Joined February 2018
  • Day34

    Feb 24 - LA to Toronto and HOME!

    February 24 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    All pictures have now been uploaded and captioned. Enjoy!!

    We landed in Los Angeles about 10:30 a.m. local time - two hours ahead of Tahiti time. The flight was quite smooth (Doug managed to sleep through much of it) and the landing was fine. Just one more flight to get through.

    Along with Felix and Leanne from Sudbury that we met in the lounge in Papeete - they were on the same flight to LA and will be on the same flight to Toronto - we wound our way through baggage retrieval, immigration, getting boarding passes, and then another round of security. We are now all hunkered down in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge for about 3 hours - easy, fast internet here. And the cookies are warm and rival those at Tim's. Well done, Air Canada.

    We are getting there!

    The flight to Toronto had some turbulence, but Doug handled it well. We landed about 11:30 p.m. We got through customs fast with our NEXUS cards. After getting our bags, we called Sky Park who were there in 3 minutes to pick us up. They had our car warmed up and waiting for us. We left Tahiti in 33 deg. C. weather. Had to add some layers to handle the 3 deg. C. weather! We were home by 1:00 a.m. and in bed by 1:30 a.m.

    And so, this adventure has come to an end - it was not our finest travel memory. At least I got to see New Zealand - it's a fascinating, scenic country with great people who continually display grit and determination in the face of adversity. French Polynesia is scenic and a haven for divers and snorkelers. We enjoyed getting a tan in the middle of winter! We hope that you have enjoyed being along for the ride and learning about the history, geography, culture, economy and traditions of New Zealand and French Polynesia.
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  • Day33

    Feb 23 - Heading home - finally

    February 23 in French Polynesia ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Noisy birds woke us up early this morning. We went for breakfast around 8:00 a.m. Going out for Sunday breakfast/brunch must be a big thing around here - the restaurant was very busy and there was a 3-piece band playing. The same cheeky bird was pecking away at unattended food.

    We lingered for 2 hours over breakfast, not because the food was fabulous, but because the weather was nice and because we have both memorized our suite. We are both just marking time until we leave for the airport at 8:00 p.m. Flight to Los Angeles is at 11:59 p.m.

    We did finally venture off the resort grounds on the shoelace express. Since the road rose steeply to our left, we went to our right. We are actually in a suburb of Papeete called Arue. There is one busy road that runs follows the shoreline with a sidewalk on either side. There are fences blocking virtually all view of the water along the way. We did find a public beach, complete with some nude sunbathing (my eyes may never recover from the assault). With nothing much to see and with the temperature rising to 35 deg C., we headed back to the comfort of air conditioning.

    Doug has watched boxing and soccer and is now watching golf, all in French. I've watched British crime drama shows on my phone. Now he's been reduced to watching CNN. Anything to keep our minds at least a little bit occupied.

    We had dinner right at 6:30 p.m. We have learned that the chicken Caesar salad is palatable and not prohibitively expensive, so we had that - same as last night. Turns out that every Sunday night there is salsa dancing here - while we ate, we got to watch some seriously good dancers - both men and women.

    The driver to take us to the airport arrived right on time. We were at the airport by 8:30 p.m. The airport is open, i.e., no enclosing walls, until you get past security so it was very hot and humid. I wished I still had my shorts on. Thankfully, our business class tickets allowed us to skirt the long, snaking line for checking passports.

    We eventually made our way to the business class lounge. Our plane got in about an hour late from Paris, so we didn't leave until almost 1:00 a.m. - that's way past my bedtime. Our seat pods reclined to the horizontal position, so we were quite comfortable for flight. When breakfast was being served, Doug and I both watched "The Bounty" on the entertainment system - it's the story of Captain Bligh and the mutiny on his ship The Bounty. Mel Gibson isn't hard to look at dressed in very few clothes on location in Tahiti. Must find the last hour of that movie sometime.
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  • Day32

    Feb 22 - Back in Papeete

    February 22 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    We were wakened far too early with the sound of tables and chairs being scraped across the floor in the restaurant area that is directly above us. Not good.

