Saturday, April 30, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
We did an overnight in LA after our eight hour flight from Tahiti. One of the more unusual experiences in French Polynesia was enjoying a taste of breadfruit. Breadfruit is a large, green fruit or vegatable, I'm not sure which. Anyway, the Polynesians grill it until it turns black, then it is peeled and sliced for consumption. It tastes really good this way. It tastes a little like a potato.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Sunday morning our ship anchored in the harbor of Huahine, an unusual Polynesian island with ancient historical roots. A vast lagoon surrounds the two islands and there are tall mountains which are also sacred. Wild jungle-type forests can be seen and Dan had an opportunity to do so on a two hour tour of Huahine. The tour bus stopped at a vanilla farm, a mountain top for a view of the ocean below, and a river full of sacred, blue-eyed eels! The eels are said to be blind, but they are very fat since the tour guides feed them cans of mackerel and other goodies. One also saw goats and cows in the fields on the island. Yet the most unique site was the marae, or ancient Polynesian temple. It contained the usual stone walls and upright stone structure, over 200 in number. But the main building made of bamboo has also been re-constructed and houses a small museum about the life of the ancient Polynesian peoples. The ruins are near some ancient stone fish traps another evidence of life among the original peoples who most likely arrived here on canoes from Southeast Asia. Jim also saw the above-mentioned sights, but he was on a longer tour which also included a snorkel stop and Polynesian foods lunch on a motu, or small island. The foods included both raw and cooked tuna, tropical fruits such as papaya, breadfruit and mango, and as much rum-punch as anyone could drink. Such beach lunches are very popular with tourists and provided a wonderful ending to the special French Polynesian trip. Tomorrow we fly back to Los Angeles, and then on the following day will return to Philadelphia.-Dan
Sunday, April 10, 2016
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
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Bora Bora is my favorite island of the trip, not only because it is so beautiful. My best underwater photos of the trip are from my two dives in Bora Bora. Maybe it's because my skills improved over the course of the trip, but I feel like the most beautiful fish, corals and overall underwater environment was in Bora Bora.
Friday, April 8, 2016
As in the Caribbean, there seem to be two general types of islands in French Polynesia: long, flat coral atolls like Rangiroa, and mountainous volcanic islands like Moorea and Bora Bora. On Thursday we arrived in Bora Bora, which has a unique mountainous profile all its own. Since there was another cruise ship in port, shore excursions sold out early and we did not book anything through the ship for our first day in Bora Bora, Instead, we hired a motorboat with captain for a couple of hours. Our captain, a relocated Frenchman named Terry, is an old salt scuba diver who was very nice and took us wherever we wanted to go. I wanted too do some snorkeling so Terry took us outside of the reef where we spotted black tipped fin and lemon sharks. They we went inside the lagoon for some snorkeling with a variety of smaller fish. Dan wanted to go swimming at a beach so we finished up our time with Terry at a beautiful relatively secluded beach for a dip in the bathwater warm, crystal clear turquoise waters. Then it was back to the ship for cocktails and dinner.