Friday, July 31, 2020

Crossing Over to Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Probably the most celebrated island in the South Pacific, Bora Bora has unrivaled beauty and fame.  We stay out on deck and watch the 27 km (17 mile) trip from Taha'a, admiring the houses and villages carved out of the jungle with their own small beaches on the shores of flower-shaped Taha'a.

 Travelling around Taha'a

 Houses and villages

 Bora Bora in the distance

As we leave Taha'a and cross the channel to Bora Bora, we carefully follow the narrow path though the thick coral reef between the islands.

 Stay in the channel!

The sun sets as we approach Bora Bora, giving us a spectacular view of the famous twin peaks of Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu.

 Approaching Bora Bora

And, in the morning, we wake up and there they are, the famous peaks!  We are now 230 km (143 miles) northwest of Pape'ete, where we started, and anchored in the lagoon across from the peaks.

 Morning view

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Beach Day at Motu Mahea, Taha'a, French Polynesia

Taha'a is a quiet, flower-shaped island with soft mountains, surrounded by tiny motus, very small reef islands formed by broken coral and sand, with beautiful white-sand beaches.  The hillsides of Taha'a are filled with vanilla farms and the vanilla scent is in the air.

We anchor and head over to one of the motu for a day of beach, barbecue, and relaxation.  We swim in the warm water (air and water temperature around 82°F/28°C), snorkel around the reefs, and make use of the kayaks and paddle boards.

 Arriving at Taha'a

Heading over to our own motu for the day




 In the water

All too soon, it is time to leave our little motu and return to the ship for the next stop in our adventure.

Leaving our motu behind

Friday, July 24, 2020

Raiatea, French Polynesia

Raiatea is the second largest of the Leeward Islands, after Tahiti, and shares its expansive lagoon and coral reef with the sister island of Taha'a.  Raiatea is believed to be the original birthplace of Polynesia and is known in legends as Hawaiki, "the homeland," from which the great Polynesian migration began, in which large double-hulled sailing canoes set out to colonize Hawaii and New Zealand.  Raiatea is also believed to be the final resting place of the spirits of these ancestors.

We pull into the port of Uturoa, which was originally settled by Polynesians from Southeast Asia and was visited by Captain Cook in the 18th century during his attempt to map the Pacific Ocean.

 Port of Uturoa

 Decorated with tropical flowers

 Street art

We walk through town to a beach where we can swim in the Pacific, enjoying the beautiful scenery and the tropical waters
 Our ship at the port

 Walking along the shore

Raiata is considered the charter capital of French Polynesia as many of the charter companies are based here.  We walk by the ships waiting for their next trip

 Charter me!

Soon, we reach the beach and plunge into the water for an hour or two of swimming in the almost-body-temperature water, surrounded by locals having a great time.

 At the beach

Soon, it is time to head back and we walk back along the sea.

 Back along the water

 Chicken (poulet rĂ´ti) and pizza stands on the way

 Reentering town

We're in for a treat tonight as the crew prepares and serves an on-deck barbecue and we line up and dig in.

 On-deck barbecue

 And, we have a birthday!

As the day winds down, the sun sets, and we prepare to spend the night and sail in the morning to our next destination, Motu Mahaea, Taha'a.

And, the sun sets