Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Day Six: Adventures in Raiatea and Tahaa

Saturday morning we took a bus tour of the island of Raiatea, where the ship was docked. It’s the second largest island in the archipelago and our bus went around the island, stopping at a pearl farm where cultivating pearls were explained, and at the large marae, or ancient temple (16th century) of the chieftans. Needless to say the whole Polynesian culture was wiped out by colonial missionaries in the 19th century. But the good part is that human sacrifice is no longer practiced here. There are few native animals on the volcanic islands, except some lizards and mosquitoes (more about them later.) The local domestic animals were imported by the ancient Polynesians who came from South-east Asia. These animals include dogs, cats, horses, chickens, pigs and goats. We saw most of them in residence. Sad to say, some of them—dogs and chickens most of all—are often roasted for dinner. In the afternoon we took a boat to the sister island of Tahaa. There, we boarded a 4 x 4 wheel truck which drove around the island. The guide wasn’t too great, as he spent too much time explaining pearl farming and vanilla growing. At the vanilla farm your correspondent was chewed upon by voracious mosquitoes. After the sales pitch, we returned to the boat which then traveled to a nearby motu (isle) where the tourists could snorkel or swim. After the long tour we returned to our ship and had another great meal in the dining room of the lovely Oceania Marina. –Dan

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