What To Do In French Polynesia

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There are so many options offered in these famed islands for activities. Of course, most of them revolve around the water. But, a trip on Paul Gauguin Cruises reveals interesting and fun options that are hard to top. These are a few of my favorite excursions offered by the cruise line that will take you off dry land and into a world that holds so much beauty, it’s nearly indescribable.

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A Private Motu Experience

Paul Gauguin owns its own island, a motu, which is a flat stretch of beach covered in palms and surrounded by azure, shallow waters prime for snorkeling. While on a trip with them, you may have the opportunity to take-part in their motu experience which shuttles guests via private boat to the tiny island, where you can sit in the sun, play in the water and sip cocktails from the floating bar. Staff from the ship are here to bring a little service and elegance to the experience – cooking-up delicious barbecue for all to enjoy. This little piece of paradise is the perfect way to end an itinerary filled with excursions – nothing to do, nothing to worry about.

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An Underwater Walk

Outfitted with a glass, rubber and metal box on your shoulders, you can sink yourself 15-feet below the surface of the sea to explore the reefs and colorful fish that live in and around the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea. The walk lasts 30 minutes and is supervised by a guide. A tank at the surface delivers your oxygen, so no scuba training is necessary. All you’ll leave with is incredible memories of this unique moment in time. While under, I spotted innumerable fish species, eels, coral and even a barracuda in the distance.

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Swimming With Black Tip and Lemon Sharks

I never, in my life, thought I would swim with sharks. But, on a recent trip with Paul Gauguin I faced my fear and jumped headfirst into the experience. On many of the islands visited by the cruise, you can swim with a guide amongst small Black Tips and larger Lemon Sharks while capturing the entire experience on an iPhone or GoPro Camera. The excursion is thrilling, but the guide knows the sharks’ behavior well enough to spot aggression. In the clear, open sea, you have the opportunity to get within inches of the sharks as they swim by. Experiencing this makes you realize the irrational fear people have of sharks. Yes, some are more aggressive than others, but a dip in the South Pacific with these beautiful creatures can change your perspective very quickly.

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An Afternoon With Dr. David Poole And His Dolphins

Swimming with captive dolphins is not something we agree with or promote – in its entirety, for many reasons. But, what can you do if you want to ethically get up-close and personal with one of the most incredible creatures in the sea? A boat trip with Marine Biologist Dr. David Poole is our suggestion. A native of California who moved to Moorea to study marine life and never left, Dr. Poole offers organized tours that fund research of the Spinner dolphin – his passion for almost three decades. He will take you around the island, in and out of reefs and bays with his boat, searching for pods of these beautiful creatures. And, it’s likely you will spot them. I did. I saw over 60 at a time leaping, spinning, playing and hunting as a team. What an incredible, educational and life-changing moment.

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An ATV Ride Around Moorea

When you want to get out of the water and see the interiors of the amazing island of Moorea, I suggest an ATV ride. Cruising past pineapple plantations, rivers, creeks and open fields – it’s easy to fall in love with the serenity that seems to infiltrate every corner. I stopped-off at a local juice factory, a coffee hut and even saw remains from sacrificial temples belonging to Polynesian tribes centuries ago. This is experience is a must.

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