Friday, April 22, 2016


We were supposed to have been at Moorea first, and then move on to Papeete (which is just 25 miles across the way from Papeete), but I guess there was a weather forecast of an impending tropical storm approaching, and the captain wanted to make sure he could get into to the dock at Papeete, as he needed fuel and more supplies, for our journey back to the States.  So he switched up the ports. Clearly, it caused a lot of havoc for the shore excursion people, as well as lots of people who had booked their own independent and private tours.  I was part of a private tour but our organizer told me she was just going to cancel it, so I was left with nothing for the day in Papeete.  I thought I’d hold out until the morning to see how the weather might look.  Why book a shore excursion and pay for it if the weather was going to be lousy?  Been there, done that.  

When I awoke in the morning, I looked out my window and saw that we had indeed docked overnight, and I had a nice little view of the marina out my window.  I could see traffic bustling along the main street just on the other side of the marina.  And I saw something that we hadn’t seen much of lately — SUN!!!.

After a quick shower, I dressed and headed down the hall to the shore excursion desk.  I thought I’d give a try at seeing if there were any open excursions left.  Turned out there were plenty, so I picked a half day tour around the island of Tahiti.  It was leaving in an hour, so I hurried upstairs to the Lido and grabbed some breakfast, then back to my room to gather my things and head out.

Turned out to be a really nice morning, and I enjoyed the tour around the Eastern and Western sides of the island.  The island of Tahiti boasts an impressive population of close to 300,000, most of whom reside in and just outside the capital of Papeete.  In the islands, all vowels are pronounced individually, so what I used to refer to as PAH PETE, it really is called PAH PAY EH TAY.

Tahiti is the largest island in the Society Islands, and Papeete is the capital.  The dominant religion here is Protestant, although there is a respectable showing of Buddhism, Judaism, Catholic, and Mormon groups.  

Captains Bougainville (after which the beautiful bougainvillea flower is named), Cook and Blye all came to Tahiti.  Bougainville arrived in 1768 at Matavai Bay at a place called Venus Point.  Cook is responsible for charting maps through his circumnavigation of the islands.  Captain Blye is famous for his crew’s mutiny.

At Point Venus, there is a 25 meter lighthouse, which is the tallest structure on the island other than the coconut trees.  The lighthouse can be seen from Moorea, 25 miles away.

The two biggest sports in Tahiti are surfing and outrigging canoeing.  There’s a famous surfing spot here called Chopo.  It’s not a high wave, but it is very thick and quick.  Where the wave hits, the water is only about 10 feet deep, so it’s quite dangerous, but then, that’s what attracts the surfers.

Did you know that 80% of the sand in these islands comes from the poop of the uhu fish?  Yep a doodle.  It’s also known as the parrot fish, very beautiful fish.  It eats the coral and then poops out the ground up coral which ends up as sand.  Think about THAT the next time you step on a beach - anywhere, really!

There are lots of beautiful flowers and other plants grown here on the island.  There’s tons of breadfruit, mangoes, papayas, bananas, grapefruit and of course, coconuts.  Pineapples are grown in Moorea and shipped here.

Next stop tomorrow is Moorea.  Assuming we can get there.  Heard there's a cyclone Amos that's messing with this part of the world.  We'll see!!

A church

The first colonial house


Lighthouse beach

Guys playing soccer

Solar water heater on roof

Local beer

 Pretty flowers from the gardens we visited

Waterfall at gardens

A breadfruit

 Black sand beach!

 A dog with a smile

Some local art work

Bora Bora - Days 1 and 2

Although the weather didn’t look too promising, we managed to get anchored inside the reef in Bora Bora.  We were scheduled here for an overnight, and I had two great tours planned.  

Day 1 was a 3/4 day tour - there was a group of us of about 30 or so, in 3 canoes.  Our tour was with the “famous” Patrick.  He’s well known for his canoe trips and a luncheon on a private motu.  A motu is a little tiny atoll inside the reef and most are privately owned.  The motus are where you find the nice sandy beaches in Bora Bora, as there are only a couple of decent sand beaches on the island itself.  

We boarded the canoes and headed out for our first stop - feeding the sting rays and the sharks.  Our canoe’s guide was a scantily clad man named Alex.  You’ll see the pictures, so I don’t need to say much more about him……

We stopped way out in the reef, Alex dropped the anchor, and we hopped out with our masks on in water that was about 4 feet deep.  Clear beautiful warm water.  And sting rays and sharks all swimming about us.  They were BEAUTIFUL!!!!  There were a few people in the group who weren’t big fans of the sting rays - it seemed the louder they screamed, the more rays that swam to them.  I got to touch the rays and found them to be silky soft and very friendly.  It was a great experience.

We then got back in the canoes and headed out to a coral garden, where we spent some time snorkeling.  I wish I had an underwater camera because the coral and fish were stunning.  I hadn’t snorkeled in quite a long time, but it must be like riding a bike - once you get started it’s easy peasy and your body seems to remember what to do.

Our last stop was a ways out — we went to Patrick’s motu.  I enjoyed the ride out there - we passed several of the big hotels that have the overwater bungalows - in fact, Patrick’s motu is right next door to the Four Seasons resort.  Close enough to see, but far away enough to still be quite private.

