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French Poynesia - Geography

French Polynesia is made up of approximately 118 islands, of volcanic or coral origin, covering an area of ??4,200 km, dispersed over 2 500 000 km (equivalent to the surface of Europe). The territory is composed of five archipelagos: The Society Islands, consisting of the Windward Islands (Tahiti, Moorea and Tetiaroa) and the Leeward Islands (Raiatea, Tahaa, Huahine, Bora Bora and Maupiti)

  1. The Islands of the Wind: Tahiti, with its mount Orohena which culminates at 2,241 m of altitude, is an island "high". It is home to the city of Papeete, administrative and commercial center of French Polynesia. This island is the most inhabited of the territory and has an international airport. Opposite, Moorea, the sister island, is only separated by a channel. It is renowned for its sweetness of life and the delicious taste of its pineapples. Many luxury hotels as well as charming guesthouses welcome tourists in search of a change of scenery. It is true that the beauty of its sites, its white sandy beaches and its seabed make it a privileged destination. Not far away, Tetiaroa, a magnificent atoll, hardly emerges from its turquoise lagoon. Papeete is located at 17100 km of the hexagon,
  2. Leeward Islands: In Polynesian mythology, they are considered the original country where the mythic homeland (Havai'i corresponding to Raiatea) was located and where the gods and traditions proceeded. Bora-Bora is considered a political center and it is in Maupiti that the vestiges of the past have best resisted the damage of time and of men.
  3. The Marquesas archipelago: It consists of a dozen islands stretching from north to south for 350 km. Only six are currently inhabited by a much smaller population than in the past. The nearest lands are the atolls of Puka Puka and Napuka, 450 km away. The valley constitutes an essential entity to capture the originality of the Marquesas. Each valley has its own social system, in which the lineages of chiefs and the college of priests hold the most important roles.
  4. The archipelago of the Australes: Consisting of five high islands, the archipelago is located on the Tropic of Capricorn. The climate is cooler here than in Tahiti. Renowned for their unspoilt environment, the islands are, above all, land of tradition. Beginning with that of crafts, whether it is the braiding of pandanus, coconut fibers or reed, especially in the making of hats. Moreover, one can only be moved by the superb polyphonic melodies, the "himene tuhaa pae", interpreted with passion by the population. These songs seem to respond to those mysterious majestic humpback whales that come every year to breed in these hospitable waters.
  5. The Tuamotu Archipelago: Lagoons, reefs and ocean are the three fishing territories.
  6. The Gambier archipelago: The Gambier archipelago, of volcanic origin, has a mild climate and a diversified vegetation. Agriculture is prosperous because water is abundant. Volcanic origin, the "high" islands of the territory offer a rugged landscape. The summits sometimes peak at over 2,000 meters, as in Tahiti (the Orohena and Aorai mountains), in the Australes Islands (Mount Parahu, 1,450 meters), on the island of Hiva-Hoa of the Marquesas archipelago Hanoi, 1,260 meters).

The coasts of the "high" islands are cut out and safe harbors harbor ports. Another type of islands is found in French Polynesia, the "low" islands, as in the Tuamotu, called atolls or madreporic crowns. The transition from a volcanic island to an atoll is considered relatively fast in geological timescales, taking only a few million years (1 mm of sinking per year causes a sinking of 1,000 m per million of years).

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Page last modified: 12-07-2017 18:57:51 ZULU