A Travellerspoint blog

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Thursday, 26 September 2013


View 2013 Polynesian Cruise on greynomadm's travel map.

Started the day with a dose of sunrise photos as the ship approached the island of Bora Bora. We have a ship's excursion booked and we are scheduled to assemble in the Theatre at 0715, a perfect time for us but there were grumbles about an 'early' start.

Today is a tendered port and the trip to the jetty is the shortest we've experienced. The island is just beautiful with steep hills in the centre and a ring of smaller islands bordering the lagoon. The depth of water in the lagoon varies significantly and results in a great range of blue hues from the pale shallow waters to the dark blue deep water.

The vehicle for our tour is locally known as 'le truck' and is a cab-chassis of a 5 ton truck with simple RHS framed bench seats and simple 'plastic' windows which slide up and down. Simple and quite effective if a little rough. The tour followed the single road in a clockwise direction with small communities scattered along the way wherever there is sufficient flat land to build a house. The more exotic resorts are located on one or another of the surrounding islands with access only by boat. There are 25 lodging establishments listed with most of the big international names included.
There is a local airport constructed by the US Military during WW2, it being the sole international airport for the region until the role was taken over by the new airport on Tahiti. In the late 1960s most inter-island air traffic was by sea-planes that used the lagoon as the runway.

An interesting comment from our guide is that medical services are totally free and include treatment and the cost of ferry or air fares to a higher level of facility.

Back to the jetty where we wandered through the craft market and sampled some of the local foods offered by the local vendors. A short wait for a tender and we were back aboard by about 1130.

The temperature and humidity has increased all morning and it was a relief to be inside the vessel. After a simple lunch I started to record these words while Jenny caught up on some sleep after a restless night.

There were only four of us at dinner tonight. Barry reported that Barbara had been admitted to the on-board hospital for observation, her chest infection has got worse. With two sea days ahead it is to be hoped she'll be alright. George never comes to dinner when it is a port day and Marilyn and Jim had been out on a late excursion and decided on eating at the Horizon Court.

There appears to be a malfunction with our smoke alarm, it is indicating smoke and one of the security staff was in our cabin checking on it when we returned from dinner. Must be a constant problem as he just shrugged and said they would send a technician to replace it.

Made our way to the Vista Lounge for another crazy performance by the 'Awfully Good Theatrical Company'. They presented an entertaining 'radio' play full of puns, innuendos and melodramatic overacting.

More tomorrow.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 02:05 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (1)

Moorea, French Polynesia

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


View 2013 Polynesian Cruise on greynomadm's travel map.

An intense bank of clouds covered the horizon as we approached the island of Moorea. The ship dropped anchor in d'Opunohu Bay and the tenders were deployed. After breakfast we met in the Theatre for our shore excursion. Shorter after 0800 we were aboard the tender heading for the jetty which was located a considerable distance away. The jetty is not located in any significant population centre, there being a number of small villages around the rim of the island.

We were directed to our coach and set off for a clockwise trip around the island. The first stop being the Le Belvedere lookout from which there were views of both fjord-like bays in the North of the island. The drive up and back were most interesting with a number of hairpin bends where the coach only just managed to get around, one exceeded the vehicle's turning circle and the driver had to turn it into a three-point manoeuvre. The road so narrow that on meeting a bus in the opposite direction they had to back up to make way for us.

We continued our circuit with frequent stops for photo opportunities and a much appreciated 'rest stop' at one of the island's resorts. Each beautiful inlet providing views out to the reefs whilst steep slopes and lush vegetation crowded the road from the landward side.

Our tour guide arrived in these islands from France when posted here during his military service. His English was flavoured with a strong French accent and undertones of some guttural German. He was originally from the region of France that borders Germany.

All good things come to an end and we were back at the pier by 1130. Time to poke around the inevitable craft and clothing stalls before boarding a tender back to the ship. The crewman that guided us up from level 3 greeted us with "Welcome home, mind the step" and it almost felt right, we were 'home'.

Up to the Horizon Court for lunch, the curried prawns were particularly good. Back to the stateroom to freshen up and partake of some R&R - the tropical temperature and humidity are causing us both to feel rather lethargic. Off to the dining room for dinner to learn that Barbara has a chest infection and Barry is considering flying her home. It would be a shame for them but I think they've experienced the best part of the cruise.

Attended the show in the Theatre starring Christie Brown and her husband as they sang and danced many of the numbers that made Olivia Newton-John famous. Not a bad effort but it was good that we didn't have to pay for it.

More French Polynesia tomorrow.

My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:56 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (1)

Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


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Massive rain clouds covered the horizon but the sky was clear overhead as we approached Papeete on the Island of Tahiti and the capital of French Polynesia. Precisely on schedule the Sea Princess was made fast at the wharf. We have a booked tour here and assembled in the Theatre at 0825 and soon after we were off to board the coach for our three hour drive along part of the North West coast. Our first stop was at the Faarumal Waterfalls which are located on private land but is available to the public because of some deal between the Administration and the land owners. Very spectacular and flowing with great vigour as a result of a rain storm in the past 24 hours.

