Edit Blog Post
Published: January 29th 2010
Map of the islands of Tahiti.
Tahiti is largest of the 115 islands and atolls that comprise French Polynesia. Tahiti is really two islands in one. Tahiti-Nui, or “big Tahiti”, is completely encircled by a road along the shore. This road joins the big island with the small island, Tahiti-Iti, or “little Tahiti, but the smaller island is only partially accessible by road.
Tahiti visitors expecting to see grass huts, female natives wearing pareus (single piece cloth wraps done in various ways) and the sound of drums are surprised to see the modern city of Papeete. The capital is a busy trading center and is the distribution hub to many of the other islands. Papeete was founded by whalers in 1818.
The word Papeete means “water well”, which was the traditional method of gathering water. Europeans did not visit Tahiti until 1767 when English navigator Wallis landed to claim possession on behalf of King George III. Frenchman Louis Antoine de Bougainville almost simultaneously, and a few years later, in 1769, Captain James Cook arrived for the first time. In 1842, the land was ceded to France. Today, the country remains as a self-governing French region. Besides Captain Cook on Endeavour, William Bligh on the Bounty
came to the island. Moby Dick author Herman Melville and artist Paul Gauguin were greeted by the soaring site of magnificent Tahiti.
We decided rather than take a tour of the island, which we did last year. We walked around downtown Papeete and went to the outdoor market. We revisited the Notre Dame Cathedral built in 1875, where a copy of a Rubens painting graces the wall. We bought a very pretty fresh flower arrangement at the market that we took back to the ship and are enjoying in our suite. We also stopped at a sporting goods type store and purchased some new snorkeling slippers that come in handy for walking on the beach and rocky shores.
We went back to the ship for lunch, where we were met by local musicians entertaining folks on the dock. At 1:30 we were signed up for a snorkeling excursion. We were in one of the two snorkeling boats that went around the island past the airport and anchored. They provided masks and snorkels. The current was a bit fast so at times it made the snorkeling more challenging without fins. There was a small Cessna-type, single engine plane and
This shows part of the reef that surrounds the island.
a couple of boat hulls that had been sunken near our site, so we got to see them on the bottom…about 20-30 feet deep. Lots of great tropical fish in this area. After about 90 minutes we picked up anchor and went to another location that was very shallow…2-3 feet with some coral to look at much closer. Not many fish in this area. There were also several huts that people could tie their boats to. After about 30 minutes we returned to pier.
This evening we were provided a fabulous Tahitian Island barbeque under the Polynesian sky on the Pool Deck. We were fortunately seated at a table under the walking track on Deck 12 because the Polynesian sky let loose with a few sprinkles. But, a good time was had by all!
WHEN LEAVING COMMENTS, PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME…THANKS.
Tot: 0.138s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 13; qc: 61; dbt: 0.1014s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.1mb