Sailing the Wind Spirit from Tahiti to Bora Bora

Folks, it just doesn't get any better than this. A tropical paradise, a private sailing yacht, the joy of being with your friends, fabulous cuisine and fine wines, a great cast of musicians, entertainers, cultural speakers and a premier historian of how people have used stars for navigation. This trip will have it all. In the next few pages we will try to share with you the enthusiasm that we have felt as we've constructed what will be one of the all-time great Castles and Concerts trips.

We will sail the same routes as the first Polynesians and we will visit places that are little changed from the time of Captain Cook, Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian, Paul Gauguin and Marlon Brando.

Pre-Trip on the Island of Moorea October 15 - 18

For our pre-trip activities we've reserved the InterContinental Resort on Moorea. This luxurious facility offers a wide range of accommodations. You can choose a deluxe room near the center of everything, or private thatched cottage on the beach, or even a bungalow built on stilts out over the water. We will offer a variety of daytime activities. Your best bet may be to stay right here and enjoy the white sand beaches, the pools, the bars and the afternoon music. For more adventure, we'll offer hiking tours to vista points, ancient sites, or snorkeling in the incredibly clear and calm waters protected inside the coral reef. You will even be able to take 4X4 tours up through the foothills to the Bel'Vedere, where we will drink champagne and enjoy the view of iconic landmarks like Cook's Bay and Bali Ha'i. And it's here that we will start with our first grand outdoor banquet and show on that first evening.
The InterContinental Resort on Moorea
We've contracted the services of Lionel, a local guide and music lover who will help open doors into the local culture. He is arranging a special excursion to a privately owned "Motu" (island) where we will have the chance to swim with sharks and sting-rays.

Moorea was formed when half of a volcano crumbled into the sea, creating the beautiful heart-shaped island that will certainly capture yours. Located in the middle of the world's largest coral reef eco-system, Moorea is the ideal spot to take in the scenery and transition to a relaxed island mode. Each evening we will dine with incredible views, exotic local foods, great music and, of course, the sound of good friends enjoying each other's company.

On Thursday, October 18, we return by ferry to Papeete on the main island of Tahiti and board the Wind Spirit.
The Private Over-Water Bungalows at the InterContinental

The Voyage

Paul Gauguin's impression of Tahiti (1892)
On Thursday, October 18, our Adventure begins when we board the Wind Spirit, our home for the next seven nights. We set sail that evening for our first port, Raiatea, the second-largest island (after Tahiti) in French Polynesia. We arrive the next morning, on Friday, October 19, and for the next few days we will explore Raiatea and its sister island, Taha'a. These two islands share the same coral reef and were most likely, at one point in time, one unified land mass. Until it was "discovered" by European explorers, Raiatea was considered by its people to be the central hub of the whole world. In fact, the Maori in New Zealand and the native Hawaiians all believe that their ancestors sailed from Raiatea to discover and settle the new lands. Just next door, the "Vanilla Island" of Taha'a is appropriately named as the main producer of Tahitian Vanilla in French Polynesia. The waters off Taha'a are also known for creating some of the most beautiful Tahitian Pearls.
In the morning on Sunday, October 21, we arrive at the crown jewel of the Society Islands, Bora Bora. For such a small island, there is a lot to explore and we will spend two days here on, under and even above the water. The native Tahitians called this island Pora pora mai te pora (meaning "created by the Gods"). In the early 18th Century, when the Dutch Explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, landed there, his European ears phonetically heard "Bora Bora." He wrote it down that way and the name stuck. Our visit to Bora Bora will be highlighted by a small craft cruise to a private "Motu" (island) where we will enjoy amazing snorkeling, a chance to swim with sharks and sting-rays, and a special "Table in the Water" Tahitian BBQ experience!
The map and aerial photo below clearly show the outline of the old volcanic crater that has, over tens of thousands of years, evolved into the coral atoll surrounding the main part of the island. The protected waters inside the reef are filled with colorful sea life. Perfect for snorkeling.


