It must be this very specific voyage that will give sailors the true Pacific feeling, hopping from one island to the other, exploring the region like the Polynesians did around the second half of the first millennium AD. It was here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that the Polynesian navigations opened up the last unsettled frontiers of the Pacific. Seeking for new small islands, preferably with few or no inhabitants, it was them who established cultures that remained the most isolated and peculiar in the world.
While the Polynesians built up their picture of the Pacific by exploring directly into the wind, in order to find their way home with the Southeastern trade winds, we will start the other way around. From Tahiti, the wind will gently lead us to the range of islands in front of us, such as the Southern Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji. It is the wind that will decide which islands we will encounter before we arrive in our next stop Fiji.
When you read about Tahiti there is one most consistent word used: Paradise. It is not hard to see why. There is no other way to describe the lush rain forests, the white beaches, the countless waterfalls, the untouched mountains covered in rain forest. The people and their warm welcoming customs, their traditional dances and crafts. The color of the water, the color of the fish in the reefs, the song of the birds, the lakes and lagoons. All of Tahiti is paradise on earth, and it will be yours to explore.
In the blue water, tropical colored fish of many different shapes and sizes can be seen in the coral gardens that thrive in the warm temperatures of Tahiti. You may spot a giant manta ray glide past, enjoy the curious play of the many dolphins and ancient sea turtles can be seen in these waters. Every year, from August to October, these waters also welcome many humpback whales coming to mate and give birth in the deep and safe bays before returning to the South pole.
The interior of the Island is a heaven for birds, with so many fruit trees, flowers, over a thousand different plant species and many streams and rivers, lots of migrating birds take rest on the Islands. Many of them will nest and raise their young in the safe and sheltered uninhabited islets of the islands. While walking under a cover of many banana, coconut and breadfruit trees, you may find yourself surrounded by butterflies and bumble bees, some geckos in different colors can be spotted in between the tropical tiare flower bushes, the proud emblem of Tahiti.
This captivating French Polynesian gem is only just the beginning as we hoist the sails towards our next breathtaking destination. As the wind fills our sails, we depart from the captivating shores of Tahiti, bidding farewell to its lush landscapes and vibrant culture. The open sea beckons, and with each passing day, you'll find yourself captivated by the rhythm of the waves and the ever-changing panorama of the horizon. This voyage evokes a sense of freedom and exploration, where you'll disconnect from all outside impulses and embrace the untamed wonders of the sea.
Finally, our sails carry us to the breathtaking shores of Tonga. Picture pristine beaches fringed with swaying palms, translucent turquoise lagoons teeming with vibrant marine life, and verdant landscapes that invite exploration. Here, you'll have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, discover ancient traditions, and witness the untouched beauty of this tropical paradise.
After approximately 1500 nautical miles of sailing, we will reach the Kingdom of Tonga, also known as the Friendly Islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The kingdom consists of about 170 islands that are divided into four main island groups. Tongatapu in the south, Ha’apai in the centre, Vavaú in the north and ‘Eua in the east.
Tonga is the only remaining constitutional monarchy in the South Pacific and is known by its pristine natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and warm Polynesian hospitality. One of the unique aspects of Tonga is its status as the only remaining Polynesian kingdom, with a history dating back over a thousand years. The monarchy, led by the King of Tonga, holds a significant place in Tongan society, and traditional customs and protocols are still respected and practiced.
Unspoiled by big resorts or modern houses, Tonga remains as authentic as possible. Life here ticks at its own pace and the Tongan rituals and art forms are still very much alive.
The warm and welcoming locals, known as Tongans, take great pride in their cultural heritage. Traditional ceremonies, dance performances, and intricate handicrafts offer visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the kingdom. The traditional Tongan feast, known as 'Ummu', is a must-try experience, where you can savor delicious local cuisine prepared using ancient cooking techniques.