    We were among the first in that restaurant for breakfast - I wonder why. We are moored beside an interesting ship - it's half cruise ship and half cargo ship. It takes passengers as well as goods to the far outlying islands.

    We used up the last of our internet access after breakfast while we waited for our appointed 9:30 a.m. disembarkation time. We had to put our luggage outside our door last night so we just had our knapsacks to carry. Right on time, our transport man came to take us back to the Tahiti Pearl Resort where we were last weekend. Blessedly, our room was ready for us - it's a hot (33 deg. C) day with high humidity. We didn't relish the thought of sitting around in the non-air conditioned lobby for a few hours.

    The plan was to just have the room for one night which would mean that we would have to spend up to 8 hours in the lobby tomorrow because our airport pickup is at 8:00 p.m. Since the budget for this trip is already in tatters, we booked the room for another night so we can read/loll around in relative comfort until 8:00 p.m.

    We spent the day reading, having lunch (the restaurant service is still dreadful), walking on the beach, swimming in the ocean and paddling in the pool. More reading for Doug after that. I coaxed enough bandwidth from the internet here to be able to download a couple of videos to watch.

    We are heading back to the resort restaurant for dinner.
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  • Day31

    Feb 21 - Moreea - 2nd time

    February 21 in French Polynesia ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    It’s another hot, humid day here in the South Pacific - we are back at the island of Moreea (More-AY-ah) which was our stop last Sunday. We didn’t get off the ship that day. Doug slept from 7:00 p.m. last night until about 6:00 a.m. this morning, yes, that was drug-induced sleep. We had been sailing the whole time - the more he sleeps during sailing, the better. Although he wasn’t in perfect shape, we got through breakfast fine - I found another place to have breakfast on this ship - less crowded and much quieter than the other two venues. We took the first tender of the day at 8:30 a.m. into Papetoai, a little village on the edge of Opunohu Bay. Doug found a place under a tree and read for the next 3 hours.

    I went on another e-bike excursion, this one led by Sylvie. There were 4 of us in her care. After the bike orientation, we set out on the road that runs around the perimeter of the island. This one was well-paved and had lane markings, and to our delight, a dedicated bike lane. We pedalled on it for a while, and then, to my astonishment, we came to another paved road that heads inland. None of the other islands had a second road.

    Our first stop was to see the valley that we were standing in. Moreea, like most of the islands in French Polynesia, were created by volcanoes, so we were standing in what was 1.5 million years ago, the centre of a volcano. The island has 8 mountains - Mt. Rotui rose up behind us. It separates Opunohu Bay (where our ship is anchored) from Cook’s Bay. The soil in the valley is very fertile - the government owns the land and leases it out to farmers.

    Our next stop was at a pineapple plantation. Where Taha’a is the Vanilla Island, Moreea is the Pineapple Island. About 60% of the arable land is used for pineapples. A pineapple takes a year to develop and a plant will only produce for 3 cycles. All the pineapples produced are consumed on the island.

    Our next stop was at the Agricultural School - it’s school break week, so the school is closed, but it was a good place to rest - we were climbing up the side of a mountain by this point. The school is state-run - it would be the equivalent of our Grades 11 & 12. The school has about 220 students, of which about half board there. Here the students get an agricultural education in crop and livestock farming, horticulture, the cultivation process, and landscape design. They produce fresh fruit juices and jams which they sell in a little boutique when school is on. Students can go on and do a further 2 years of study, specializing in one particular aspect of the curriculum - hopefully, this leads to steady employment in a country where seemingly only sustenance jobs are available.

    Our next stop was at Marae Titiroa, an archeological and sacred site. Each clan would have had such a site - it would have been used for meetings, speeches, ceremonies, sacrifices (yes, some of them human) and rituals. While Sylvie guarded the bikes, we followed a path deep into the forest and eventually found another marae - this one with three levels on what would be the equivalent of an altar in a Catholic church.

    We kept on climbing up the side of the mountain (had the bike in Turbo mode by this point) until we finally reached Belvedere Lookout. At 720 feet (219 metres), it is Moorea’s highest point accessible by car or bicycle. We were rewarded for our cycling efforts with breathtaking views of both Opunohu and Cook’s bays, Mt. Rotui, and the surround green mountains and valleys.

