RTW Day #162 This is day 3 of 5 sea days heading to Los Angeles
May 23 A, 2016 Apia, Samoa and the International Dateline crossing
We had a tour to the Aleipata District and a BBQ beach lunch. The drive took us past traditional Samoan villages and plantations along the northeast coast of Upou. There were several water falls that we made a photo stops at before arriving at the beach for lunch which was very yummy. There were plenty of elevated huts to enjoy lunch, relax and swim. The male Polynesia dancers performed a variety of dances and had some audience participation, of course. We were to have a ground oven cooking demonstration at the Botanical Gardens but there was a rain shower happening. Each village has a large open building called the gathering house. All the village is welcome to come and socialize anytime. Some houses also have a large open porch so families can do the same. Because of the desire to keep their loved ones close, family burials are done in the front yards of the houses.
5-23a (10) Apia, Samoa port dancers
5-23a (24) Falefa Falls at Upolu
5-23a (31) Sopo'aga Falls
5-23r (26) Papapapaitai Falls
5-23a (44) Tafatafa Beach
5-23a (37) Beach lunch
5-23a (38) Aggie Grey Dance Troupe
5-23r (3) Village Gathering house
Our guide told us that the next Survivor show is being filmed down the beach from where we had lunch.
The cruise director had arranged for a dance show that night on the pool deck but the rain forced the show into the lounge. Another great dance show but on a small stage. We crossed the International Date Line today so we had a do-over of May 23. We had been moving our watches ahead for the last 5 months so it finally caught up with us.
5-23a (51) Dance troupe
May 23 B, 2016 Pago Pago, American Samoa
Since we have a second time doing May 23, the ship played the movie Ground Hog Day repeatedly ( ho-ho-).
We took a tour of the Village Way of Life on the western side of Tutuila. The wooden tour bus was not very comfortable and no air conditioning but the manual plastic windows worked OK. Christianity was introduced in 1832 and since then, the Samoans have become very religious. Between 5pm and 6:30pm (depending on the village) for about 30 minutes, a curfew is imposed for the villagers during evening prayers so everyone should be off the streets. Tourists are advised to avoid walking around the villages during curfew. They should also remove their shoes when entering a fale (home) and sit on a mat crossed legged. It is disrespectful to point your feet at someone.
5-23b (15) Pago Pago tour bus!!!
5-23b (47) Flower Pot rock
5-23b (52) Carved tree stump
We stopped at the village of Talofa where locals live together communally and their thatched wooden structures (fales) are open and without walls. Each fale is for a specific purpose such as sleeping or food prep. We had a sample of fruits and the food prepared above ground on hot river rocks.
5-24r (11) Tafola Village
5-23b (38) Sleeping fale
5-23b (39) Cooking fale
So this begins the re-visit of some of the most beautiful waters I have ever seen. During our visit in 2013, we anchored at a lot more islands than we are doing on this world trip. The locals are extremely friendly and laid back. I could not believe the crystal clear, warm waters and many colorful fish and corals there and I could not wait till our return. I wanted to swim and snorkel as much as possible and video underwater. The captain had to do many maneuvers to get around the coral reefs and into the islands which was also beautiful…..
May 26, 2016 Raiatea, French Polynesia
I took the tour Taha’a Coral Garden Snorkeling. This was a boat ride to west side of Motu (uninhabited islet) Taha’a. We walked along the shore to the other side of the Motu to begin the snorkel. There is a strong current over a very shallow lagoon with a large variety of fish and corals. The channel is very narrow and care had to be taken not to drift into the coral and cause damage to it or damage to yourself (Very Sharp!) I did get 2 little scrapes on the legs trying to get the swim fins on. When we got back to the boat, we did another walk back up the Motu and did the float again. We also had some time for snorkeling near the boat. Lovely Day! This was the first time I tried the GoPro underwater camera and got some OK video. Roger will try to get some screen captures to post and the video when we get a decent WiFi connection.
5-27 (16h)Lagoon, Tahaa & Raiatea Islands
5-26 (11) Coral Reefs
5-26r (5) Coral Reefs
5-26 (33) Raiatea, FP port
5-26 (37) Float Snorkeling tour boat
5-26 (39) Heading to snorkel spot
5-26 (42) Taha'a shoreline
May 27, 2016 Bora Bora, FP 32nd Anniversary
Roger and I did separate tours in the morning. Mine was a shark and stingray snorkel. The boat was a nice and roomy double hull pontoon. We had about 12 on the boat. There were 3 stops on different coral formations, one was for the fish, one for the coral and one for the sharks and rays. The black tip fin sharks were not dangerous and they kept a little distance from us but the rays would climb over folks wanting food. Their skin was a little rough on the top but very smooth underneath. I had done this tour 3 years ago and knew what to expect so it was more pleasant interaction for me but a little nervous for the others.
