Saturday, June 9, 2018

Tahiti and Pearl Beach

We started and ended our cruise in Papeete. We had decided on a few days at a resort to unwind before our return. Our choice of The Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort was a good one although they did have renovations underway at the time. The room was stunning and the staff excellent.

                                                                   A quality room

                                                          The view from the room.

                                             Sunset with Moorea in the background.

They had special dinners both nights. The first night was a dance and musicians from the Marquises
Islands that are even more remote than the Tuomotos.

                                                         Rob tests French produce!

                                                           The male dancers were special!

                                       The women wore very traditional costumes.

                                                    Gail with the dance squad.

                                               Rob is taken away for a ritual sacrifice!

Wow...that was day 1! We had planned lots of activities and a trip into town but decided simply to relax at the resort.

                                                            We swam in the pool and

                                           ...rode bikes in the pool

                                        ..  in an infinity pool you can ride over the horizon.

                                             ..but we didn't forget to have lunch.

Later we had time to read and sleep and then drink wine as the sun set.

At dinner they had a different dance troupe. These were locals from Tahiti.

                                                        Rob with a few of the dancers.

We had a few great days and have now packed for our flights in the morning.
We will resume the blog in August with our trip across the North West passage.

Friday, June 8, 2018


When we woke we were at anchor in Cooks Bay. There was still time for a breakfast at leisure with friends prior to catching the tender ashore. It was a beautiful place to step off. Other than a few stalls there was not much so we soon negotiated a private van for the two of us to explore the coast and interior.
We were soon looking out over Cooks or Pao Pao Bay with the Wind Spirit at anchor and on our way to the other large bay, Oponohu Bay. Yes there was a pineapple juice and distillery on the way. We imbibed even without police protection! The Bays are very scenic with a coastline that you could easily settle down for the next decade or two!

                                          Behind the silhouettes is one of the bays!

We headed up into the rugged interior to the Belvedere. Soon we were looking one way down onto the bays and scenic coast and the other way to the ridges of mountains.

                               What peak is this? Clue  " South Pacific "

                                 The two of us with the two great bays in the background.

From most of our stopping places in the mountains we could see the famous peak of Bali Hai. Been singing that song ever since! Wake up at night with it still there!

Not sure why this panorama came out like a miniature! It was a great scene.

On the way down the mountain we had a few stops. The best was an important Marae that was hidden under the trees.

                                                                  Local wildlife.

We decided against the jam tasting at the Agricultural High School..had had lots of fruit at the distillery! We were still getting great views of Bali Hai.

                                                   Seen through the hibiscus flowers!

The island is the main producer of pineapples and tourism is very important. They are mainly tucked away in resorts and even on ships where they don't do too much harm.

Our final stop was the Toatea View Point with views across to Tahiti and over the Sofitel and its beach bungalows. This is where we stayed many years ago.

Did shopping at the pier then over to the ship for a late lunch and cool drinks. We started our packing but still had time for a swim off the water sports platform before afternoon drinks.
That night we dined with special new friends at Candles Restaurant with great service from the Bar Manager and Hotel Manager. This was a night to remember.

Huahine: The authentic island

Huahini is the most natural and unspoilt island of the Society islands. Although close geographically to Bora Bora and Tahiti it is a world away.
There is little infrastructure so we went on a drive around the island in an island ute driven by the local cop.
We had come across by tender and there was nothing there but a few willing drivers. Our first stop was a rock that was said to contain the imprint of a legendary dog. We wouldn't want to meet the dog as it would be the size of a buffalo!

                                             It made us realise what dainty feet we have!

Soon we were at the local distillery. It was still early but we followed police instructions and tasted everything they made! All made from tropical fruits and sweet..but powerful.

Whilst we would have been happy to curl up and have a nap, we drove on to the town and spent time
checking out the shops and stalls.

                                                                Anyone for Taro?

Huahine has one of the most important Marae. In an idyllic location it would have been a great place to end it if you had volunteered as a sacrifice. We declined. The last human sacrifice was in 1818.
It is an important archaeological site dating from the 15th century.