    No need for electric assist on the way down. Whew!! Fast!! We stopped partway down to look at two stone archery platforms. Young men, just like in ancient Rome, showed off their prowess in various athletic events. The bow and arrow was a favourite event on this island.

    One more stop - to look at two giant banion trees. Like the coconut trees, these trees were very useful - their vines made great ropes and the inner bark was pounded and shaped to create cloth for the chieftains to wear.

    In total, we rode 11.5 miles/17.5 kms and learned about Moorea’s economy, history and geography, and maybe burned off a few calories. It was a good excursion.

    I rendezvoused with Doug on the pier and we jumped on the next tender. The water was quite choppy, but Doug made it back to the ship intact. We had a nice lunch on this, his 67th birthday. Today's buffet theme was Italian.

    it’s time to read. Doug is going to nap during the last sailing time - 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - then we will be back in Papeete and tied up at the pier. Dinner runs until 9:30 p.m., so we’ll dine late tonight.

    We got into port at 7:00 p.m. - good news, Doug was feeling fine. We are done with boats.

    We went to dinner - Doug’s birthday dinner. We hit the trifecta with the menu: escargot (which were fabulous) for the entree, prime rib for the main course, and ice cream for dessert. Perfect.

    The party people from the gay wedding were at dinner in full force - their theme for tonight was Disco Fever - lots of sequins, huge bejewelled glasses, tight jumpsuits and giant afro wigs. One night, they were all in white; another, all in sailor suits; another all in pirate get ups; another night in Kim Kardashian trashy glamour outfits. They must each have way more luggage than I do.

    The on-board band was playing in one of the lounges starting a few minutes after we finished eating, so we checked them out. They were playing oldies music so we both could sing along. We were the only people in the audience. The group of 5 musicians is from the Philippines - their harmonies were really, really good. Most of the wait staff are from the Philippines also. Angelo, our waiter, said that he works 7 months and then he gets 2 months off. I can only assume that the wages are far better than what can be found in the Philippines.

    Shortly after, there was a presentation of Polynesian music and dance by an award-winning group in the main lounge. It was an hour of high energy, colourful costumes, swinging hips and delightful music. What a nice end to a trying trip.
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  • Day30

    Feb 20 - Bora Bora - Day 2

    February 20 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

    We caught the first tender at 8:30 a.m. on another very warm and humid day. We went to Avis and picked up the electric car that we reserved yesterday - we rented it for 4 hours.. The car is a cross between a motorcycle (I sat in the back with my legs straddling Doug - so very ladylike) and a golf cart (4-wheel electric with two options - Go and Reverse). We climbed in (don’t rent one of these if you’ve had a hip replacement and you plan to sit in the back) and headed out on the one road on the island. We went southward so the water would be on our right. We passed Matira Beach where we had been yesterday - it is the ONLY public beach on Bora Bora. It was almost deserted - a far cry from yesterday when it was mobbed - all those people must have been from the huge Italian cruise ship that was sharing the lagoon with us. It sailed away last night.

    Our overall impression of Bora Bora is that it is rather rundown, tattered, untidy and tired-looking. The houses/huts are falling apart and there seems to be a rusting car carcass in every yard. Unless you are an ardent snorkeler or scuba diver, I wouldn’t recommend coming here.

    There is a ring of little islands that surround Bora Bora - they create the lagoon - rather like a moat around a castle. The big money around here is on those little islands or motus. There are very expensive hotels there - the huge wedding party group that has been on board are all over there at the wedding today - found out it’s two gay guys getting married after being together for 13 years. There are also 70 Mormons from Utah on board - they seem to all work for the same company. Polar opposites - party animals and NOT party animals.

    It took us about 1.25 hours to cruise around the island - the scenery is all the same - beach/shore to the right, small strip of cleared land to the left and then vegetation-covered steep cliffs. We saw huge machinery chipping away at the cliff in one spot, working to create more flat land. We also saw lots of tired-looking dogs who seem to have all been bred from the same pair. They all look alike.

