My first stop in French Polynesia was Moorea, a short ferry ride across from Tahiti - it was a fantastic start. I read a description that I loved that said the island looks like a series of shark fins sticking out of the water - it does, with beautiful green mountains in every possible direction, circled by a lagoon with gorgeous blue water. It was a great place to explore - mountains to climb, good kayaking to smaller islands (called motus), snorkeling, and WHALE WATCHING. If you're lucky, this involves watching them from in the water - it was an amazing experience, one of my favorite things ever - I went twice and wish I'd signed up for additional days. When the males sing you can feel the vibrations coming through the water, and the second day we saw two babies with their moms - they were super playful and curious (and for some reason I decided they look a lot like baby hippos).