A small atoll with less than 500 inhabitants, Anaa wrote its way into the history books as the birthplace of Tahiti’s royal family — the Pomare Dynasty. These days it’s best known for its luminous jade lagoon with green clouds above from the sun rays reflecting off the water and picturesque motus with no less than eleven little islands scattered around the atoll. Most of the population is involved in copra or fishing, leading to the island’s landmark sustainable fishing programme. Guests can explore the village of Tukuhora and try traditional javelin throwing and handicrafts. Look out for ‘feo’, giant fossilized blocks of coral which are characteristic of the atoll. The shallow clear lagoon is ideal for fly fishing, an optional activity offered in Anaa.
Located 900 km east of Tahiti, Amanu is an idyllic atoll with palm-fringed crystal-clear lagoons and a charming island village. During a visit to Ikitake, guests can see local handicrafts and explore the village’s old lighthouse, church and the 19th century building with walls made of coral stones that doubles as the town hall and a shelter during cyclones. Under a century-old tree known as “tau”, a buffet of local specialties will be served and a group of local singers and musicians will perform.
Mangareva is the largest island in the Gambier and its main village, Rikitea, is the chief town of the archipelago. The island has a large lagoon with striking blue and green hues and is also famous for its Tahitian black pearls, which are cultivated in the pristine waters around the island. Once the cradle of Catholicism in Polynesia, a visit to the renovated St Michael’s Catholic Church, where the altar is inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pearl shell, is a must.
More than 200 years after the Bounty arrived, Aranui 5 will call at Pitcairn. The tale of the mutiny of His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty is one of the best known in history. After the master’s Mate Fletcher Christian cast adrift Commander Lieutenant William Bligh in the ship’s boat, the mutineers sailed the Bounty back to Tahiti then onwards to the Austral Islands, eventually seeking refuge on an uninhabited island, secure from the outside world. Pitcairn. As part of their crew, they took with them six Polynesian men and twelve women, the beginnings of the current Pitcairn community. Upon their arrival on January 17, 1790, the crew found Pitcairn to be an inaccessible and uninhabited place with fertile and warm conditions. After removing their possessions and lugging everything up the aptly named Hill Of Difficulty, the Bounty was run ashore and set alight so that no trace of her would remain visible from the sea. A village was established on the lower plateau, situated above Bounty Bay, where the village of Adamstown still stands. Although he lived in this isolated sanctuary only a few years, Fletcher Christian is fondly remembered as the founder and first leader of modern-day Pitcairn.
Home to just 50 people, Pitcairn is one of the most isolated islands in the world. During their visit, guests can immerse themselves in the living history and culture of the island, walking in the footsteps of the Bounty settlers from the landing at Bounty Bay to Adamstown; meeting the descendants of the mutineers at the curio market; visiting the grave of the last surviving mutineer John Adams; learning about an earlier Polynesian civilisation and viewing artefacts from the Bounty at the Museum.
Aukena is home to pristine lagoons perfect for black pearl farming, idyllic beaches and the first church constructed out of stone in all of French Polynesia – Saint-Raphaël Church was built in 1839. Guests can visit a pearl farm, do some sightseeing, and enjoy a barbeque on a white sand beach.
Located in the Central Tuamotu Archipelago, Hikueru was once a large natural pearl oyster reserve. A cyclone in 1903 caused considerable damage to the atoll, which Jack London described in great detail in his South Sea Tales. The first pearl farm to produce high quality Tahitian pearls was established here in the 1960s. Today, the population relies on the production of copra. Following a tasting of local fruits, guests will visit the village and a church built of coral, including an explanation of the island’s legends by its inhabitants. A beach barbecue will be served for lunch with time to swim and snorkel.
This is the end of our journey. It’s time to say Nānā! (Goodbye) to your travel companions, to the Polynesian staff and Aranui guides.