French Polynesia Days 6 and 7


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Oceania » French Polynesia » Raiatea
January 12th 2014
Published: January 13th 2014
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Saturday, December 14, 2013. Another day at sea.

In the morning Dee Dee and I drop by a culinary demonstration by the executive chef, who, as it turns out, is a bit of a stand-up comic. This is especially promising because we’re going to the chef’s dinner on the 16th when we’re docked in Bora Bora. Now we’re looking forward to it even more.

In the afternoon we have wine tasting. Dee Dee tries the reds and I sip the whites. The after-dinner desert wine is especially yummy and I get mine and hers.

In the evening I listen to a jazz ensemble. Really really good musicians. But I don’t make it down for the show which Dee Dee tells me later was a lot of fun. Oh well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013. Seeing double.

It’s a surprise to open the cabin drapes and find we are docked at a pier lined with huts and buildings. I rush through breakfast anxious to get on shore. My day starts off early with an island tour of Raiatea, a 105 square mile, lightly-inhabited island of 11,000 despite a bustling port city where most of them live. The island is one of two that share a lagoon and are surrounded by the same barrier reef. Tahaa is 56 square miles and has a population of about 5,000.

But I opt to tour Raiatea, which is, of course, beautiful. Lush and green. Thick with vegetation. The tour includes several stops to take photographs, a visit to a family-run pearl farm, and a stop at a marae which proves to be the most interesting and unexpected stop of all.

What appears to be a large church service suddenly erupts into native music, drums, guitar, a chorus. The building is open so the whole tour group heads over to check it out. On the stage girls in native dress dance to the beat of the drums. It really is fantastic. I wish we could watch all day but we’re running late so it’s back to the bus. I’m really drenched by the time I get back to the ship. It’s quite warm outside and the AC on the bus isn’t enough to balance the on and off into and out of the heat.

It’s lunch time when I get back then time for a nap before Dee Dee and
Pearl FarmerPearl FarmerPearl Farmer

This is where the magic happens. The technicians work the oysters to create black pearls.
I leave the ship to catch a very small 12-passenger boat for an evening cruise to see the sunset. As if we couldn’t see it from the cruise ship. But it is a nice view of the island we wouldn’t see otherwise. And besides the sunset we get a look at fish traps, flying fish, the harbor with its fleets of catamarans, and an ocean pearl farm.

Then back to the ship for dinner and an island dance review. Very fun.


Additional photos below
Photos: 37, Displayed: 23


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Fishing netsFishing nets
Fishing nets

Part of the farmer's back yard
Rolls of wireRolls of wire
Rolls of wire

I think these are used to protect the trees against the crabs, which are considered pests.
CoconutsCoconuts
Coconuts

Don't want to be standing beneath this if one falls
Back yard view at Tahi PerlesBack yard view at Tahi Perles
Back yard view at Tahi Perles

It really does seem idyllic.
ContrastsContrasts
Contrasts

Snapped from the bus window. Almost missed the junk heap. It must be impossible to rid the islands of the detritus of man.
Someone's supperSomeone's supper
Someone's supper

Fish hanging out to dry
Vanilla-bean green houseVanilla-bean green house
Vanilla-bean green house

It's actually used to protect the beans against the sun
ChurchChurch
Church

Built just steps from one of the most important of the ancient sacred maraes


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