    We stopped at the grocery store where we went yesterday - it was packed. I wonder if Thursday is the standard shopping day or if that’s the day the monthly social assistance cheques come through. We got ice cream bars and cookies. (This behaviour ends on Tuesday). Then we went through Viatape and back to Matira Beach. It was easy to find shade today. We paddled around in the water and then I read while Doug dozed - the medication that the doctor gave him makes him a little bit dopey. We eventually packed up and returned to town to hand in the keys. Our timing was great - the 12:45 p.m. tender was just coming in for pick up.

    We grabbed lunch on Deck 8 - each day at lunch, there is a different theme. We’ve had French, Greek, Polynesian and today was American. Mac and cheese and chicken fajitas and pecan pie were on the menu - we sampled them all. (This behviour too will end on Tuesday.) We are now hunkered down for the afternoon. There might be naps for both of us today.

    We set sail about 5:30 p.m. tonight. We’ll be ordering room service again so Doug can eat dinner while lounging around like Nero or Caesar. Sitting bolt upright while sailing makes him woozy. We arrive in Moreea about 8:00 a.m. tomorrow; we leave there about 5:00 p.m. and will dock back in Papeete around 7:30 p.m. That docking can’t come early enough for either of us. We would have both been happy to fly home right after we met back up again in Auckland. This trip has been a chore and this week in particular has been a huge trial for both of us.
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  • Day29

    Feb 19 - Bora Bora - first day

    February 19 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Today, we are anchored at the island of Bora Bora which was discovered by Captain Cook in 1769. We will be here until tomorrow evening. The name was originally Pora Pora, meaning “first born”. The island was supposed to be the first to emerge from the sea. Today, geological evidence supports this theory. The first inhabitants arrived in the 9th century. Many wars and battles dominated the island until the reign of Tapoa in the 18th century when finally, peace and order came to the island. Bora Bora got catapulted into the modern era during WWII. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, the U.S. Navy chose Bora Bora as a second logistical base in the Pacific Theatre. Bora Bora’s positioning and its sole pass entering and exiting the lagoon made it an ideal location for refuelling and re-provisioning. Operation Bobcat brought in 5,000 U.S. military service men. Cannons, still visible, were placed on the islands 4 corners. The island benefited greatly from the U.S. military presence - the road around the island, the airport runway and the commercial pier are major longterm infrastructure elements that resulted. A lot of babies came as a result of that U.S. presence also.

    After breakfast, we jumped on the first tender boat which took us into the little town of Vaitape. We found the Avis office and rented bicycles - the regular kind, not the electric kind. There is only one road on the island, so it’s hard to get lost. We headed out with the water on our right to Matira Beach. The ride took us about 25 minutes. The road is busy and it’s just barely two lanes wide with no lane markings - there are trucks, cars, scooters, bikes flying along it. I may have said a few nasty words along the way. Matira Beach is a long, beautiful, white sand beach on the very southern tip of Bora Bora. We did a couple of rounds of in the water, out of the water. There is precious little shade there and the hordes of other sun seekers had snagged nearly all the prime spots before we arrived. And we were there by 9:30 a.m. We lasted a couple of hours and headed back to town - we are trying really hard not to get fried. We found the grocery store and treated ourselves to ice cream bars. We cycled a bit farther north, and then headed back to Vaitape. We turned the bikes in and saw that a tender was loading. We decided we had had enough for one day so be clambered on board. We were able to get some real lunch - salad and more of the good cookies they make on this ship.

    Doug is happily ensconced in front of the TV watching US college basketball. I think it’s time for me to do some reading.
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  • Day28

    Feb 18 - Taha'a & Motu Mahana

    February 18 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    Today we arrived about 8:00 a.m. at Taha’a, known as the Vanilla Island. 75% of all the vanilla grown in French Polynesia comes from this small island and its population of just 5,000.

    Our plan had been to go on a Cultural Tour of the island. However, 5 minutes before we were scheduled to get on board the tender to go to the island, it was painfully obvious that Doug was circling the drain - again. We had set sail about 6:00 p.m. last night and by 7:00 p.m., just when he was in the middle of a good steak, he had to get to the cabin and lie down. He was still not right this morning - even the very gentle movement of the boat on open water is bothering his equilibrium and making him head achy.