On Tuesday, October 23, we will depart Bora Bora and arrive at the beautiful island of Huahine. Offering beautiful, uncrowded beaches and lagoons, Huahine, like the other islands, has plenty of amazing ways for you to spend your time either in or on the water. Huahine is one of the least populated islands in Tahiti. This makes it a great place to grab a bike and tour the island. For the historically-minded amongst us, Huahine has some of the most important ancient ruins this side of Easter Island. We'll have a knowledgeable guide to lead us on a visit to these ancient sites.

The Early Tahitians

More than 3,000 years ago, the Polynesians started their long sailing adventures from their homeland in present-day Micronesia. They sent out successive waves of boats full of men, women and children along with domesticated plants and animals in search of new islands. Every century or so they would push farther out into the vast emptiness of the Pacific Ocean to discover new islands. It seems they first arrived in Tahiti about 500AD. Over the next 700 years the Tahitians reached Hawaii, New Zealand, and finally Easter Island by about 1200AD.

From father to son, through hundreds of years, navigators passed on their knowledge of tiny islands in the vast expanse of ocean. In 1769, the renowned Polynesian Navigator and Translator, Tupaia, sailed with Captain Cook from Tahiti. And it is likely that Cook's great discoveries in New Zealand and the South Seas owe a great debt to the knowledge of this native Tahitian.

Captain Cook and Captain Bligh

First Encounter with Europeans

The Spanish first sailed by these islands in the early 1600s but did not try to explore them. The first documented landing was by the Englishman Samuel Wallis in 1767. The picture at the right shows him exchanging gifts with the Queen of Tahiti. It might have been a long while before there was much interaction, but an astronomical event of 1769 speeded things up considerably. Ancient astronomers had noted that Venus, viewed from the earth, passes in front of the sun only about every 250 years. Edmund Halley (Halley's Comet) pointed out that there would be a transit of Venus in 1769. Halley suggested that IF you could observe the transit of Venus from opposite sides of the earth and IF you had a very accurate clock in order to know the difference in time of the transit from the two sides of the earth you could, using Pythagoras' theorem, determine the actual distance to the sun.

Captain Cook and the Transit of Venus

Halley died in 1741. That same year John Harrison, after 17 years of work, invented a clock that would keep the correct time during a long sailing voyage. So in 1769, Captain Cook was sent by the British to Tahiti to observe the time of the crossing of Venus in front of the sun. He had four telescopes and made up four teams in order to achieve as much accuracy as possible. After they averaged the four measurements and did the math they wrote that "the distance from the Earth to the Sun is 93,726,900 English miles." The value used today is 92,955,000 miles. So they were off by less than 1%. An amazing feat! It was during this voyage that Cook met the Tahitian navigator Tupaia who led Cook to his discoveries of New Zealand and the east coast of Australia.

Captain Bligh and the Mutiny

Captain Cook reported that Tahiti had a tree that grew a nourishing, if rather bland, fruit. Without much imagination, he named it breadfruit. He suggested that it would be a food suitable for the slaves in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. But Cook died on his next voyage (fighting the natives in Hawaii) And so, in 1789, the British government sent Captain Bligh in the HMS Bounty with the mission to bring the breadfruit trees to the Caribbean. The real problem with this mission was that the Bounty had to stay in Tahiti for several months while planting seedlings and growing them to the point that they could be transported to the Caribbean. It was during these months that Fletcher Christian and his buddies fell in love with the local girls and could not stand the idea of returning to England. They took the girls and the ship and headed out to Pitcairn's Island where the descendants of the crew and the Tahitian girls live to this day.
Marlon Brando and the guys dumping the breadfruit overboard


It's still a year before we sail, but look at the cast that we've already assembled! By the time we sail we will have the greatest ensemble of stars that has ever graced Castles and Concerts, including many of your favorites from past trips, as well as some exciting new faces. First of all, no trip to the islands would be complete without the return of the soulful stylings of Billy Valentine. Magician extraordinaire, Patrick Martin will thrill and amaze you. In addition, we are extremely pleased to announce the Castles & Concerts debut of the incomparable Shelly Berg Trio, including Terry Miller on bass and, joining us for the first time on drums, Andy Fraga. The talented and lovely Angie Byrd will share her amazing voice with us. And we will have Professor of Astronomy, Steve Majewski to help us understand how the Polynesian explorers and later navigators like Captain Cook opened new vistas on earth using the stars as navigational points in the heavens. Our leaders, Chip Mallari, Matt Montgomery and Tom Montgomery will add to the musical fun. We will also be joined by local musicians, speakers, singers and dancers who will share with us the great culture, music, dance and cuisine of this tropical paradise. We will be sure to let you know as we arrange for more of your favorite entertainers to join us on board. As is our custom, every evening on our trip we will play for your entertainment and for the joy of making music with our friends.