Not only settlers, explorers or tourists come to visit Tonga’s shores. After a long journey from the krill laden depths of Antarctica, the humpback whales come to the reef-protected waters of Tonga to give birth to their young and feed them. With some luck we will see many of these beautiful creatures slowly making their way through Pacific waters.
We bid farewell and continue our way to our next destination: Fiji. Our voyage spans approximately 590 nautical miles, guided by the gentle caress of favorable trade winds. As we traverse the vast expanse of the South Pacific, we are treated to breathtaking vistas of picturesque islands that dot our route, painting a mesmerizing backdrop against the horizon. Let the winds carry us onward as we eagerly anticipate the enchanting paradise that awaits us in Fiji. The sailing expedition through the waters of Fiji bring us through a world of hidden reefs and picturesque islets. This captivating region was once renowned as the most notorious navigational passages in the Pacific Ocean, but due to our modern technology, is has been made much more accessible and safer.
Welcome to Fiji, a tropical oasis that will captivate your heart and soul. With its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush green landscapes, Fiji is a true paradise, consisting of more than 300 islands and 500 islets. The two major islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, accounting for more than 80% of the population.
The first settlers of Fiji are known to be the Austronesian people who reached Fiji about 3500 to 1000 BC, followed by the Melanesian people around 1000 BC. It is believed that with the great Lapita migration into the Pacific, the Polynesians settled in Fiji as well, which is clearly shown from archeological evidence, showing a strong connection to the Polynesian culture.
Fiji’s history is one of mobility, and while exploring the region with large elegant watercrafts with rigged sails, a unique Fijian culture developed. The watercraft was called a drua, which was originally from Micronesia, spreading to Fiji and from there to Tonga and Samoa.
Immerse yourself in the warmth of the Fijian people and their vibrant culture in this enchanting nation. Dive into vibrant coral reefs, embark on thrilling water sports adventures, or simply unwind on secluded beaches. Fiji's natural beauty, coupled with its warm hospitality, promises an unforgettable final stop on our adventure.
On board Bark EUROPA, guests are referred to as voyage crew, and the ship's permanent crew will provide training to transform them into sailors. Even if you have no prior experience, the crew will teach you everything you need to know throughout the journey. Unlike a traditional cruise, Bark Europa offers a hands-on sailing experience, where you actively participate in sailing activities. The voyage crew is divided into three groups or watches, named after the colors of the Dutch flag - red, white, and blue. Each watch will take turns being on duty for four hours, followed by eight hours of free time.
While on watch, the voyage crew will be given different tasks to perform, which will be divided among the members of their watch. Two individuals will be responsible for helm duty, and the crew will guide them on steering the ship, maintaining course, and staying alert for potential hazards. There will also be two people assigned to lookout duty to spot any other ships, debris, or wildlife, and communicate with the officer of the watch.
The remaining members of the watch will be tasked with deck duty. The permanent crew will provide training on sail handling, and you will assist in setting up and taking down the sails by hauling and easing lines. You may also climb the rigging to furl or unfurl the sails and learn how to trim the sails to the direction of the wind. During deck duty, there will be opportunities to help the crew with maintenance tasks and learn traditional skills such as woodworking, sail making, celestial navigation, and traditional rope and rigging work.
During the eight hours off watch, voyage crew members can take advantage of the downtime to rest or enjoy the scenery. The library is available for quiet reading or writing in your logbook, and the deckhouse offers opportunities to socialize with fellow crewmates over a drink, board game, or card game. The crew will also provide lectures on various topics, ranging from traditional sailor skills and knowledge to science and astronomy.
Even during the off-watch time, voyage crew members can still assist the permanent crew and their watchmates with sail handling and maintenance jobs. If needed, the galley team may also ask for help with preparing meals. Your off-watch time is for you to fill in, you may do as little or as much as you like.
This voyage is open for bookings. For a seamless booking process, please have a look at our FAQ for more information about booking multiple voyages, health requirements and other essential details.