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Sailing The Society Islands, French Polynesia

Sailing The Society Islands, French Polynesia

Society Islands Honeymoon

The Society Islands…jagged mountains, white sand seashores, over-water bungalows, tropical forests, sounds of ukuleles, and smells of gardenia…it’s a honeymoon dreamland. But too usually, {couples} fly from Tahiti to Bora Bora and miss the unbelievable islands in between! Keeping with the seafaring custom of Polynesia, a small ship is palms down one of the simplest ways to discover this beautiful archipelago, so we joined Windstar Cruises for a Society Islands honeymoon journey! Not your typical boat (there’s solely a handful on the planet), the Wind Spirit is a four-masted, motorized crusing yacht that rides the breeze to extend velocity, scale back gas, add romance, and honor the artwork of crusing. Plus, there have been lower than 100 folks on board and simply as many workers (together with their spa specialists, mixologists, water-sport crew, and James-Beard-Foundation-trained cooks) so we knew we’d be in good palms throughout our seven-day crusing. See the place we went, what we did, and why we fell in love with yacht life within the Society Islands.

MSY Wind Spirit

Windstar Wind Spirit Sailing yacht

In Tahiti’s Papeete harbor, we noticed the MSY Wind Spirit with its six sails, picket railings, and pointed bow, and obtained giddy for the week forward. It regarded extra like a basic tall ship than the cruise selection and simply our velocity. At the top of the pier and pink carpet, Captain Lubo and General Manager D’Souza have been ready to personally welcome us aboard. With our baggage already delivered to our room, we got down to discover the 4 decks throughout this 360-foot-long ship. Two eating places, a lounge, espresso bar, library, health middle, spa, boutique, watersports platform, pool bar, sundecks, and 73 staterooms, it had all the things {couples} (learn: no little youngsters allowed) might need whereas conserving a small footprint. We reached our room and our “butler” Yadi was there to present us a tour of our nautical stylish area with a queen mattress, seating space, ample storage, sound system, mini bar, and spacious toilet. He left us with a bottle of champagne to toast our keep and tell us he was out there for something we would have liked.

Setting Sail

society island shoneymoon

Getting dressed for dinner, we heard the cinematic track “Conquest of Paradise” come on the loudspeaker. This is the sound of Windstar’s signature sail-away when everybody gathers on the highest deck to look at the sails unfurl and lift a glass to an important day and people forward. We went upstairs, waved goodbye to Tahiti basking within the sundown glow, then to dinner on the unbelievable Amphora restaurant. Windstar is the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, which implies that every day’s menu options recipes by the inspiration’s award-winning cooks and is ready to their five-star requirements. We sat down at a comfy crescent sales space beneath the glow of a Murano glass chandelier, and Chef and 5x cookbook writer Darin Epp got here to our desk. He knew we have been vegan with out us saying a phrase, and had a protracted listing of suggestions for a scrumptious plant-based meal. He ready a tofu that was the closest factor to sea bass we’ve had since our pescatarian days and a Thai-inspired “Bang-Bang Cauliflower” that introduced us again to Bangkok. As we ate the final chew of our suave dessert and swooned, Darin stated, “Just wait until Friday…I’m creating an eight-course vegan dinner for you.”

Mo’orea: Straight out of Moana

Society island honeymoon

We wakened with the solar and out of our porthole window we noticed the plush inexperienced and jagged peaks of Mo’orea capturing out of the ocean. I rapidly obtained dressed, grabbed a cappuccino and pastry on the espresso bar, and went to the highest deck to look at arguably French Polynesia’s most stunning isle draw nearer. All the islands listed below are volcanic in origin however, being among the many youngest within the chain (at 2 million years outdated) Mo’orea has nothing weathered about it with sheer cliffs, skinny bays, and a placing silhouette. To assist company discover and luxuriate in every island, we might take the Windstar tender to enterprise out on our personal (hire bikes, store the native markets, go to museums, and so on.) or we might join a myriad of excursions—from scuba diving to photograph safaris. For an excellent cultural and geological overview, we did a improbable tour to Belvedere Lookout’s sweeping vista, the oldest European church within the South Pacific, the Gump Research Station for sustainability science, and the sacred Polynesian ruins of Marae Ti’i-rua. In the afternoon, we went dolphin and whale watching with one in every of French Polynesia’s premier marine biologists, Dr. Michael Poole, whose analysis and advocacy has resulted in a lot of the nation’s laws defending these marine mammals. We realized all in regards to the fascinating spinner dolphins and this newly found humpback breeding floor, then noticed each species in motion! When the time got here for the Wind Spirit to unfurl its sails and depart Mo’orea, we have been already planning our return.

