Yesterday afternoon, while I was at the Photographers’ workshop, Lyn and a few of our group joined an organized tour to a Pearl Farm. It was a good thing Lyn forgot to take her wallet as the pearls were also for sale. We had had problems with our credit card in Papeete as we had forgotten to advise our bank that we would be overseas for a few days and to allow charges from overseas to our card. It is a good thing we get on well with our Bank Manager in Yarra Junction.
It was organized for us to go to a smaller restaurant for the evening meal for Lyn’s birthday party. Of course, the meal was another ‘over-the-top’ affair but enjoyable. To say “No” to the desserts is very hard so we all obliged with the waiter’s suggestion. Almost all the waiters and room service persons are Filipino and they do a very acceptable job.
In the afternoon, the children and youth of Raiatea put on a traditional dance show. The youngest was 6. And then in the evening, the older Tahitians performed for us. Colorful headpieces, wobbling hips,and yes, James, boobs in coconut shells. (I bet James is the first to ask to see the video). Truly a great performance.
This morning, Lyn and I were up on the top deck for 5:45am to enjoy the tropical sunrise. It did not disappoint us. Breakfast on the deck at 7:00am and then Lyn enjoyed a 90 minute massage which the ship gave her a discount on being her 60th birthday. Lots of other good gifts came to her, including a lovely picture book of Lyn’s group tours that Lorraine had been on with her – it brought a tear to the eye.
At 11:00am we went over to an island that the shipping company owns for ‘a day at the beach’ – delightfully warm water and full sun all day. For lunch, we had a BBQ. Now we are showered and ready for the evening activities. I have another photographers’ workshop before dinner at 7:00pm followed by another evening of entertainment.
This cruise is by no means rushed; so relaxing with hardly any travelling. Each day, the ship is anchored and you are given at least 5 options to enjoy. Last night was spent in port at Raiatea, and we moved for 90 minutes to the island of Taha’a. Taha’a is enclosed within the same barrier reef as Raiatea. Only 4,470 inhabitants live tranquil lives, fishing and raising livestock. Taha’a is often called the “Vanilla Island”, for its numerous plantations of “black gold”. The main tourist attractions is the string of beautiful motus (islands) along the northern reef edge. In 1822, the first missionaries arrived in Taha’a, at which time the island came under French control.
While we were at Motu Mahana today we enjoyed a Grilled Buffet Barbecue Lunch, snorkeling, Local Mamas and Papas selling their trinkets, souvenires and local vanilla. The young Tahitian girls showed us how to tie on pareos or sarongs, and also how to paint on the fabric for a pareo.
Yes, we are still enjoying this great cruise – save up and come join us next year about the same.