Part 2, Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia…Excellent Island Tour…

The waterfall in the park in Tahiti, a popular tourist attraction.

We didn’t get off the ship yesterday. Busy visiting with other passengers we were late getting finished with the post. By the time the photos finally uploaded due to a poor connection while in port, it was too late to go ashore and get back in time for the 4:30 pm sailing.

The embankment is protected by wire mesh and chains to keep the rocks from falling onto the roadway. The only other places we’ve seen this was in Madeira, Portugal, and Maui.

Again today with many passengers stopping to chat with us here in the Schooner Bar, we’ll be late posting. We apologize for today’s late post.

We passed through a few tunnels during the tour of the island of Tahiti.

When passengers tour with taxis on their own, the ship won’t wait to depart if there is an unforeseen delay, such as a flat tire, running out of gas, etc. Also, in reading online at TripAdvisor and other sites, there was a degree of unreliability expressed over taxi service in Bora Bora. 

On the last road to the waterfall area, numerous dogs were on the road, many asleep in the way of passing cars.

In an effort to maintain our low-stress travel philosophy, we stayed behind. That’s not to say staying behind wasn’t wonderful. It was. We hung out at the pool with our new friends from the US, Pat, and Charles from Missouri, and thoroughly enjoyed the time together.

Notice the plants inside the painted old tires.  We noticed these in several spots along the highway in Tahiti. It was raining while I shot this photo through the windshield.

After seeing Bora Bora and those adorable bungalows over the water, we’ve decided someday to return and perhaps stay for a month. We’ve found there are other less expensive options for those appealing bungalows which we’d love to experience.

Gnarly Banyan tree.

Taking tons of photos of Bora Bora from the ship, we were satisfied with our decision. Many passengers, particularly more seasoned travelers such as us, don’t get off at every port. We get off the ship when it calls to us which is more times than not.  So far, we’ve only missed one port of call.

A woman selling fruit at the waterfall park.

As the ship continues out to sea until arriving in Fiji on Saturday, June 6th, we’re extraordinarily content with plenty to do to keep us busy. Between hanging out with other passengers, attending seminars, movies, and a variety of entertainment venues, lounging by the pool, working out (for me), dining twice a day, we don’t have a moment of time to become bored or even read a book.

Bamboo growing along the pebble path.

On some days, we actually have to rush to dress for dinner. Tonight is another formal night, which is always tricky for us when many men dress in tuxedos and women in ball gowns. But, somehow we dig through our clothes to find clothes that don’t seem too casual or out of place.

During our walk through the park, we stopped to admire the scenery.

After all, we have no room or interest in such fanfare as we did when we went on our first few cruises with the proper attire on hand. Now down to so few pieces of luggage, we barely have room for a single more dressy item. Luckily, I’d purchased the few items in Princeville which aren’t dressy, although “casual dressy,” if there is such a thing.

Giant rocks in the creek.

Tom has one long sleeve white dress shirt with black pants which we hope will fit him tonight. He’s actually not eaten much on this cruise, keeping the gluten and sugar consumption under control, mostly due to his dislike of some of the options.

Boulders in the creek.

The accommodations for my meals have continued to my satisfaction at both meals surprising me at times as to the good flavor and consideration that has been exercised to comply with my restrictive diet. 

A path in the park-like area of the waterfall.

The kindly pastry chef had offered to be creative and make some type of custard type desserts for me using eggs and cream. I graciously declined his offer. He wouldn’t have used my preferred chemical-free liquid sweetener (purchased online) which deterred my interest. 

A footbridge over the brook.

We’re being mindful of constantly washing our hands and using sanitizer. So far, we’ve heard no mention of Norovirus or respiratory illness onboard which is often prevalent on cruises. 

Beautiful greenery in the park area.

Yesterday morning at breakfast we were seated at a table next to a woman mentioning she was coming down with a cough and sore throat. Again, as graciously as possible, profusely apologizing and asking her not to be offended, we arose.

Musician playing at the waterfall area.

Sure, it was awkward to have to do so. But, getting sick would be very frustrating and we have no desire to take such a risk. We still have nine more days on this cruise and having the opportunity to continue to enjoy ourselves each day as we have thus far, is truly a gift.

The babbling brook.

As we’re sitting in the Schooner Bar at the moment in our quiet comfortable corner, it’s already almost 3:00 pm. The days fly by leaving us with a bucket load of great memories and friends from all over Australia, several of whom have invited us to come to stay at their homes, genuinely making such an offer that astounds us.

Another view of the babbling brook at the site of the waterfall.

Of course, we’d never actually stay in their homes, as much as we appreciate the offers. We’ve always preferred to find our own accommodations without imposing upon others. 

Our friend Jeff sipping on a fresh coconut. Benjamin, our driver is in the background in the red and white shirt.

Today, we share more photos of our tour in Tahiti, and tomorrow, well, there are great shots of Bora Bora. We worried we’d run out of stories and photos on such a long cruise although, at this point, we doubt this will transpire with much more awaiting us.

Have a terrific Tuesday. We’ll be back!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, June 2, 2014:

On this date one year ago, the locals from the Catholic church visited the homes in Campanario to sing and share the Day of Ascension. Entering our house, they continued with their lovely music while we praised them for a job well done, offering a donation at the end.  For more details from that day, please click here.

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.