5-27 (15) Bora Bora tour bus
5-27 (9) Bora Bora Snorkeling
Roger’s tour was the Bora Bora off road adventure.
Bora Bora was a supply base during WWII where an airstrip, oil depot, seaplane base and fortifications were built and manned by some 7000 troops. In the hills above the island the army installed eight 7 inch guns to defend the island from attack. My tour left the pier and literally headed for the hills. We first bumped, bounced and splashed our way up to the big guns that the army simply retired in place. I found a geocache up there and took several pictures of the beautiful waters around the island. Our next stop once again was up in the hills at a small shop that did painting on fabric. Their finished products are of course colorful and beautiful as are the grounds around and above the shop. The next stop was Matira Beach the only public beach on the entire island for a photo op. The last stop was back in the hills with more great views. Then back to the boat.
5-27 (16a) Rog Went Off-Roading
5-27 (16b) Gun Guarding Harbor Entrance
5-27 (16c) Shop Doing Fabric Painting
5-27 (16d) Watching Paint Dry
5-27 (16e)Shops Grounds
5-27 (16f) And View
5-27 (16g) Matira Beach
We met up back at the ship for a clean-up then headed out to Bloody Mary’s for a drink. Mine was too spicy so Roger had a double and I had a Pina Colada. The place is very famous for celebrities and there is a wall with signed dollar bills from all over the world. Of course, more t-shirts! No visit to Bora Bora is complete without a stop at Bloody Mary’s.
5-27 (18) Drinks!!!
5-27 (19) B.M. interior
5-27 (21) Happy 32nd Anniversary!!
On board, we had our celebration dinner in the Toscana Restaurant along with Cheryl and Woodie from Atlanta. The staff sang and presented us with a cake.
5-27 (22) Bruno delivering cake
5-27 (25) Party time
May 28, 2016 Papeete, FP
This was the end of a segment with lots of folks getting off and on so the ship was not leaving till 11pm and, of course, another mandatory life boat drill. We had also been here in 2013 so just did walking around the town. Roger went off to find caches and I went shopping. There was a large local market with lots of trinkets and spices and shell jewelry. I got a white shell necklace and earrings. In talking to the vendors, the next day (Sunday) was Mothers Day celebration so there were a lot of locals shopping for gifts. The locals greatly respect women, most men do all the cooking. The vendors were selling many beautiful flower arrangements, most cost about $15.00. There were stalls on the streets making lovely flower crowns for gifts.
5-28r (9) Papeete from dock
5-28r (28) Papeete port
May 29, 2016 Huahine, FP
Being that this day is Sunday, most shops were closed. We took the local wooden bus(aka Le Truck) with plastic windows to the other side of the island. This turned out to be a beach location but I did not bring swim suit, DARN. There was a bar open and a very small craft hut but nothing else. We headed back to the ship. When we were here 3 years ago we did a visit to Faie village that had a stream with blue-eyed eels that range from 3-6 feet. The village is about 6 miles from the pier but they are worth the visit to see them.
5-29 (4) Striped fish, Huahine, FP
5-29 (6) Beach at Huahine, FP
May 30, 2016 Rangiroa, FP
Roger stayed on board but I took the tender to the pier. The place is more developed that 3 years ago and the place I swam at is now a bar. I walked to the other side of the island where there is a coral beach. That beach is also more developed but the waves were too strong and coral too sharp to try to swim so I went back to the other side. I got a boat ride to a beach near a hotel for $5.00. There were more black-tip fin sharks and rays there near the shore line but not a lot of fish. I tried using the GoPro camera again for underwater video. Another boat back to tender dock ($5.00) then to the ship.
5-30 (5) Rangiroa Beach
June 1, 2016 Nuku Hiva, FP
We took the tender to the dock and saw the Chef of the ship loading buckets of fresh caught yellow fin tuna for dinner tomorrow. Yummy!! A lot of local vendors selling jewelry made of shells and seeds and carved wood items. There are a few statues around the pier done by local artists of natives. Roger went to find caches and I went to find the beach. There were not very many fish and the water was cloudy but was a nice place to swim. Nuku Hiva is also the place where the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891) deserted his ship in 1841 and hid on the island. His experiences here led to his novel “Typee”.
6-1r (5) Dinner!!
6-1.4 Yellow Fin Tuna
6-1.11 Nuku Hiva statue
6-1r (1) Nuku Hiva, FP
The next entry is for Hawaii