Just 27 nm from Bora Bora is Maupiti, the place we refer to as “the gem of the Societies” Of the islands we visited in the Society Islands, this island completely captivated us. So much so that we spent ten days here! The waters are absolutely beautiful and this place has that amazing laid back feel you look for in a great anchor spot.
Maupiti has a couple of brilliant spots to anchor and they are well protected too!
Navigating Onoiau Pass
It seems many cruisers skip this amazing place because either they are afraid of the pass or they just can’t seem to get here during the right weather window. You definitely do NOT want to attempt this pass if the swell is coming from the south. In fact, the general rule seems to be not to attempt it if swells are more than 2 meters and winds are over 20 knots. We had a perfect entry with absolutely no problems. Be sure to keep to the center of the channel and line up the channel markers appropriately. Try to get there as close to slack tide as well, just as you would entering motu in the Tuamotus.
If you’re really concerned about the entry apparently you can call Richard, a man who lives there, and hire him to guide you across. His telephone: 67 80 62, cellphone: 73 55 62. We honestly didn’t see this as necessary. Just plan your weather and time of day appropriately and you should be fine.
To see a video with some good information about entering and exiting this pass, we recommend the video by Two Drifters Travel.
For the first few days we took a mooring in the anchorage up near the village. (Anchorage #1 – See Above) Some other cruisers we knew were there and said they had checked them and they were all in good condition. Moorings are on a first come first serve basis and we never could find anyone to pay for them even though we tried on multiple trips ashore. This anchorage area is nice and close to the village but the water is not the gorgeous clear water you’ll find in the anchorage out by the reef.
For the majority of our time we anchored at anchorage #2 (See Above). THIS is where the beautiful water is located. We anchored in 6-7 meters of sandy bottom with a few scattered bommies. There is a spot closer to the motu that is nice too. It has a shallow shelf for boats with a lesser draft than Dazzler. We saw quite a few catarmans come and go from there.
As we continue to state on all of our French Polynesia pages, in 2019 FP started making a lot of changes to where you can anchor around the Society Islands. What you see here is what we were able to do when we were here in 2018. Be sure to check with other cruisers and also on Noonsite or Soggy Paws for additional information. And, if you find that something we’ve told you has changed, please do us and the other cruisers a favor. Drop us a quick email with the change so we can keep everyone informed.
With just a little over 9 square miles the best way to get around here is walking or bicycle. We rented bicycles one day and took a wonderful tour of the entire island. The majority of the ride was flat and along the coast. There was one section that was a pretty steep uphill so we just walked the bikes up and then enjoyed an easy, breezy ride down the other side. We highly recommend this!
To find the bicycle rental place head south from the dinghy dock along the main road. Not too far after you pass the big church on the water you will see the bicycle rental place on your left. Sammy rents decent bikes for 1000 XPF. He’s open 7 days a week from 0700-1600 and can also be reached via VHF 16.
Hopefully you will have gotten all the provisions you need at one of the larger islands before making your way here. There are a few small magasins on the island but they are not very well stocked. You will find them along the main road if you head north from the dinghy dock.
There is also a place to buy beer near the magasins. The beer, Hinano, was a bit more expensive than the other islands but if you want it you can get it. The sign on the store says they are open Monday-Saturday from 0700-1700. We found, like in most remote places, that those are just the “suggested hours”. HA HA.
There are a couple of small restaurants on the island but nothing fancy to be sure. We ate once at a little place called Tarona. It’s right on the water and the food was good. Other than than we never ate out while we were here.
Banking & ATMs
We wouldn’t necessarily call it a bank, but banking does take place on the island. You have to ask at the post office and they will tell you the time and day the banker will be here. Seems they only do banking here one day a week. There is no ATM so you have to personally see the bank representative and give them your card. They process a charge on it and give you the cash. Be prepared….the line is very long on banking day! But, they do set up a nice tent outside and put chairs under it so you don’t have to stand in the hot sun.
Our advice: Bring plenty of cash with you! Chances are you will end up loving this place so much you’ll end up staying longer than you planned.