    He went back to the cabin and I went on the tour. Now, it’s a really, really good thing that he did NOT go on the tour. Our mode of transport - a converted potato-carrying truck known as “Le Truck”. No shock absorbers - all sideways seats - hot - noisy. Yikes, Doug would have been loony - me too, for that matter.

    Off we went on the one and only road on the island - the road follows the shoreline. We stopped at a coconut planation where Maurice, our guide, told us about the importance of coconuts to the economy of the island. Coconuts are harvested and sold to the government who pay a hefty premium over going rates just so that people can continue to live on their native land. Coconuts are used for coconut oil (cosmetics), coconut meat (for baking and snacking), coconut milk (very trendy these days) and for serving fancy drinks in. The coconut tree leaves are used for making mats and room dividers and roofs for the little vacation bungalows that are very popular here. The husks are used for compost. The tree trunks are used for lumber. Nothing gets wasted.

    Next stop was a vanilla planation - one of 342 on the island. This plantation has 600 vanilla plants. Vanilla plants were imported from Mexico where the hummingbird does the pollination. No hummingbirds here and no other birds that are vaguely interested in the flower of the vanilla plant. So, during the one hour that the plant is open (usually 5-6 a.m.) each flower must be manually pollinated. Once pollinated, the flower sets a pod that looks like a big green bean. After 9 months, the bean is harvested. For one hour a day for three months, the pods are put in the sun to gradually reduce their water content. Then they are sorted into prime quality beans which can be sold “as is” or secondary quality beans (deformed, too skinny) which get ground up for powdered vanilla. See why pure vanilla costs so much???

    Our last stop was at a pearl farm. Here, Maurice showed us how each two-year old oyster has a round nucleus (made from the shells of Mississippi River crabs) inserted into its male sac along with a tiny bit of coloured nacre (mother of pearl). After 18-24 months, the nucleus has had many layers of nacre deposited on it, yielding a pearl - the colours range from dark green to grey to peacock coloured to almost black. Naturally, there was a huge selection of jewelry from which to choose. I have lovely white pearls that Doug gave me, so I waited patiently while others shopped.

    We climbed on a “beacher” - a covered flat bottom boat. After a 20-minute ride at about 12:15 p.m., it delivered us to Motu Mahana - Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private islet. There, to my delight, was Doug - enjoying the sunshine and good old terra firma - he had come over on the 10:15 a.m. beacher and had been happily reading since then. After I had abandoned him, he had consulted with the doctor who told him to just hang in there and keep taking the tablets he had given him. Doug figured his best strategy was to simply get OFF the boat.

    The motu was awash with activity - kayaking, beach volleyball, snorkelling, jet skiing, handicraft demonstrations and live music. The place had washrooms, beach chairs, covered picnic tables, a giant bar, a floating bar (right in the water) and a huge lunch/bbq centre. Doug and I both scarfed down salad, a hamburger and some brownies and cookies. That hit the spot. We swam for a while in the clear salty water and then tried our hand at kayaking (we stank) and then we just found some shade and read. Finally, a relaxing, enjoyable afternoon for both of us. We took one of the last shuttles back - we wanted to avoid the wedding party crowd who had been drinking (noisily) since 10:30 a.m. - they seemed determined to stay in the water with their drinks until the very last shuttle. We would have been deaf if we had had to share a beacher with them.

    We have just set sail for Bora Bora - it’s supposed to be the most beautiful of all the islands in French Polynesia. I think we are going to find another beach and repeat what we did this afternoon.

    Because we have found that Doug doesn't handle the motion of the boat while he is sitting bolt upright, we opted for room service for dinner. It was lovely - the food was hot and tasty and we were able to lounge around in the soft white housecoats provided. We'll be sailing during dinner time on Thursday and Friday - might be more room service performances!
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  • Day27

    Feb 17 - Island of Huahine

    February 17 in French Polynesia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We moored at the island of Huahine (pronounced wah HEE nee) about 8:00 a.m. this morning in Maroe Bay. Huahine consists of two islands - Huahine Nui (the big island) and Huahine Iti (the little island). I left Doug in bed, waiting for the doctor to visit, and had breakfast by myself beside the pool. it’s another blue sky/green hills/blue water day here in the Pacific Ocean.

