey. They called this atoll “Vlieghen Island”.

Rangiroa appears in some maps as “Nairsa” or as “Dean’s island”. This atoll was visited by the Charles Wilkes expedition on September 7, 1839.

There is a territorial (domestic) airfield in Rangiroa which was inaugurated in 1965.

Source: Wikipedia (under GNU Free Documentation License)

Marquesas French Polynesia


Teuaua is a tiny island south-west of the island Ua Huka, also known as Bird Island or the Motu Manu. It is a breeding ground for millions of terns, whose eggs, unfortunately, are constantly filched by the Ua Huka’s inhabitants.

Marquesas French Polynesia

Ua Huka

Ua Huka is one of the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is situated in the northern group of the archipelago, approximately 25 mi (40 km). 42 km to the east of Nuku Hiva, at 8°54′S 139°33′W

Ua Huka is sometimes also found spelled Roohka or Ua Huna. The first Western navigator to sight the island was U.S. Navy Capt. Joseph Ingraham in 1791. He named the island “Washington Island” in honor of U. S. President George Washington, a name which was eventually extended to include all of the northern group of the Marquesas Islands. Other names for the island include Riou and Solide. See also Names of the Marquesas Islands.

The island is shaped approximately like a crescent, with its concave edge facing the south. The land area is approximately 83 km² (32 sq. mi.). The center of the island is a high plateau, deeply indented in places by narrow river valleys. The highest peak, Hitikau reaches an elevation of 857 m (2,812 ft). Much of the island’s native plant cover, which outside the valleys consists primarily of dry-land scrub, has been devastated by herds of feral goats and horses, which are estimated to number upwards of 3,000.

Ua Huka is a shield volcano that was emplaced between 2.2 and 2.4 million years ago. It is thought to have formed by a center of upwelling magma called the Marquesas hotspot.

Administratively Ua Huka forms the commune (municipality) of Ua-Huka, part of the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands. This commune consists solely of the island of Ua Huka itself.

The administrative centre of the commune is the settlement of Vaipaee, on the southern side of the island.

The 2007 census showed a population of 571 inhabitants, residing in three villages: Vaipaee, Hane, and Hokatu.

Source: Wikipedia (under GNU Free Documentation License)