Raiatea: The Heart of the Polynesian Triangle

Society Islands Honeymoon

The Islands of Tahiti are the middle of the Polynesian Triangle which stretches from Hawaii to Easter Island to New Zealand, and the island of Raiatea is on the non secular coronary heart of all of it. It’s additionally residence to unbelievable scuba diving and the nation’s solely navigable river (Windstar gives each of these excursions), however its true star is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taputapuātea. This historical marae complicated is the place chiefs, monks, and warriors from throughout the Pacific would journey through canoe to collect for crucial ceremonies. Our native information Tara picked us up, and her ardour for Polynesian tradition was infectious. She regaled us with tales of her childhood spent chasing land crabs and climbing tropical fruit timber. She made stops at a small-family “copra” (aka dried coconut) operations and black pearl farms to assist us perceive these staples of the nation’s economic system. Ultimately, she walked us by way of Taputapuātea for a tour that gave us a deeper appreciation of Polynesia past French borders. To high off our day of cultural immersion, the ship invited an area troupe onboard to show conventional dances, floral-crown making, palm-frond weaving and set the tone for that night time’s Tahitian BBQ beneath the celebs.

Taha’a: The Vanilla Island & Motu Mahea

taha'a society islands

Sailing from Raiatea to Taha’a, the colour of the water appeared to impress. Moving into the shallower depths, navy blue pale to teal to turquoise over the white sand. We had reached “The Vanilla Island,” the place 70% of French Polynesia’s famed beans develop. A neighborhood tour boat pulled as much as our anchorage with a ukulele musician, setting the great island vibes for our day. We walked down the principle road of charming Taha’a and will scent the vanilla within the air, blended with hibiscus and gardenia from the gardens of the few thousand inhabitants. We arrived at a family-run plantation and obtained the lowdown straight from the vanilla farmer’s mouth. The bean comes from a hand-pollinated flower, takes 9 months to develop, dries within the solar for six weeks, then cures for 2 months earlier than it’s the vanilla we all know and love. After the 101 course, we walked the plantation and sampled all kinds of vanilla merchandise, recent from one of many most interesting producers on the planet. On the best way again to the ship, we made a seemingly harmless snorkel cease solely to appreciate it was teeming with blacktip reef sharks and stingrays! Never had we seen so many sharks, however we took the information’s phrase that they have been pleasant and jumped in. It was an unbelievable expertise and we have now all our fingers and toes to indicate for it! For lunch, relatively than return to the ship, the Windstar workforce introduced a full-on BBQ feast, water sports activities, and therapeutic massage tables to the personal island of Motu Mahea for a day of enjoyable.

Activities Aboard The Wind Spirit

society islands honeymoon

We aren’t the kind to sit down nonetheless very lengthy, so we appreciated that tons of actions is also discovered on board. The Wind Spirit’s water sports activities platform had all the things from kayaks, to SUP boards, trampolines, and even wakeboards with a velocity boat to zip you round. They additionally had attention-grabbing applications all through the day, from cocktail-making classes to Polynesian storytelling, stay music (we beloved our resident musician, Alex Mel!), and the large workers expertise present. And once we did wish to sit nonetheless, it could possibly be in a sizzling tub or solar chaise watching the islands go by.

Bora Bora Bliss

bora bora society islands honeymoon

The subsequent morning we wakened and noticed Mount Otemanu framed completely in our porthole…we had reached the legendary Bora Bora. Since everybody needs to know this honeymoon isle just a little higher, we anchored in its lagoon for 2 days and obtained whisked away on an outrigger sooner or later and a dive boat the subsequent. Skimming alongside the water, we handed palm-fringed islets, over-water bungalows, and a lot marine life! We jumped in for a number of snorkeling classes within the coral gardens bursting with coloration and tropical fish. For lunch, we stopped on Pitu Island, the place our guides had a powerful unfold of conventional meals (Poisson cru, taro root, coconut bread, plantains, and poe pumpkin for dessert). No plastic plates right here, they hand-wove palm fronds for eco-friendly serving platters. We ate at picnic tables with the water lapping and curious rays swimming at our ft. To high it off, we left the island with new Tahitian expertise and souvenirs—from studying to open coconuts with a keep on with tie-dying materials for pareo (local-style sarongs). Watch our Instagram Reels from our time in Bora Bora or see extra footage on this Facebook gallery.

