The Society Islands
In the Realm of Marlon Brando
Tetiaroa, a well-preserved atoll owned by Marlon Brando since 1967 who dreamt of preserving its purest natural beauty through a sustainable approach. In Polynesian history and culture, Tetiaroa was a dedicated place of the Tahitian royalty and former chiefs for centuries. Luckily today, the atoll is accessible to the general public under strict control to protect its biodiversity. We therefore had the opportunity for a day to discover this favored place.
On Board to Tetiaroa
It was an earlier morning than usual to board the Poe Charter catamaran at the marina of Papeete. The friendly crew welcomed us with a lovely smile and a warm breakfast on board before we left for Tetiaroa at around 6:00 am. The crossing lasted around three and half hours and on that day, the wind and the ocean were not easy on us. In the middle of the ocean, the waves were never still, and the wind continued to blow across the surface of the ocean. The continual disturbance created multiple wave crests that made us sway back and forth on the boat and gave us our first salty shower of the day! It was definitely a great wake-up call and there was certainly no coffee needed anymore…But beware of possible seasickness on board…However, the pleasure of being on vacation and being able to discover Tetiaroa altogether overtook any discomforts from this special adventure! The tides aside, it was a nice crossing between Tahiti and Tetiaroa and little by little we observed Tahiti and Moorea fading away while the low coast island of Tetiaroa was slowly emerging from the distance.
Departure from Tahiti to Tetiaroa
View on Moorea
View on Tetiaroa
Discovery of Tetiaroa
The catamaran moored outside the lagoon not far from the barrier reef and a zodiac was essential to reach the shore that would pass through a tiny canal over the reef. The sunrays were hitting the surface of the water that lighted up the ocean like sparkles. The scenery from the boat appealed progressively our curiosity to discover Tetiaroa.
Once all were ashore, the guide gave us explanations about our visit. From the ocean side, a 20-minute walk was needed to cross over the motu of Rimatu’u to reach the lagoon of Tetiaroa. The small walk completely emerged us into a wild habitat where the only traces of human activity were our foot prints on the sand and a couple of old abondant huts reminding us how mother nature is reclaiming her rights.
Old remainings in Tetiaroa
Old house in Tetiaroa
Step by step, the sound of small waves could be overheard until the green blue lagoon showed up completely before us. We were given 3 full hours to rest and to explore the area while following given advices to preserve its natural habitat. The sun was a little shy at the beginning of the day and showed up little by little through the day. The blue and green colors of the lagoon from the beach were eye-catching and we also had the chance to gaze at some baby sharks and rays.
Tetiaroa’s reef side
Beach in Tetiaroa
Tour along the motu
The Birds’ Island (Motu One)
During our free time, we took our chance to visit from afar the famous “Birds’ island” on the other islet called “Motu one” which literally means “Sand island”. However, the beach was for sure cover of birds. Going ashore on this motu is no longer allowed to protect the bird nests and the area around. While walking around, we admired hundreds of birds along the sandbank. We stopped right in front of the motu, sat in the shallow water and admired this magnificent show. It was breathtaking! Some birds were already dancing in the sky and others were joining them by popping up from the green bush. We spent already hours visiting around, enjoying the sunshine and swimming around altogether. What a wonderful time but it was already time to return on board and our stomach also started to cry for food.
View on the Birds’ Island
Bird flying over the lagoon
Birds in front of the Bird’s Island
Back on Board
On board, a big feast was already waiting for us with nice music. The wonderful crew members prepared everything from refreshing tropical fruit juices to a hearty meal. After a good rest, we went snorkeling around the catamaran. It was quite deep and we could have seen a couple of sharks that were lurking around the boat. It was quite scary at the beginning and the water was cooler than the lagoon, but thinking about swimming around wild sharks helps easily to forget about the water temperature. It took a few minutes to adapt to this totally different environment and luckily we were not alone in the water as other swimmers came along as well… 😛
Reef in Tetiaroa
On our way back to the Catamaran
Reef in Tetiaroa
Back to Tahiti
Around 2:00 pm in the afternoon, it was time to go back to Tahiti and so we started sailing back. The feeling of exhaustion started to take place. The whole day was exceptional but, on our way back to Tahiti, the fatigue caught up with us so that we all took a little nap next to each other. Right before we reached Tahiti, a fresh rhum punch was served to finish this wonderful trip with music enjoying the sunset and a great panorama on the island. Back home, our heads were full of memories! The day has gone so fast, what a wonderful experience!
“Preservation of life is the only true joy”