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Best excursion on Tahaa/Raiatea

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Thanks TBK,

When you last posted this I looked and relooked at it. It's spectacular. Helps to have the best videographer with you, and to be an amazing photographer yourself! Be sure to see this video everyone.

 

There are a few different ways to do the Coral Garden drift snorkel....one is with your ship.

Another is with Bruno at L' Excursion Bleue. Bruno is a sweet man. We saw sharks and rays in Moorea, BB and Rangiroa, but nothing like what we saw with Bruno! Very isolated spot with the most sharks I've seen anywhere. But about 1/3 the day was spent at a vanilla farm and pearl farm and I could have done without. He also does the drift snorkel but only one run.

 

Your ship is probably the best way to go- ours (Wind Spirit) did 3 runs in Coral Gardens and the more you can do the better.

Try to see if you can find out how many runs there are in whatever you book. Very sharp coral though- we had water shoes, gloves, leggings and rash guards for protection. The boat ride to and from the Coral Gardens is also gorgeous.

 

TBK,

Where did your kahuna photo go?

Edited by Petoonya

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6 hours ago, Petoonya said:

Thanks TBK,

When you last posted this I looked and relooked at it. It's spectacular. Helps to have the best videographer with you, and to be an amazing photographer yourself! Be sure to see this video everyone.

 

There are a few different ways to do the Coral Garden drift snorkel....one is with your ship.

Another is with Bruno at L' Excursion Bleue. Bruno is a sweet man. We saw sharks and rays in Moorea, BB and Rangiroa, but nothing like what we saw with Bruno! Very isolated spot with the most sharks I've seen anywhere. But about 1/3 the day was spent at a vanilla farm and pearl farm and I could have done without. He also does the drift snorkel but only one run.

 

Your ship is probably the best way to go- ours (Wind Spirit) did 3 runs in Coral Gardens and the more you can do the better.

Try to see if you can find out how many runs there are in whatever you book. Very sharp coral though- we had water shoes, gloves, leggings and rash guards for protection. The boat ride to and from the Coral Gardens is also gorgeous.

 

TBK,

Where did your kahuna photo go?

 

I've done Bruno several times  .... a solid tour. He allowed us multi runs. I asked him to do a excursion for my group next year while we are on Tahaa. Didn't work out. 

 

Always 3 runs on the PG excursion vendor.

 

If you look at the 2020 PG brochure you will notice they've included 'Insider Knowledge' called 'tips from the regulars'  .... the avatar is used in the brochure for my likeness 😉 

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On 8/13/2019 at 3:51 PM, Petoonya said:

Very sharp coral though- we had water shoes, gloves, leggings and rash guards for protection.

 

Petoonya (and TBK), if you don't mind my asking, what have you seen men generally using for "leggings"? Trying to decide what we may need for our various snorkeling excursions next September (the Coral Gardens drift among them).  I know the water temp will be between 79-81F, so I was thinking of getting a shorty, but it would be wiser to bring a full wetsuit? I don't see many clues as to what people are wearing in any of snorkeling videos taken in FP. 

Edited to add: We're used to snorkeling in the Caribbean, where the water temperatures are usually in the mid to upper 80's.

 

Edited by Zukini

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50 minutes ago, Zukini said:

 

Petoonya (and TBK), if you don't mind my asking, what have you seen men generally using for "leggings"? Trying to decide what we may need for our various snorkeling excursions next September (the Coral Gardens drift among them).  I know the water temp will be between 79-81F, so I was thinking of getting a shorty, but it would be wiser to bring a full wetsuit? I don't see many clues as to what people are wearing in any of snorkeling videos taken in FP. 

Edited to add: We're used to snorkeling in the Caribbean, where the water temperatures are usually in the mid to upper 80's.

 

Hi Zukini.

You don't need any kind of a wetsuit at all really. I saw no one wear anything but my husband (who has a thyroid prob and gets cold easily) who wore a wetsuit jacket. It's perfectly warm for most people.

 

But for the Coral Gardens we did bring wetsuit pants, gloves, rashguard and watershoes. Someone on Tripadvisor advised it and I didn't want an injury to mar the trip so I went for it. None of it is mandatory except for the watershoes.

 

For pants, you can wear compression pants like people wear at the gym. Or neoprene pants. But these as I say were really for the Coral Gardens. Seems silly to carry this stuff along for just one tour but we were really glad to have them as we're both kind of klutzy. No one on our tour was hurt but did see a few nasty injuries on our ship. I also saw only two people on our tour out of ten who were outfitted like us.

Cheap equipment on Amazon:

Belilent Men's/Women's watershoes.