Diving French Polynesia

society islands honeymoon diving

French Polynesia is famous for scuba diving, but in some way there are only a few liveaboard outfitters. Windstar turned out to be the most effective of each worlds, with all of the luxuries of a cruise AND all of the dive store connections across the islands. We dove in Bora Bora and Raiatea and possibly ought to have added Mo’orea, the marinelife was so unbelievable. Swimming alongside vibrant coral with faculties of manta rays, numerous blacktip reef sharks, big Napoleon wrasse, and extra tropical fish than we might probably listing, we obtained one thing means higher than a liveaboard.

Renewing Our Vows!

society islands honeymoon

With romance within the air and our Tenth-year on honeymoon on the horizon, what higher place to resume our vows than a crusing yacht in Bora Bora! The Windstar crew reserved the bow of the ship for our ceremony, adorned it with tropical flowers, and met us of their most interesting maritime apparel. We walked down the aisle to our unique wedding ceremony track (“Forever” by Ben Harper) to satisfy our officiant, Captain Lubo. Surrounded by palm-fringed islets, sheer mountains, and water in each shade of blue, we recited our unique vows, minimize the cake, and toasted to the wild romance of our ten years collectively. To add to the celebration, that night time Windstar threw a non-public island celebration, with an elaborate Polynesian feast and cultural spectacular. The Tahitian dance troupe placed on an unbelievable present—from drumming and fire-throwing to hip shakes at unfathomable speeds. We clearly knew this soiree wasn’t only for us, but it surely was such a big day that it felt that means.


Huahine: The Garden Isle

sailing the society islands

Sailing to our final cease within the Societies was bittersweet, however Huahine’s twin islands have been too fairly to let melancholy get in the best way. Huahine Nui is the bigger of the 2 isles with historic fishing villages, artisan markets, sacred marae websites, whereas Huahine Iti has been left principally wild. We’re all about nature so we joined the e-bike tour round Iti. In simply three hours, we pedaled 18 miles by way of the mountains, barely breaking a sweat, and nonetheless needed to time to cease at a powerful marae complicated, take images of the island’s beautiful bays, and stroll its white sand seashores. Back onboard, surrounded by beautiful mountains, we observed that we have been the one ship within the bay…and it had been like that every one week. The Wind Spirit was nimble sufficient to navigate the smaller coves and at all times make us really feel like we had every place to ourselves. With bathing fits on and a pair of Hinano beers in hand, we soaked up the solar and the serenity.

Society Islands Honeymoon and Beyond

Society Island Windstar Cruises

Our final 24 hours aboard, we dined, danced, and laughed with new buddies like there was no tomorrow. Everyone was in good spirits as a result of all of us felt we made the precise transfer for this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Sure, we might have flown to a couple isles and stayed in an over-water bungalow for our Society Islands honeymoon, however this archipelago is totally meant to be explored by small ship. Hugging these beautiful shorelines, snorkeling distant corners of the reef, beachcombing personal islands, exploring with native guides, and eating like kings was all achieved seamlessly and with out spending a fortune. These spread-out and expensive islands may be difficult to navigate by yourself (belief us, we spent seven weeks in French Polynesia) so it simply made sense to wrap up our transportation, lodging, and eating into one fairly bundle. That could possibly be stated of many cruises, however Windstar is totally different in that it nonetheless embraces native tradition, fosters journey, and offers company a ton of independence, all whereas having unbelievable workers on the prepared. We wish to give big props to the Wind Spirit crew. They knew company by identify, remembered dietary quirks, turned something (be it cappuccino foam or tub towels) into artwork, tracked down misplaced cellphones an island away, and made us really feel comfy, be it beneath sail or strolling down the aisle.

Our solely remorse isn’t taking an extended journey on the Wind Spirit. There is a 10-day version of this itinerary that features the Tuamotu Archipelago, with its 76 atoll islands, legendary diving, and distinct Polynesian tradition. That stated, we would simply go anyplace with their crusing yachts and crew…the place to subsequent South America, the Caribbean, Europe? Until subsequent time, Windstar…many thanks and bon voyage!

Want to see extra of our images and movies from our Society Islands journey? Check out our Instagram Highlight reel.

Note: Windstar Cruises invited us to be their company on this Society Islands crusing and compensated us for our storytelling. As at all times, all opinions are our personal…we had such an unforgettable journey!

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