This is an active half-day excursion, focused on the Polynesian va’a, that combines a fascinating discussion of history and culture with an exhilarating paddling experience.
- Discover the history of the va'a at the Atitia Cultural Center.
- Learn to paddle a "va'a ono" in the Moorea lagoon.
- This excursion is meant for anyone who is in reasonable shape and is comfortable on and in the water.
Graceful single hull outrigger and double hull canoes, collectively called "va'a", have always been an integral part of Polynesian culture. In the past they served as sturdy and efficient craft for voyages of discovery, inter-island trade, fishing, and sport. Today their most common use is for racing, and Tahitian teams are the perennial world champions in this distinctly Polynesian sport. This excursion will introduce you to the va'a in history and in modern times and give you a chance to paddle a sleek racing va'a on the tranquil waters of Cook's Bay.
The excursion begins with a transfer by boat from your dock to the UC Berkeley Atitia Cultural Center. Here you will tour the center, discuss the history of va’a and have a chance to see how va’a were built in ancient times. Then it is back to the beach where your guides will introduce you to the racing va’a and explain how to paddle them.
Each va’a holds a maximum of five guests and one guide that acts as “peperu” (steersman). Once everyone is settled into the va’a you will start out on an easy tour of Cook’s Bay. As you and your fellow paddlers get used to the cadence and stroke you will have a chance to pick up the pace and see how these racing canoes fly.
The paddling portion of this excursion can be adjusted to people of all skills. By using two va’a it is also possible to divide a group into those who are more into the sport and those who just want a leisurely paddle.
Guests should dress in active beach attire and footwear that can get wet. Local fruit juice and water will be provided.
All safety precautions have been considered to ensure a safe and fun excursion, and Tahiti Expedition guides are professionally trained in First Aid, CPR, and life saving techniques.
There will be a motorized safety boat on hand at all times during all paddling activity.
Tahiti Expeditions follows sustainable tourism practices and a percentage of tour proceeds is donated to local NGOs in support of environmental and cultural conservation.
The excursion will take approximately 3 hours.