    I took the tender/ferry boat over to the pier; five of us met up with our guide, Anne, for an e-bike (electric assist) tour of Huahine Iti, a distance of about 27 kms/17 miles. Anne had a little trailer on the back of her bike to carry our knapsacks plus a cooler with cold water and fresh fruit - mini bananas and mangos. After we all more or less figured out how to use the bikes (I had ridden one in Europe), we set off to circle the island.

    Our first stop was to look at a small island that has only one house on it - Barack Obama stayed there a couple of years ago. I guess security is easier when you’re on an island. We stopped at several lookout points to admire the fabulous colours in the water - deep blues, emerald greens and icy greys. Each colour indicates a different water depth.

    We also stopped at a place where coconut pieces were being dried in the sun. The dried pieces are sold and used for making cosmetics. Every little bit of income on this island of very few natural resources counts.

    Our next stop was at a parea shop. Pareas are the colourful hand-painted wraps/scarves/dresses that are so popular here. The owner demonstrated how she outlines the design using a black paint with a rubber component in it. Then she paints inside the lines - rather like paint-by-number - but on stretched white cotton. After all the painting is done, she dips the fabric in sea water and then leaves it on the stretchers to dry for three days in the hot sun. The combination of the sea salt and the sun sets the colours permanently. I tried my hand at painting - it’s actually quite easy. My next craft perhaps?

    Next stop was a marae - a sacred temple site for the Polynesian people. It was made of sheets of black coral. We had fruit and lots of water - we were all sweating profusely.

    Next stop was at Hôtel Le Mahana - a pretty little place with cosy bungalows for rent that sit on the edge of the white sand beach. The people here graciously let Anne’s clients use their washrooms and swim at their beach. I swam; some chose to sample the beer selection. The swim felt good - it’s a very hot, humid day - and we were only halfway around the island.

    One last beautiful lookout stop and then a steady pedal with electric assist to the top of a small mountain. Saw the cruise director jogging around the island - show off. Maybe that’s how he keeps his slim physique when he lives on a floating food festival.

    We roared down the hill and caught the 12:30 p.m. tender back to the ship. That was a good excursion - I told them at the excursion desk how much I enjoyed it.

    Doug is feeling quite good -he slept well last night; the doctor came this morning and gave him some tablets. All seems good. I'm trying to get a refund on his e-bike tour ticket. We had a nice lunch together - after I had a hot shower. We are trying to focus on salads and fruit at lunch, because they tend to be absent at dinner.

    At 3:00 p.m., the children of the village of Maroe (where the tender boat docks), along with several musicians, put on a really enjoyable song and dance show. The kids ranged in age from 6 to 14. The 6-year old, a little boy, was a real cutie - you could see a bit of the devil in him. Boy, could he dance. Fuelled by a glass of rum punch, I got up and danced with one of the teen boys. For my efforts, I was rewarded at the end with a handmade floral hair wreath. The flowers are lovely and have an intoxicating scent.

    We listened to Port Talk at 4:00 p.m. We will be in Taha’a tomorrow - we have an excursion lined for the morning. In the afternoon, we will sun ourselves on Paul Gauguin’s private islet and work on our snorkelling skills.
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  • Day26

    Feb 16 - Island of Moreea

    February 16 in French Polynesia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    When we opened the curtains this morning, we were greeted by calm waters, brilliant sunshine and exquisite blue waters. We are anchored at the island of Moorea (MORE-ay-ya) in Opunohu Bay. The island was created by volcanic action so it rises steeply from the water with one road that runs around the island just a few feet from the water’s edge. The island is green, green, green.

    At the breakfast venue that we chose, we were offered either indoor or outdoor seating. Since we most definitely would NOT be eating outside at home, we opted for an outside table. We enjoyed lovely views of the bay and the island. It’s quite warm and humid - the soft Pacific breeze kept it just nice. The service was, as we have come to expect, friendly, upbeat and efficient. Each server asks your name and then addresses you by it for the duration of the meal. John Paul, our waiter, filled us in on a tidbit of information. There is going to be a gay wedding with 120 guests when we get to Bora Bora. There are 77 of those guests on board. We wondered because we saw a gaggle of people all dressed in white seated together last night.

