Friday, 25 May 2012 4:01 PM
Sailing holidays are a great way to see several places within the same country in the course of a single break. In doing so, you can travel wherever you like at a pace that suits you. Choose French Polynesia as your destination for this kind of getaway and you'll be in a position to explore a whole range of tropical islands.
Although Tahiti is the most famous isle in French Polynesia – in fact, the entire country is often referred to as Tahiti – there are many more places within the South Pacific archipelago you can visit when going on a yacht charter break. Indeed, it consists of 118 isles, so if the thought of mooring up in one place for the day before heading somewhere new the next morning appeals to you, you'll certainly be in the right place.
Of course, it's not just the opportunity to explore a range of islands in a single break that makes French Polynesia a wonderful sailing destination, but also the fantastic weather. Although the months between September and May are when the temperatures are at their hottest, you can bask in glorious sunshine – either from the comfort of your boat or on dry land – all year round.
With the country's dozens of isles spread out across some two million square miles of ocean though, it's worth considering where you would like to go the most before leaving home. That way, you can plan your time in the region effectively so you can make the most of your holiday.
Moor up your vessel at the picturesque island of Taha'a and you'll be easily forgiven for thinking you've come across your own slice of heaven. This beautiful spot is known as the vanilla island, with orchids all across the isle growing the spice. More than 80 per cent of the country's vanilla comes from here, so expect to breathe in its fragrance wherever you go. You can even book a plantation tour to learn more about how it is pollinated and cured.
If you are a water sport enthusiast you will certainly be in your element by coming here. Not only is cruising along the sea surrounding the isle a pleasant experience, but it's also a great place to go snorkelling, thanks to the nearby lagoon.
Don a mask and snorkel to explore this tranquil underwater spot and you can swim alongside a range of sea creatures, including perches and silver jacks. Red runners and eels are some of the other species that can be spotted, although it's also worth keeping an eye out for the exotic plants found below the waves. If you're keen to see these underwater sights, but want to avoid getting wet, you can go on an excursion in a glass-bottomed boat. Other active pursuits you can participate in include kayaking, deep-sea fishing and jet skiing, so there's plenty of choice.
Of course, if you're looking to take things a little easier you can do so. At the quiet village of Patio, situated on the northern shore of the island, you can watch fishermen haul in their daily catch. Head to Haamene Bay, which is located on the east coast, and you can visit a turtle preserve to get an insight into the local pearl farming industry.
Head to the small isle of Motu Ceran, situated just to the south-east of Taha'a, and you can also enjoy a range of fantastic activities. From snorkelling alongside barracudas to going dolphin spotting, this blissful island is a great place for lovers of the great outdoors.
Bear in mind though that the island is uninhabited, so you won't find a restaurant or cafe where you can have a bite to eat. Instead, it's best to pack a picnic and bring it onshore. That way, you can sit on a golden beach underneath a palm tree as you eat your lunch, before climbing back on to your yacht and travelling to your next destination.
Despite its relatively small size, Bora Bora is a charming destination that offers plenty to do. In fact, if you're hoping to inject an element of glamour into your sailing break this is the perfect place, as it is home to a number of gourmet restaurants and spas, where you can enjoy a traditional Polynesian massage.
Make sure you explore the tranquil turquoise lagoon, which is regarded as one of the best in the world, where you can not only go swimming and snorkelling, but also explore on a jet ski.