Yachting, Polynesian Va’a and Deep Sea Fishing: the Main Advantages of Overseas France

  • A mini cruise on a small yacht, taking 6 passengers on board as “sailors” for example, is an experience to be had in the Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Barths. The modern catamarans pass along the traditional skiffs. The passion for the Va’a- traditional canoe is very popular in the Polynesia, and is the ideal (and athletic) way to see the lagoons that surround Tahiti. Réunion and Guiana promise excitement for those who come for the deep sea fishing, a sporty way to go fishing that is sure to reel in trophies ranging from 50 to 500 kg, amidst the beautiful surroundings of the waves of the Indian or the Atlantic Ocean where there are plenty of swordfish, blue marlins, tarpons and more.

“Charter” Yachting in the Caribbean

Martinique boils over with excitement during each skiff regatta, boasting small charming boats shaped like canoes that are equipped with one or two square sails and a special type of rigging.

The round skiffs are categorized as a very technical type of sailing, but it is much easier to allow oneself to be carried out to sea by stepping on board a “charter” yacht for a personalized coastal cruise.
Whether travelling as a family or in a small group, you can rent a boat with a crew: the “catamaran” style has the advantage of reducing the "list" in the sea (thereby being tossed around a little less by the waves). Thus, it is not necessary to be a sailor since the crew takes care of everything, from comfort to recreation (including snorkeling lessons). You can also learn a little about how to steer the ship, or you can just relax and lie out on the deck.

Numerous “charter” companies (with fleets of some ten to twenty boats for 6 to 10 passengers) will await you at the docks of Guadeloupe and in Martinique. However, there are also many private owners of boats that live a bit like "nomads under the Caribbean sun," also offering you their services and the friendly style "inn or bed and breakfast right on the water." Above all, it is worthwhile to make sure that the skipper (the helmsman) is professionally competent and qualified, and to choose to go boating during a week that is the most suitable for trade winds (winds coming from the East), from September to April (in order to be out in the open sea).

The rates for a cruise on a sailboat can start at 120-130€ per day and per person, for a package based on an average of 6 people who sign up.

Canoeing on a Va’a in Polynesia

Are you looking for a new exciting sport that will take you on a journey around the amazing atolls? Or do you want to relax on the beach? How about snorkeling? This is a Va’a: a water sport that originates from the traditional dugout canoe that enabled the ancestors of Polynesians to cross and populate the vast Pacific Ocean. Due to its shape (profile), modern materials (sometimes resembling a canoe-kayak), unique paddling techniques and shells designed for a single person or for a crew, you can take the Va'a out on a smooth ride through the waters and beyond.

The national sport in Tahiti, the Va’a is both a competitive and popular celebration, especially with the event known as “Te Aito”: a major race that has been taking place each year for over two decades that attracts nearly 600 rowers, in which female and junior rowers participate in a 14 km course, and seniors participate in a 28 km course. Above all, we must also mention the “Hawaiki Nui” that takes place in November: a 130 km race that consists of 10 hours of intensive effort (spread out in 3 stages and lasting a total of 3 days) and a sailing strategy, in which 80 crews of 8 to 10 rowers from among the large islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora come to participate. The Va’a also draws competitors from France and from all over the world. The Porquerollaise, a 65 km race organized by the Ruahatu Club of Toulon at the end of July, is a race that has been renowned for over ten years, and in August 2012 the 15th round of the World Championship will take place in Calgary, Canada, bringing almost 29 countries together.

Deep-sea fishing

Get on board a large motor-powered excursion boat that is headed towards the ocean, cast a (long and sturdy) line, put on a life vest and then wait, being poised for a tug-of-war with a deep-sea fish that is very strong and escapes easily. Reel, reel, and fight against the “warrior of the ocean,” sometimes for hours until he gets worn out, and then you bring in a great catch: that is what you call deep-sea fishing! Sport fishing is neither violent nor cruel, but it is a bit different. Often, one will reel in his trophy in order to take pictures of it and to measure it against official records recognized by the IGFA, however it is also possible to release the prey, thereby opting for the "no kill," and just being content with the intense moment of actually catching the fish.

  • La Réunion, at the heart of the Indian Ocean

Each season has its own fish: blue marlins, tuna, common dolphinfish, etc. Catches can weigh from 30 kg (on average) to 300 kg (the exception).

  • Guiana, on the coasts of Latin America

The spot is located off the shores of the Safety Islands, where its most favorable season is between June and December, and there are tarpons and bonito fish that weigh between 50 kg and 150 kg…

Author : Philippe Bardiau