Thursday, 26th December 2007 - Tahiti
At last we have arrived at our destination as well as,
perhaps, our destiny. We had taken down all sails and were awaiting the Tahitian boat pilot to come on board to guide us to
our mooring on Moorea. I understand that this pilot would stay on board for 3
weeks educating our Captain about these waters; the Captain would have to take a written examination also. Apparently, Star Flyer is going to stay in the South Pacific for 4 years under agreement with the French Polynesia and already the first two years have been sold out.
We now made our way to Cook’s Bay on Moorea. We motored along with the pilot giving orders to steer the ship to the Bay through
a small break in the reef. I had to reorient my mind about buoys since here the red marker is on the left. The passage through the reef was not very large and we could see that not far away from the ship was the
reef with small waves rushing up on the coral. This is the bay where the movie South Pacific was made. As we sailed in during
the afternoon the clouds hung around the green mountain peaks. We dropped anchor
and settled into this pristine bay. Houses doted the shore. Seen in the bright sunlight.
This was an unscheduled stop for us giving us a chance to visit Moorea, We
were taken to shore by our tender thus setting foot on solid ground for the first time in over 20 days at sea. A group of
us walked a mile or so down the road to an original hotel for a beer. We could see our ship in the bay beautifully set against
the dark green mountainside. The sun was going down now giving a wonderful glow across
the mountain top and through the puffy white clouts. We reluctantly returned to our ship for dinner and packing up since tomorrow
we would leave. The next morning we were off early to catch the ferry to Papeete.
Bob went of to rent a car. Meanwhile our luggage came
off the ship in large containers right into the midst of clamoring passengers all attempting to get their own luggage from
somewhere in the pile. So, a friend and I took charge and unloaded the luggage into rows for folks to claim them. We found
all of our luggage but now a new threat occurred, that of an impending rain storm. Fortunately, Bob returned with the car,
just in time. However, now we had a new challenge, how to get four people and
all the luggage into a very small care. Well, with some real packing we managed to get it all in. Well, what does it matter
that there is a big suitcase in the middle of the back seat and each of the passengers holding a smaller piece of luggage.
Well, I was in front and decided to put my piece on the floor and bend my legs over the top. Well, I can tell you that after
60 kilometers it was difficult to move getting out of the care. We found our
bungalows on the north shore of Tahiti
Iti. There were great and right on the water so Bob and I quickly took advantage and went for
a swim diving off the sea wall into wonderful and very clear ocean water. We
It was early in the day so we needed some lunch so off to the local store to buy some bread, cheese, and fruit then we stopped and bought
a rotisserie chicken. Now we returned to our bungalow for a feast.
The neighborhood was made up of houses along the shore
and, of curse, a church just down the road. The roads were good but driveways small. Everywhere was tropical greenery. The
shore was not too wide since the mountain went abruptly up not from the sea. Well after all these islands originated from
volcanoes coming up from the ocean floor. We were to find later that driving along there were many water falls coming down
the mountainside forming a glistening silver stripe among the dark green.
Friday 28th December 2007 - Tahiti
After a great breakfast then headed off to the Gauguin
museum since it was raining. While there were only a few of his paintings there, a portrait of his life was well described.
He was a man with a mixed blood background coming from Europe and Peru.
His early years were formed through sailing to the South Pacific and thus, I suspect, always a draw for him. Though he worked
at several different jobs, married and with family, his passion was characterizing people and their life’s condition
through painting. Like many, if not most, famous painters he did not really make a living from his paintings until late in
life. In fact, he obtained a grant to go to the South Pacific islands to sketch then paint his subjects. He deplored the modernization
of the islanders and depicted them with a view into their former and simpler culture. He died in the South Pacific at the
young age of 55. The museum is not large but worth a visit.
Before returning to our bungalow we explored the south
side of Tahiti Iti where international surfing is done, but this time there were no waves.
We walked up a very green valley to an orchard of coconut grove with small water falls coming from the steep mountainsides. Everywhere we looked there were colorful flowers just begging to be photographed.
Now we set off to explore the other road on Tahiti Iti. Everywhere we went there seemed to be
church about every 5 kilometers yes, the missionaries have been here for a long time. The whole shoreline seems to
be continuous houses except for designated parks; there is a sea wall build along where the houses are and since there is
no tidal movement here the sea does not rise or fall and there is protection from large ocean currents and waves by the reef.
Upon return Bob and I took another nice swim in the bay
right before our bungalow. We took dinner at our B&B host patio but not before we found out how really hard it could rain
– wow. Bob mentioned that in 10 minutes more rain fell there than all year in Southern California
desert. Our dinner was fantastic, cooked fresh fish like you have never seen before.
Well, the owner’s son is a fisherman so we had an advantage. We ate very well starting with some very fresh raw
fish with a great sauce then ending the meal with nice fresh pineapple.
Saturday, 29th December 2007 - Tahiti
Our leisurely morning consisted of a swim then breakfast
of good coffee, baguette, cheese, and jam plus an interesting Dragon fruit which is dark red with some small seeds. The taste
of this odd fruit was very good, slightly sweet and soft texture. From the outside it was pink and looked like a large pointed
ball you could hold in your hand. The sky today was overcast with only occasional
light rain and a good day to take a tour along the north coast.
Our first objective of the day was to stroll in the botanical
gardens that has some very interesting flowers and trees. One of the trees had ribbon type roots that came out from the bottom
of the trunk curving down to the ground and water. Out next venture was the north
side of Tahiti Nui where we stopped at a blow hole then hiked into each of three large water falls. We kept on going around
that road looking for the Hall house which was closed but we did find a road to some definite extraordinary homes of the million
Now we returned to our B&B where after a great swim
we sat down to a fantastic tasting raw fish dinner. Each of the several fish had a different sauce that was unique and flavorful. These sauces were made by the wife of the owner, the recipe to be forever secret.
Again we watched a rain story come and go, well this is the rainy season. The rain and clouds kept the very hot sun at bay
and the cool breeze made our travels comfortable.
Our bungalow was very nice with hot water and small refrigerator.
At night we kept the sliding doors to the sea open so we could hear the roar of the waves on the reef. Fortunately, there
were very few mosquitoes; we slept well.
Sunday, 30th December 2007 - Tahiti
Up and to breakfast of the good coffee and bread with
cheese, jam, and butter. We packed up, and I do mean we packed the car so you could not fit even a mouse in it, then we were off to the airport luggage storage area. Of course finding that was only a small
challenge. The objectives today were the Tahiti Museum then visit down town Pipette. We know approximately where the museum was at from
our wonderful Avis cartoon map, well accuracy does not count. We had to stop
and ask some young boys on bikes where to find the Museum; sop, in my best struggling French we asked. The boys gladly responded
and we were to follow them down the road where, sure enough, there was the museum. The
museum is not big but the displays were great and told a most complete story of Tahiti, geology
and El Nino included. It seems that the South Pacific islands were a haven for famous writers like H. Melville and R. L. Stevenson,
among many others. The native migrations and movements are legendaryl
Now to down town, but being a couple of days before New
Years, Sunday, and midday there was nothing open and I mean nothing. There was a Princess cruise ship in port waiting for
here passengers and our Star Flyer waiting for her passengers. We finally went
to the Sheraton Hotel for something to eat then parked along the wharf to watch the rain storm come in. First is was very quiet and the water very still when all of a sudden the wind began to blow the bay into
a froth of white caps, then came the rain with a vengeance. So off to the airport to await our midnight flight to Isle de
Pascua, Easter Island.
At 00:30 we were off on our next leg of our journey.