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The Society Islands | Tuamotu Atolls | The Marquesas | Rurutu | Prices

Tahiti - the name conjures up images of towering verdant mountains surrounded by lagoons of the most intense turquoise, lapped by the warm, clear waters of the South Pacific. Of beautiful people in traditional dress, blowing conch shells, enticing ancient mariners to their worldly Eden!

And you would be right, for the islands of Tahiti are some of the most stunning anywhere in the world. Few who have travelled there have not been drawn back by some "tropical magnet"! It was here that Fletcher Christian and the crew of the Bounty mutinied against Captain Bligh, casting him and the few crewmembers still loyal to him adrift on the open sea. It was here that Gaugin found inspiration for some of the most beautiful Impressionist paintings in the world.

The islands of Tahiti are divided between the high islands - the towering extinct volcanoes of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and others that are to most people so very Tahitian - and the low islands, the coral atolls that make up the largest number of islands of Tahiti.

While there are two types of island in Tahiti, there are 5 distinct groups of islands dotted across the vast expanse of the South Pacific that is Tahiti and her islands.

The main island of Tahiti is the international island of arrival. Tahiti's capital Papeete is set against a backdrop of dramatic volcanic cliffs, draped with forest. A distinctly French atmosphere sets off the tropical setting. Where else can you have fresh croissants and read Le Figaro while watching tropical fish dart across a coral reef? Tahiti and the nearby islands of Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora make up the main group of islands, the Society Islands. These islands are characteristic of Tahiti, with lagoons encircling dramatic islands, the remnants of volcanoes from the distant past.

An hour to the east of Tahiti are the Tuamotus, atolls of intense beauty surrounding lagoons full of coral and fish, where passes run from the deep Pacific into the shallows. Here sharks congregate to take advantage of the abundance of fish life. The largest and most famous atoll in the Tuamotus is Rangiroa, but there are others with equally exotic names - Tikehau, Fakarava, Manihi, Aparaki, Toau, Kaukura. Here can be had some of the best "pelagic" diving in the world.

An hour beyond the Tuamotus are the Marquesas, more "high" islands that are famous for their pearls and for their laid back and relaxed atmosphere. Dramatic scenery is, suprisingly, home to herds of wild horses!

To the south of Tahiti is the Austral Archipelago; the most northerly of the 5 islands that make up this group, Rurutu, is a popular hideout for humpback whales, that give birth to their calves between July & October in the shallow warm waters before taking them south to the Antarctic. The opportunity to snorkel with humpbacks and their young in shallow, warm waters, listening to their call echo of the coral and sandy seabed is an experience that will never be forgotten.

And finally, way to the south east, is the remote Gambier Archipelago, a collection of high islands and atolls, including, infamously, Mururoa & Fangataufa, location of France's nuclear tests until only a few years ago. The largest island, Mangareva, is a famous pearl farming area. Only a few hundred miles to the east is Pitcairn Island, where Fletcher Christian and his mutineers settled after leaving Tahiti and the world behind.

We offer a choice of options in the Society Islands, Tuamotus, Marquesas and in Rurutu. Our programme consists of hotel-based diving in Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Taha'a and Raiatea in the Society Islands; Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau and Fakarava in the Tuamotus, Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas and - during the whale season - snorkelling and diving in Rurutu. For the live-aboard officionado, the Tahiti Aggressor in the Tuamotus affords access to otherwise inaccessible dive sites.




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