The site also has a museum that had many interesting displays. An interesting visit.

It has a great location next to the Marae and jutting out over the water. Lots of information, old photos and artifacts. Most of the major items are left in situ.

We did have a stop at yet another vanilla farm. Most memorable was the home made vanilla ice cream. It was a hot day!
They also had a large number of "Fighting Cocks" The local policeman showed us but not sure if it is legal!  The local Chinese are big gamblers!

                           He looks friendly enough but lethal when they attach the metal spurs

We saw the local stone fish traps built centuries ago and still in use. Sit back and let the fish present themselves for dinner.

There were stops at French marine burial sites and at the famous Blue Eyed Eels. These were huge!

                                                      "Beautiful, beautiful blue eyes"

We had to get back or go with the cop to bring the island to order. We recrossed the bridge that links the two islands that comprise Huahine stopping to look at a catch of a type of crayfish and look over at our ship.

Back on board we slipped back into the comforts of Western civilisation. The cop would have been going around the island greeting everyone he met with a friendly greeting. Close to zero crime!

 We sailed for Moorea as the sun set. Then off to dinner with new friends.

A few days in Bora Bora

We have two days on Bora Bora. The first day was Sunday so when we went ashore most of the shops were closed. The churches were packed and the singing carried out across the small town.
We went on a visit to snorkel with the famous sharks and stingrays of Bora Bora. We first visited a sandbank with water to our chest. Soon we were being circled by sharks but they were the harmless black tipped reef sharks. The really wonderful experience was the interaction with the stingrays. They soon came up to us and we patted them and held them and fed them. They were literally all over us. Sounds scary but they were truly beautiful harmless creatures.

                                                            Bora Bora from the boat.

                                        Gail with the stingrays. We needed a separate photographer!

                                         There were sharks all around us but they smiled at us!

On the next day we went ashore and negotiated for a taxi to drive us right around the island with lots of stops. There is only one road and it goes all around the island. We had lots of photo stops along with a visit to Bloody Mary’s the famous bar on the island. We saw lots of over water developments and pristine deserted beaches.  

After an early lunch on board we took the zodiac to a private island to swim in the clear waters.  We were with a school of Eagle Rays and it was another great experience swimming with them.
That night we returned to the island for a special event with dinner along with traditional dancing and fire dancing. A great way to finish our visit to the island that is often called paradise.

                                     We had Motu Tapu almost to ourselves.

                                 There was no one to take us together!

                                        Sunset as we went back for our evening on the island.

                                         The dancers were excellent!

                         Our ship was lit up for us as we went back after our island feast.

Raiatea and The Taputapuatea Marae

We joined a small tour to visit the Opua heritage on the island that is believed to be the centre of the Polynesian world. It is thought that from this community, the last in the world to be settled by humans, warriors set out across the seas. It is at the centre of a triangle of settlements that they established. Hawaii to the north, Easter Island to the east and New Zealand to the south. Many other islands consider that they are at the centre and the other settlements believe that they settled the islands of today’s French Pacific Polynesia.

                                    The flower marks the position of the island of Raiatea

                                                              Rob at the Volcanic crater

We started from our port of Raiatea and drove south with several stops along the way including a pearl farm and the crater of a huge volcano.
In the Opoa district we reached the UNESCO World Heritage Marae Taputapuatea. We explored several marae serving different functions. One was for sacrificial offerings, another for burials and a Royal site. This provided a most meaningful insight into this ancient society

                                                                    At the Marae.

                                      It reminded us of Easter Island.

                         This contains sacred objects from Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island.

                                                      Rob at the Royal Marae.

                                                               ...and Gail.

                                         The vanilla flower ready for hand pollination.
Later back aboard we heard from an elder and a traditional tattooist. They lamented the approaching loss of the Tahitian language and the fact that the youth didn’t follow the old traditions. An all too familiar tale!awaiiHa