Around the southern seas

The French Antilles – or Caribbean islands – have become a popular yet still exotic destination, where lovers of sand and sea will be spoiled. You can hire a jet ski and head off in search of a wild cove accompanied by dolphins, or go water-skiing, surfing, maybe even try your hand at the latest craze, kite-surfing. If you’d like to explore a variety of islands, the best bet is to hire a boat with or without a skipper. The trade winds will take you to tiny island paradises, to coasts studded with mangroves, or to magnificent palm-tree lined bays where you can anchor for the night. If you don’t have the time for a cruise, you can spend a day on a catamaran to drink in the subtle hues of blue in an ocean that’s rimmed by stretches of incredibly white sand. The islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are also perfect diving destinations – an amazing world of extraordinary colour lies within the ocean depths. Algae, coral, and brightly coloured fish put on a display of striking beauty. If you’re not an experienced diver, now is the time to take your first plunge with an initiation session!

Polynesian atolls, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, are synonymous with peace, luxury, and sensuality. Their turquoise-blue lagoons and coral reefs are the delight of divers, especially on the Sous-le-Vent and Tuamotu islands. In addition to colourful marine plant life, there’s also a spectacular array of underwater animal life to be seen as well, including the majestic manta rays. The water is so clear that the rays can be spotted from a dugout canoe, fishing boat, jet ski or surfboard off the black sands of Papeete. Three thousand miles west of Tahiti, New Caledonia also boasts a fabulous coral reef with the largest lagoon in the world. It is a dream destination for sailing, diving, and a host of other nautical activities.

The vast Indian Ocean is home to Reunion Island, which attracts surfers keen to test its big waves during the southern winter. Indeed, it has become a leading destination for worldwide surf-seekers.