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

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