Billy Valentine
Matt Montgomery
Andy Fraga
Chip & Angie
Patrick Martin
Shelly Berg
Steve Majewski
Terry Miller
Tom Montgomery

Reservations, Details and Costs

Arrival for the Sailing on the 18th:

We'll pick you up at the airport. If the ship is ready for boarding we will take you directly to the ship. If you arrive earlier, we will take you to the InterContinental for drinks or a meal until it's time to board our ship. Please make sure we have your arrival time and flight number.

Arrival for the Pre-Trip:

We will start the party on the evening of Monday, October 15. The last ferry is usually at about 6PM. In order to make that ferry you will have to arrive at the International Airport in Papeete, on the main island of Tahiti, by around 3PM. This will give us time to pick you up, take you to the ferry and move you to Moorea, (which is about a 40 minute ferry crossing). If you arrive too late to make the transfer that evening we'll put you up at the InterContinental in Papeete, near the airport, and we will catch the morning ferry. You could also arrive one night early, on the night of the 14th , and stay in Papeete and move to Moorea on the morning of the 15th. If you choose this option we will be happy to make your reservation at the InterContinental in Papaeete. Please let us know when you've finalized your air reservation and whatever day and at whatever time you arrive, we will greet you at the airport and get you where you need to be. We will send out more information on the various flight options before the end of the year, which is when ticket reservations for next October will first be available.

What's Included:

We've tried to make this as all-inclusive as possible. All taxes and fees that the ship usually applies to the individual guest have been covered. All meals are included: breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have arranged for an open bar throughout the day and night. We have prepaid gratuities to all of the ship's staff, our tour operators and hotel/hospitality staff. The ship has lots of water sports equipment, which they offer at no charge (snorkeling, kayaks etc.) Any event that Castles and Concerts has organized is included, but the ship will also offer specialty services that are not included. (Massage, Scuba, Parasails, Helicopter flights etc.).

Cost for the Sailing:

The cost of the trip is $5,950 per person, double occupancy, in a superior room. For $450/person you can upgrade to the "AX Deluxe" cabins. All cabins are the same size and have the same amenities but these 22 "AX Deluxe" cabins have the best location, on the upper deck and in mid-ship.

Cost for the Pre-Trip to the InterContinental on Moorea:

The basic price is $2,350 and includes all accommodation, our organized tours, concerts, transportation, and meals with wine and beer. You will pick up your own bar tab at the InterContinental. If you want to be in a sea view bungalow there is a $550/person supplement; and for the bungalows on stilts out over the water an $875/person supplement. Please indicate to us on the enclosed RSVP card if you are interested in the upgrades.

Deposits and Cancellations:

A $500 deposit will hold your place. As always, your deposit is fully refundable for any reason, up to the time of your second payment, which will be due in January. Your deposits are fully transferable to someone else at any time. If you need to cancel after the second payment, you will receive a full refund if either you or Castles & Concerts can find a substitute traveler to take your place.


We will sail back into Papeete in the early evening on Wednesday, October 24. It seems that all the flights back to the U.S. mainland leave late at night, so those few of you who need to rush back may head to the airport for the midnight flights back to the US. Everyone else will stay for a final banquet and show in Papeete. We will disembark on Thursday morning, but as an incentive to stay on through the last day and fly out Thursday night, (October 25) we are currently in negotiations to have lunch and a concert at the Presidential Palace.


Please feel free to email or call us with any questions you may have. Thank you.

October 15, 2018 - October 18, 2018

Main trip:
October 18, 2018 - October 25, 2018

(650) 444-3934
(661) 803-2098
(415) 492-1059