We enjoyed a great lunch of pork, fish, breadfruit, grapefruit, wine, champagne and beer, and taro.  Patrick unwrapped his oven in the group to show us the roasted pork (poor thing,,,,,it’s a good thing I left Snort on the ship today…..).  Patrick also gave us a fire dance demonstration which was quite entertaining.  He said he’s getting too old for that stuff, but he had the moves, so I don’t know what he’s talking about!!

It was so nice to sit out at a table at the edge of the water and feel the warm (not hot!) ocean breeze on your face.  Not a care in the world.  But too soon, it was time to get back in the canoes and head back to the pier and town.

Saying our goodbyes at the dock for a great day, I headed back to the ship to change into dry clothes and drop off my snorkeling gear.  After a short respite on board, I headed out again.  I wanted to do a little pearl shopping, and found a nice store that our port guide had recommended.  The store also offered us free wifi, so that was a bonus.  After shopping, I wanted to go visit a well-known popular restaurant (and tourist trap) called Bloody Mary’s.  It’s a cute place across from a nice dock and beauty area.  I got there close to sunset, so I walked out to the end of dock and sat there for awhile, watching the sun go down.

I decided I wanted to stay for dinner.  Bloody Mary’s is pretty popular at night, and you usually need reservations, so I went to the bar, had a margarita, and asked them if they had room for 1 for dinner.  “But of course” they replied.  So I stayed.  I met some nice people at the bar and talked for awhile until my table was ready.  I enjoyed a nice meal of white tuna, crab meat cooked in wine and garlic sauce, a yummy green salad and a bottle of water.   Expensive, but very good.  During dinner, it started to rain outside - we could hear it coming down on the roof above.  By the time I left the restaurant, it was just pouring.  A taxi came by and the doorman pushed me into the taxi for the $5 ride back to the ship.
At 8:30 PM, I was the only passenger on the tender ride back to the ship from the pier.  The town basically shuts down at around 5 PM and in the heavy rain, I didn’t see another passenger anywhere.

Sting ray!!!

Well, this is Alex, our canoe guide for the day.  Hello Alex.

Alex can play a mean ukelele.  Alex has many talents.

Look how blue the water is!

Some of the overwater bungalows on Bora Bora.

One of the other canoes.

Cooking our lunch!

Unwrapping the oven to reveal.........

Wait for it!!!  Oh wait, I didn't upload the final picture.  Well, ahem, it's a poor little pig.

No, not him.  By the way, this is the famous Patrick!  Such a nice man!

View of the Four Seasons resort.

Our canoe.

Patrick showing his stuff.

It's good to be Queen of the canoe!!


Look at this fish!

This is the spread at Bloody Mary's.  You pick your appetizer and main course and then they cook it up for you.

Crab meat in garlic and white wine sauce.  Delish.

White tuna with rice and veggies.

This is the bathroom in Bloody Mary's.  This is the sink, and the round wooden ring is the handle to the faucet to make the water run down.

Day 2 in Bora Bora — we awoke to heavy rain and wind, but the tenders were running and I was part of a small group of 6 that had a 4x4 jeep tour booked at 9:00.  I wondered if we could still go, with the heavy rain, but the guide and jeep was there and he said “off we go!”.  So off we went.  

We had quite a journey up the mountain in heavy rain, gobs of mud on the dirt road, and rivers of water cascading down the roads.  It was very bumpy and very fun, though!  At least I enjoyed it.  When we got to the top, the weather had started to clear a bit, and we enjoyed a nice view of the reef/lagoon area below.  The U.S. military had had a presence on Bora Bora during WW2 and there are remains of stations up in the mountain, along with some well-preserved cannons.  They were put up there to protect the bay and were strategically placed to do just that.

On our way back down the back side of the mountain, we stopped at a local artist’s home.  He does batik work and we admired (and shopped) his work on pareos and other materials, while enjoying a restroom stop and tasting of some fresh bananas and grapefruit.  

One of our final stops was a Matira Beach - it is the only real decent beach on Bora Bora.  It wasn’t as big as I had imagined it to be, but it was nice, the sun had come out for awhile, and we got some great pictures.

Our jeep tour over, I again went back to the ship and changed into some dry clothes (it is so muggy here, especially in the rain, that everything becomes damp pretty much as soon as you step off the air conditioned ship).  I ate lunch, and then grabbed a tender back to town.  I had a Skype call planned to speak with Ori, my oldest granddaughter, as it was her 4th birthday and I wanted to speak to her “live”!  I headed back to the jewelry store, hooked into their internet again, and checked some emails, etc. while I waited for the appointed time for the Skype call.  In the meantime, the clouds let loose again with pouring rain, wind, thunder and lightning.  Yikes!!!  It went on like that for another hour.  

When my call was over, I covered up and made a run for it, back to the pier and onto a tender.  It was getting close to last call for tender, as our ship was leaving in another hour, so I joined a huge crowd of passengers waiting for the tender.  The water was choppy, the rain still pounding, and the wind creating sideways sheets of rain at us.  But in due time, everyone got on and back to the ship and off we sailed, bound for Papeete.

Muddy road!!

World War 2 cannons left behind.

This is Arii, our guide and amazing driver!

 Some of the local artist's work in batik.

Muddy roads continue


Ancient marae heiroglyphics

Matira Beach

Snort approved the jeep

This is me with my happy face!

Loved these bikes

Bloody Mary's mascot --- Cat

At the jewelry store - she's playing a beautiful ukelele.  Later she sang You Are My Sunshine and everyone clapped wildly!