Part 2…Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia…A tour at sea…

A scenic view during our visit to Moorea.

Let’s face it. We’ve seen a lot of islands, most volcanic, some less so, some stunning, others with similarities we’ve seen on past cruises and in our travels. Getting off the ship at every port is less important to us than some others who are on vacation/holiday.

This is the interior of the lifeboat which tendered us to the pier in Moorea.

For us, we happen to be living on a ship for 18 days, using it as a means of transportation, as we’ve always had, and sightseeing is not on our radar every day in our travels.

Huts above the water.

As I write this we’re sitting in the cool and comfortable Schooner Bar on deck four with air conditioning, comfy chairs, and a nice little table onto which I can set the laptop as I write.

More huts above the water often for rent for higher prices than a regular hotel rooms

After we’ve uploaded today’s post, we’ll be going ashore to grab a taxi to take us to see some sites and take photos to post here tomorrow. 

Mountain scenes in every direction.

We’re in Papeete, Tahiti. As much as one thinks of Tahiti as girls dancing in hula skirts, palm trees, and icy drinks, when we look outside, we see only a city with tall buildings, traffic, noise, and smog. Surely, a drive away from the city one would easily find that the tropical image we have in our mind exists.

When most tourists visiting a destination such as Tahiti, they grab a taxi or shuttle to take them to their tropical resort which most likely will be a paradise-like environment of all that bespeaks tropical vacation. Only leaving the resort for tours and dining, its an entirely different experience than for our way of life.

Another boat passing us as the sky darkened and it began to rain.

In any case, we’re loving this cruise for the people and the friendships we continue to build each day at breakfast, dinner, and the other venues around the ship.  How we got so lucky, we’ll never know. But, we continue to revel in our surroundings on all terms and during all conditions.

Tom is seated at a table a few tables over from me with a favorite couple we’ve met, Renee and Jeff, older than us, more fun than one can imagine. 

The boat stopped to pick up debris floating in the ocean.

After the game and my uploading today’s post, the four of us are heading out to take a taxi to see the sites for an hour or two. I have to stay away from their table while they play due to my open computer which may broadcast to the other players that potentially we could “cheat” looking up answers online. Of course, we’d never do such a thing but, we certainly understand the possible perception.

Huts built into the hill with a sandy beach below.

Last night, we avoided the show after another fabulous dinner with new people we met at a shared time and again this morning at breakfast meeting another lovely couple. We were almost the last of the diners to exit the dining room.

Lots of parasailing.

Today, we’re completing the posting photos from yesterday’s boat tour in Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia. We were able to take a good video of spinner dolphins but, when I attempted to upload it to YouTube, the timer stated it would take 2462 hours to finish.  We may post it on a future date when we have a stronger signal. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos from today’s tour of Papeete, Tahiti.

Finally, we were back on the ship.

As of today, we’ve been on the ship for one week. With many days remaining and the level of enjoyment, we’re experiencing this may go down as one of our favorite cruises for the social element. As for the ports of call, they are proving to be similar to many other ports we seen to date and more we’ll see in the future.

A close-up view of a hut over the water.

Have a restful Sunday. We’ll excitedly be back tomorrow.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, May 31, 2014:

Tom was relaxed in Madeira while we were out to dinner in Ribeira Brava, the closest village to Campanario where we lived for two and a half months. For details from that post, please click here.

Part 1…Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia…A tour at sea…

Vacation/holiday huts set into the side of the mountain

With few tour options that appealed to us on the island of Moorea, located in the chain of islands, Society Islands, which is a part of French Polynesia, we opted for the Eco Tour on a three hour boat ride that was intended to tour around the entire island.

The ticket we purchased for the tour.

Unfortunately, a giant wave/swell was expected to hit the north and west sides of the island later in the day today and our eco tour guide, Terry, informed us that we’d need to stay away from that side of the island.

View of the shore from the boat.

However, once we got going, somehow we ended up on the west side. The waves were huge and the boat with only 11 of us passengers and two crew rode the waves quite well, although we bounced about considerably throughout the “three-hour tour.” This boat ride would not have been suitable for the seasick prone.

The pier where passengers exited the tender boats to go ashore.

Tom wrote about the three-hour tour on his Facebook as we’re sitting in the Schooner Bar at the present and one of his FB friends commented, “You know what happened in the last three-hour tour?” (Gilligan’s Island). We sure laughed out loud over that comment.

Most of the homes in Moorea are located along the water, although some appear to be located in the mountainside.

Waves and swells aside, the hard pounding boat tour made taking photos very tricky when it was nearly impossible to hold the camera steady. 

The cost of the tour was listed at $129 per person which we booked yesterday morning. Later in the day, Tom had heard another passenger at the “Shed” guy’s get together, that he had received a 10% discount card left in his cabin earlier in the day. We hadn’t received such a coupon.

More homes along the coast.

With a bit of pressure exercised by Tom at the tour excursions desk, he was able to convince the rep that we should be entitled to the 10% discount as well. As a result, our cost for both of us was down to about $235 making it slightly more palatable.

The greenery in the hills reminded us of Kauai.

With the high cost of extras aboard ship, we continue to watch our budget being highly selective as to what we charge for our onboard account. Preferably, we can go on tours we arrange on our own or with other guests at a considerably lower cost than those offered on the ship. However, this particular cruise’s ports of call appear to have certain safety risks in one going out on their own. 

Moorea, like most islands, were created by volcanic eruptions.

Plus, if we choose a private charter tour, if there’s a breakdown, flat tire or it runs out of gas, we could conceivably not make it back to the ship on time. The ship won’t wait. However, if we’re on a ship sponsored tour, the ship will wait. 

A fisherman headed out fishing.

We can only imagine how difficult and stressful it would be to miss the ship, having left passports, money, and digital equipment on the ship. I can’t imagine this is a risk we want to take in countries that may have had a few less reliable private tours.

House along the shore.

We made it back to the ship on the “tender” which in this case, is the ship using its lifeboats to ferry passengers back and forth to the pier when there’s no port large enough to accommodate the ship’s massive size. Using a tender has been the case in about half of the ports of call we visited on our previous 10 cruises, this being the 11th. This doesn’t bother us at all.

The huts for rent along the shoreline in Moorea.

As for last night, we attended a fabulous comedy show in the main theatre enjoying every moment after another engaging dinner in the Romeo and Juliet dining room. At this point, we can honestly say that every meal we’ve had in the dining room has been delightful. Again, the Aussies, are a fun lot of people.

Terry, our marine biologist had a sense of humor and was a good teacher.

This morning, we had to be ready to board the tender by 8:15 which required an early breakfast. We made it in plenty of time, each having a light meal to avoid feeling too full. The food continues to be acceptable for me with the special accommodations the restaurant staff is providing.

Tomorrow will be one full week we’ve been on the ship with 11 more days until we arrive in Sydney. The time isn’t moving too quickly that it’s getting away from us. We’re absorbing and relishing in every moment, living one precious day at a time, never for a moment forgetting how grateful we are for these experiences, never for a moment, taking any part of our lives for granted.

These huts are located in the ocean which is very popular with tourists.

We’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2, Moorea, Society Islands, and some facts about the island and again, we’ll be getting off the ship to tour the next port of call, Tahiti. Gosh, this is such fun!

It’s Saturday night! Have a good one!

                                                    Photo from one year ago today, May 30, 2014:

A weather phenomenon in Madeira grabbed our attention as dense could be rolled into the island created an interesting scene of the village and mountains.  For more details. a video and photos, please click here.