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!!
The first colonial house
Guys playing soccer
Solar water heater on roof
Pretty flowers from the gardens we visited
Waterfall at gardens
Some local art work