    We picked up our snorkelling gear from the back of the boat where a marina drops down for instant water access for kayaking and paddle boarding. We didn’t book any excursions for today. Tomorrow we have signed up for an e-bike tour of Hauhine. It’s only 4 hours 27 km/17 miles. Our slothful lifestyle of the past couple of weeks might come back to haunt us.

    We spent the morning reading - I know that is a bit sacrilegious - but we are playing it really, really safe with Doug and trying not to trigger another episode like we had in NZ. We both are in the throes of really intriguing books.

    Had lunch outside on the aft deck. The buffet theme changes each day - today it’s “French” - no surprise there. They make pretty good cookies here.

    We read for the afternoon.

    We went for dinner about 6:30 p.m., which was about an hour after we set sail. To our dismay, Doug began to feel terrible. He had to leave the dining room, leaving me to eat alone like a Grade 9 wallflower. I summoned the doctor who checked Doug to make sure that nothing else was going on - stroke, heart attack, etc. Nope, just vicious motion sickness. The doctor gave Doug an injection to make him sleep.

    After a promising start, things are going downhill fast on this cruise.
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  • Day26

    Feb 15 - Paul Gauguin Cruise Ship

    February 16 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

    We had breakfast again in the resort open air restaurant because it was just too far and too bumpy in a shuttle driven by a speed demon to go into town to chase down a decent meal. And again, the service was shoddy. The toast was barely toasted and the dirty dishes weren’t cleared for a long time so our table got swarmed by flies. The only good thing about breakfast was watching two birds pecking away at the baked goods the couple seated next to us had left unattended while they waited and waited for their hot breakfast. And then it rained, just to complete the scenario. Sigh….here’s hoping breakfast on the cruise ship is more refined.

    Our transfer to the ship is at 2:00 p.m. I wheedled a noon check out, rather than 11:00 a.m., so we bunked out in a little area off the lobby that overlooks the pool two hours. It rained again which actually helped to drop the humidity level. We watched Aqua Cycle Fit taking place in the pool - an activity neither of us has seen before. The participants wheel huge stationary bikes into the water and then they do bicycle moves on them - up out of the seat pedalling, down on the seat and doing motions in the water with their arms, up and down, up and down. I think they were happy when the rain came - they needed to cool off a bit.

    Our driver showed up promptly at 2:00 p.m. He is an ex-Californian high school teacher who married a Tahitian girl and has been here ever since - taught school here, and now, is driving a shuttle as his retirement gig. Fascinating guy.

    We got to the ship about 2:20 p.m. but couldn’t board until 3:00 p.m. We set off for an afternoon smoothie to pass the time. The gates were open when we returned. We are all checked in now and legal to be on board. Our cabin stewardess is Jo-Fe - her father’s name is Felipe, hence the Fe part of her name. Our room is snug but comfortable with a little couch in front of the TV and a good-sized balcony. I’ve now got the internet figured out - I’m going to nominate the lady at Reception as Employee of the Cruise for her patience. We have found the well-equipped gym, the spa (going to skip that), the on-board boutique and the afternoon ice cream station. Doug checked out the quality of the ice cream - all good.

    Safety drill is at 5:30 p.m. Port talk about tomorrow’s destinations of the islands of Moorea and Huahine is at 6:00 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Of the three dining venues, we are just going to the main stream one - no reservations required. There is a welcome aboard party at 9:30 p.m., but I don’t think we will last that long. We aren’t the young travel chickens that we used to be.

    Dinner was lovely - we had a table to ourselves by a window. The service was superb. All the weird vegetables were banished from Doug’s order - only carrots and French fries were allowed to accompany his steak. Our waiter even swept the crumbs off the table before presenting us with the dessert menu. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

    When we got back from dinner. our bed had been turned down and there were chocolates awaiting us. Yep, this is all going well. Famous last words - read on.
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