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Published: February 9th 2017
Christmas Island, Bora Bora and Papeete 6th & 7th February
It's 5 whole sea days till were to reach Tahiti, so it was a bonus to see a bit of land in the shape of Christmas Island.
A cruise by this island which is the first to celebrate the New Year and was the the island used by Britain to test the H bomb.
Still poor weather as we head south to Tahiti and hoping we can get in as last year we couldn't get into the lagoon because of high winds.
Well on the morning of the 6th we sailed to our anchorage (past 2 other cruise ships) to our first destination of Bora Bora.
Said to be the inspiration of Bali Hai from Rogers & Hammersteins South Pacific, this gem, we hoped after last year was going to be great to explore.
Well, Bali Hai was Bali wet!!!
From when the first tender left the ship the heavens opened with thunder and lightning echoing around the bay.
We had planned to go to the village of Viatape and shuttle to another village,
Matira where there are tourist outlets, restaurants and hotels.
This is where you can also take boat rides around the island and to the smaller islands (motus) which have VERY exclusive resorts. Some passengers very early had decided not to get off the ship!!!
We were looking forward to at least setting foot on dry land (I use the term 'dry' very loosely).
By late morning when the rush to get to the tenders was easing, we thought the rain was easing we ventured out.
All I can say when we got off in Viatape it looked like a war zone.
Bora Bora has a population of about 9000, three cruise ships disembark say 4000 passengers at one small dock and the result is chaos.
The locals are vieing for every dollar they can out of us.
It's been so wet, there are rivers running off the Tarmac road, no pavements so the sand was turning to mush!!!
The shuttles to Matira were rammed and whilst only taking a few minutes were so wet inside wasn't going to be enjoyable.
Still, we did manage to look at the church in Viatape,
and just as well because the heavens opened as we got in. Only one other couple were inside, the noise on the corrugated roof was like thunder, and coupled with the lightning was quite spectacular.
It is lovely church with a beautiful stain glass window, very basic but looks well attended.
So a bit of a letdown, the journey back to the ship was wet, the afternoon was wet and most people who came back on board were wet.
The positive is, that we did set foot on Bora Bora and those people who had gone snorkelling or swimming enjoyed themselves.
One of the other ships was full of Americans - can't they moan!!!
Sailaway was with a glass of champagne from our champagne breakfast.
Today couldn't have been different, sailing in through the harbour entrance in warm (very humid) sunshine.
It was going to warm (up to 31 C) and as I have said very humid.
There were plenty of trips on offer, but we missed out on exploring the town last year so we got off early before the heat
There were two other cruise ships in, one British but one American so watch out for the moaners.
Papeete is the vibrant capital of Tahiti, there are some interesting historical buildings which can be found best when walking round.
The walk first takes you along the boulevard Pomare, where some pretty expensive yachts can be seen but it also a starting point for sailing tours.
Further round the bay is the ferry terminal for Moorea, a volcanic island which has white beaches and some restored temples.
Along the boulevard there are numerous outrigger racing canoes drawn up on the beach, the park has great facilities for families and is well used by the locals.
At the end is the Papeete Cultural centres and across the road the Protestant Temple.
Just next to the temple is the Black Pearl Museum, a welcome haven (it had air conditioning).
The museum has a complete history of pearls, from farming to point of sale. It includes videos, displays and collections of pearls from some of the leading jewellers on Tahiti.
So it was a fascinating interlude.
Walking back towards town
Rude not to!!!
trying to keep away from the traffic noise there is the Catholic cathedral, Tahitis oldest church with paintings of the crucifixion with Polynesian faces feature.
Bougainville Park is close to the harbour named after the French explorer who claimed Tahiti in 1768. The two cannons that flank his statue are from a German raider and a French gunboat both sunk in 1917.
Interestingly the Gaugin museum is still closed for repairs (it was last year as well) with no date to reopen it. Lack of funds.
So our last port of call before we disembark in Auckland, suffice to say the weather has not been kind to us at sea.
I'm writing this the day after leaving Papeete and our erstwhile Captain came on this morning to say we are heading into a low depression that could see 'some movement around the ship'.
That'll be the passengers reaching for the sick bags again!!!
Looking forward to 3 weeks on the North Island and catching up with John & Heather Hopefully wifi will be good to get some blogs of around NZ, our first base will be Paihia in
the Bay of Islands
Cheers for now Al & Lin
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