TSLA Men's compression pants

L&Sports Men's wetsuit pants

Dive and Sail wetsuits Premium Neoprene Gloves

 

Incidentally, we did "Twice the Tahiti" 17 days on Windstar last year. So had two days on their private motu from which we did the Coral Gardens both days. Then we did it again with Bruno. Wind Spirit did 3 runs while Bruno just did one. If we returned and could only do one tour in the 17 days it would be the Coral Gardens on Tahaa. It's that fantastic.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Petoonya

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Thank you very much for taking the time to write that up, along with your recommendations, Petoonya. We'll be booking that tour through Wind Spirit, so looking forward to the three runs!

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I only where shorts and a T-shirt plus my fins and mask/snorkel 

 

You might need to ask the vendor for another run if they don't offer 😉

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57 minutes ago, Zukini said:

Thank you very much for taking the time to write that up, along with your recommendations, Petoonya. We'll be booking that tour through Wind Spirit, so looking forward to the three runs!

That's fantastic Zukini. You will absolutely love Wind Spirit. Our cruise was the best we've ever had. One tip someone threw at me and so glad I got it- a fantastic free souvenir of your cruise. When you leave the motu dinner on Bora Bora and you wait at the dock for transport back to the ship, Wind Spirit is all lit up against the dark sky. You really want a photo as it is glorious.

 

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Thanks again to both of you, TBK and Petoonya.  This will be our first time to the South Pacific, and our first time on a small ship (we stopped cruising back in 2011, this is our first year back). We're seeing the Norwegian Fjords with HAL in the spring, and taking the Tahiti/Tuamotu's cruise with Windstar in the fall, so talk about extremes!

My brother sailed with Paul Gaugin last year and loved it, but we couldn't resist the opportunity to take a vessel like Wind Spirit for this trip.  

 

TBK, I'll check into Bruno, thanks!

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1 hour ago, Zukini said:

Thanks again to both of you, TBK and Petoonya.  This will be our first time to the South Pacific, and our first time on a small ship (we stopped cruising back in 2011, this is our first year back). We're seeing the Norwegian Fjords with HAL in the spring, and taking the Tahiti/Tuamotu's cruise with Windstar in the fall, so talk about extremes!

My brother sailed with Paul Gaugin last year and loved it, but we couldn't resist the opportunity to take a vessel like Wind Spirit for this trip.  

 

TBK, I'll check into Bruno, thanks!

 

Windspirit doesn't use Bruno //// I believe it is the same vendor that PG uses  .... correct petoonya?

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6 hours ago, Tahitianbigkahuna said:

 

Windspirit doesn't use Bruno //// I believe it is the same vendor that PG uses  .... correct petoonya?

Don't have a clue who Wind Spirit uses for Coral Gardens but as you say it's not Bruno. The guide's name was Jean, and he and the driver/muscle in the stream were outstanding.

 

 

 

Edited by Petoonya

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8 hours ago, Zukini said:

My brother sailed with Paul Gaugin last year and loved it, but we couldn't resist the opportunity to take a vessel like Wind Spirit for this trip. 

 

I'm with you Zukini. When those sails unfurl it's like magic. We've rebooked the 17 day for 2021. Prepare to be hooked.

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In 2022 PG will have some new 'explorer' class ships bringing the total to 3 sailing in the South Pacific. The new ships hold 230 passengers. I'm betting we will see some new itineraries to the Austral and Gambier island chains. So looking forward to see some rarely seen islands  ... some with less than 500 people. Paul Gauguin .... always the leader in Small ship cruises in French Polynesia.

Edited by Tahitianbigkahuna

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I just got home from my cruise on Wind Spirit, and the drift snorkel truly is that fantastic.  I wore dive skin pants in addition to the rash guard, and they worked great.  Another lady in my group wore long yoga pants which also worked well. Neither of us had the scrapes others in our group were sporting.

 

I went with the ship's excursion and did get 3 runs through the coral gardens. All 3 were absolutely spectacular.

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23 hours ago, Bizmark'sMom said:

I just got home from my cruise on Wind Spirit, and the drift snorkel truly is that fantastic.  I wore dive skin pants in addition to the rash guard, and they worked great.  Another lady in my group wore long yoga pants which also worked well. Neither of us had the scrapes others in our group were sporting.

 

I went with the ship's excursion and did get 3 runs through the coral gardens. All 3 were absolutely spectacular.

It's one of those experiences that's too good to be true and hard to explain. The setting alone made me wonder, can this be what heaven is like? Glad you enjoyed your cruise!

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Honestly, the fruit layed out for us to snack on after the snorkel really added to the whole experience. Local grapefruit - which is fantastic! - local bananas, papaya, coconut...  it was light and perfect.

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On 2/4/2020 at 9:55 AM, existentialtraveler said:

Very cool photo. We will be there in a few weeks!

Yes, as Bizmark says go as often as you can. We went 3 times while there. It was addictive it is so beautiful. TBK's photos say it all.

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