Stopped at the Arahoho Blowhole which proved somewhat disappointing because of the subdued seas. Next stop is Venus Point, the historic landing point for many of the early European explorers. One of the landmarks purports to be the location where Captain Cook witnessed the 'Transit of Venus'. The infamous Bounty also landed there and a memorial lists all members of Bligh's crew.

Back to the ship and a welcome lunch in the Horizon Court. We're in port until 0330 tomorrow morning so heaps of time to go ashore and look around. First order of business was to acquire some local currency, the ship charges a $6 fee and the exchange is 1000 SPF (South Pacific Franc) to 1 AU$. Bit of an awkward number and I only wanted about AU$ 100 worth. The ship's rate is traditionally very poor so I tried a local bank. Didn't get very far, they wanted to charge me AU$ 15 as a transaction fee !! Decided to try my luck at an ATM and withdrew 7000 SPF. No idea of the fees or the exchange rate. It will be interesting.

Visited the Papeete Cathedral, a local McDonald and then found the French Polynesian Assembly building and the adjoining Garden. I took some discrete images from outside the fence and was invited to wander around by a very relaxed Security Guard. Lovely structure and tranquil garden with large trees and a beautiful lily pond.

Another enjoyable garden was Bougainville Park with many of the locals making good use of the facility. From there we found our way to the Municipal Market, a huge airy structure providing space for vendors to sell a full range of fresh foods, handicrafts and bolts of colourful cloth. All very clean and colourful. Outside the Market building there were many stalls and small shops. Jenny found one that had the 'perfect' material and finished up buying three pieces of 50 cm. Red, black and blue background.

Back to the ship and we unload our packs. An early dinner tonight so that we can get to the Theatre in time for the Folkloric Show. They are always good and heavily patronised.

As expected the Theatre was 100% packed with 25 minutes to go for show time. What a feast for the eyes !! The music consisted of drums and guitars played at a tremendous pace and great enthusiasm. The six young men danced and cavorted across the stage with enough energy to power this ship. Then six beautiful young women dance a frenetic hula in a variety of costumes their backsides quivering so fast they became a blur. The 45 minute show was absolutely the very best we've ever seen on board. No wonder there was a Mutiny on the Bounty, no sane person would leave this place unless forced to.

We definitely vote this port the very best of all so far on this or any previous cruise.

More French Polynesia tomorrow.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:22 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (1)

Sea Day Five of Five to Tahiti

Monday, 23 September 2013

No visible sunrise this morning with a solid overcast and light rain totally frustrating my run of spectacular sunrises. Tried some images of the rain without a lot of success. Breakfast, then back to the stateroom and collected our Kindles. Spent some time in the Crooners Bar then Jenny headed off to her craft session and I spent some time explaining features of the Kindle to an older couple. Off to the Theatre for another interesting insight into the lives of crabs and lobsters by Marine Biologist Dr Gloeta Nassie. We stayed in the Theatre to take in another presentation by Trevor Knight.

After last night's excessive dinner we settled on some fruit for lunch. After all that activity it is now time for some R&R.

Lovely dinner as always and another fabulous show by the very talented Amber Jade. Standing room only in the Theatre.

It has rained all day and has disrupted the plans for a deck party tonight, doesn't effect us as we're quite ready to call it a night any time after 2130.

Up to Deck 14 to post this and sorry for the brevity of this one, it has all been said before.

Papeete tomorrow. More then.

My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:31 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Sea Day Four of Five to Tahiti

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Strong wind and a lively sea combined to make well focused captures of the sunrise quite difficult. A quick breakfast and we were back in the stateroom by 0700. Picked up our Kindles and prepared for our morning 'activities'. A bit of a misnomer as most of this morning was spent sitting on my butt. Jenny attended a Sunday Service in the Vista Lounge, I spent some time reading in the Crooners Bar. At about 0930 I found a seat in the Theatre for the 1000 session with Hutch and his presentation on Papeete, it was difficult to stay awake for the whole hour.

By 1130 there was a refreshing change of pace as Marine Biologist Dr Gloeta Nassie took to the stage to provide an insight into the crazy courtships of the mollusks. There has been som criticism of her 'flippant' treatment of a serious topic. I don't agree and totally love her presentation - no trouble staying awake.

At 1300, I'm still in the theatre and have been joined by Jenny for a movie. The place is packed for the showing of "Quartet" staring Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly and Maggie Smith. No one got up until the credits have been run. Quick trip to the Horizon Court for a lunch before the end of lunch service at 1530.

Back to the stateroom to start this composition and confirm our 'special' dinner at the Sterling Steakhouse for 1800 this evening. In almost 90 days aboard this ship, it is the first time we've booked this 'special'.

Tonight we dined in the Sterling Steakhouse, a speciality dining option at a $20 per person surcharge. The steak options are enormous and the clam chowder served in a bread bowl. The "dining room" is created from the Riviera Grill and overlooks the pool deck.

My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 22:48 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (1)

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