French Polynesia: Eco-responsible sea excursions and a practical way to support coral reefs

Travel

French Polynesia is home to some of the most extensive coral systems in the world. Photo / provided

June 8 marks World Oceans Day, which focuses on protecting, revitalizing and respecting our seas and the millions of organisms that inhabit them. And it’s not just the fish and shellfish that are in the spotlight, it’s also the underwater plant life.

In French Polynesia, dedicated teams are working to restore the extensive coral reefs around the 118-people group of islands, and there are a range of eco-friendly tours for visitors to take a look through them. themselves.

Coral Gardeners check on progress at a coral nursery near the island of Moorea.  Photo / Ivana Cook
Coral Gardeners check on progress at a coral nursery near the island of Moorea. Photo / Ivana Cook

Coral Champions

On the island of Moorea, The Coral Gardeners are on a mission to plant one million baby corals by 2025. Using innovative technologies, specialized nurseries and careful monitoring systems, the team has identified coral species the most resistant to most effectively revitalize diseased reefs. Ocean lovers can help by adopting (in digital form) their very own coral. coralgardens.org.

Coral fragments are cultivated in specialized nurseries, before being replanted to revitalize local reefs.  Photo / provided
Coral fragments are cultivated in specialized nurseries, before being replanted to revitalize local reefs. Photo / provided

Underwater worlds
If you fancy diving into the water in Tahiti, there are plenty of amazing sites to explore. “The Aquarium” is a large sand pool teeming with coral, angelfish, lionfish and reef oddities, all easily accessible for novice divers. More advanced divers should check out the Cargo Ship and Catalina, which features odd wreckage and plane wreckage, as well as plenty of anemones and large schools of fish.

For an in-depth guided environment-focused expedition, check out Nani Travel. Their eight-day tours include some of the best places to spot sea creatures, plus coral planting sessions and the chance to help local researchers monitor marine populations.

If you’re looking for larger underwater creatures, Moorea Ocean Adventures offers small-group tours guided by marine biologists, where visitors can swim responsibly with whales, dolphins, sharks and stingrays. Moorea Māori Tours also offers a range of authentic experiences for visitors, including snorkeling and fishing sessions, as well as cooking classes with local experts to prepare your catch (sustainably caught).

CHECKLIST: BORA BORA

Travelers to French Polynesia must present an international travel vaccination certificate. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure or a negative antigen test taken less than 48 hours before departure.

For more information, see tahititourisme.nz

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