A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: pointslj

Back to Reality!!

The End of the World


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

First, catching up on the last couple days….

June 28, 2016 (at sea) ATW “worldies” farewell dinner

We had our last dinner together, split between the Polo Grill and Toscana dining rooms. Lots of picture taking, hugs and great food.
I finally started packing, realizing they were really going to remove me from the ship and I could not find any place to hide with 4 suit cases. Roger has been done packing for a couple days.
6-28r (3) ATW dinner

6-28r (3) ATW dinner


6-28r (4) ATW dinner

6-28r (4) ATW dinner


6-28r (61) ATW dinner

6-28r (61) ATW dinner


6-28r (17) ATW dinner

6-28r (17) ATW dinner


6-28r (18) ATW dinner

6-28r (18) ATW dinner


6-28r (24) Polo Grill Manager

6-28r (24) Polo Grill Manager


6-28r (35) Toscana Manager

6-28r (35) Toscana Manager


6-28r (38) ATW dinner

6-28r (38) ATW dinner


6-28r (41) ATW dinner

6-28r (41) ATW dinner


6-28r (56) ATW dinner

6-28r (56) ATW dinner

June 30, 2016 Key West, Florida

I kept packing in the morning and we had our immigration face-to-face meeting at 8:30. About 1pm, we took the port trolley into Duval Street. Very hot and humid. Had a sloppy joe and mojito at Sloppy Joes Bar, more t-shirts at Crazy shirts and Margartiville and ice cream, then went back to the ship. More packing…
6-30 (7) Sloppy joe

6-30 (7) Sloppy joe


6-30r (1) Sloppy Joes, Key West

6-30r (1) Sloppy Joes, Key West

At 5pm, we had a fun “End of the World” sail away pool party. Ray, the cruise director, jumped into the pool in street clothes and many worldies followed. Lots of music and dancing and some group photos taken.
6-30 (26) Sailaway Party, Key West

6-30 (26) Sailaway Party, Key West


6-30 (29) Sailaway party

6-30 (29) Sailaway party

Had all 8 suit cases out for pickup at 10pm. 4 will be shipped home and 4 go to the airport. Tomorrow will be interesting.

Friday July 1, 2016 Miami, Florida

Back to where we started 6 months ago. Well, the ship disembarkation did not go as planned.
We were over 2 hours late getting off the ship (at about 12n), it was raining, there were not enough porters for the massive amount of luggage from 194 worldies to go thru customs. I waited for about ½ hour to get a porter but we breezed thru customs without a duty charge even with being way over the limits (yeah!!). The 4 cases got to the shipping company and we got to the airport with time to spare before our 3:30pm flight. Back home in Tucson at 9pm and picked our dog Skylar Sat morning. He was really glad to see us!! We were REALLY glad to see him!!!!

Roger & Skylar

Roger & Skylar

Some photos on board the ship:

6-29r (8) Mimosa Party

6-29r (8) Mimosa Party


5-28r (16) Restocking ship

5-28r (16) Restocking ship


6-11r (7) Captains reception

6-11r (7) Captains reception


6-12r (1) Seafood buffet

6-12r (1) Seafood buffet


6-12r (5) Wine tasting

6-12r (5) Wine tasting


6-15r (30) Life boat drill #17

6-15r (30) Life boat drill #17


6-15r (31) Banner

6-15r (31) Banner


6-17 (3) Cheryl, Woodie, Roger

6-17 (3) Cheryl, Woodie, Roger


6-17 (6) ATW party

6-17 (6) ATW party


6-17 (13) ATW Party destination services

6-17 (13) ATW Party destination services


6-17 (14) ATW party  Chef's

6-17 (14) ATW party Chef's


6-17 (15) Michelle, Social hostess

6-17 (15) Michelle, Social hostess


6-18r (23) Tender launch

6-18r (23) Tender launch


6-23r (2) Crew life raft drill

6-23r (2) Crew life raft drill


6-24 (10) GDR Brunch

6-24 (10) GDR Brunch


6-24 (12) GDR Brunch

6-24 (12) GDR Brunch


6-25 (1) Drink of the Day

6-25 (1) Drink of the Day


6-29r (6) Tricia ATW hostess

6-29r (6) Tricia ATW hostess

Finally.....

The trip was everything we expected and more. We saw places and people we had only read or heard about. Some countries are good and some not so much but always the people were friendly. There was not really one thing that made the trip special, just the total experience of seeing the unknown from Myanmar golden pagodas to West Africa’s poverty.

The Oceania Insignia is a beautiful ship and the crew is outstanding. Both of our cabin stewards Bayu (Jan-March) and Edmund (March-July) provided everything we needed to make our 216 sq. ft. cabin comfy. The food was fantastic and the wines great!! The only improvement needed on the ship is the internet and TV service. The ship held a White elephant sale to raise money for the crew well fare fund and the ‘worldies’ made a large quilt with squares from all the countries visited that was raffled off and some ATW items were auctioned i.e. ships navigation maps, signed ship flag and memorabilia. A lot of money was raised, the worldies were very generous.

7-1 (5)Edmund and me

7-1 (5)Edmund and me


6-21 (2) ATW auction

6-21 (2) ATW auction


6-24 (1) ATW Auction

6-24 (1) ATW Auction


6-24 (2) ATW Quilt

6-24 (2) ATW Quilt

We traveled 46,501 nautical miles, 5 continents, 44 countries, 90+ ports plus 4 land tours and crossed 24 time zones in 180 days. Plus 3,590 photos I took and Roger probably took twice that much. There were 194 folks on the Jan. to July 2016 cruise plus an additional 50+ from Jan to March that were completing their 2015 world cruise. We met so many nice people from all over the world and shared our lives for 6 months. Many memories were made which was one of my reasons for this blog so we could remember it. So back to reality, no more laundry service, maid service, room service, entertainment, fresh fruit every day, baked pastries, fresh fish, etc. Its all up to us. I would do it all over again (if we win the lottery)........

I hope you all enjoyed this trip with us.

No more Happy Sailing till May, 2017

Linda and Roger

Posted by pointslj 23:18 Archived in USA Comments (1)

RTW June 18 - 29, 2016

Mexico and Central America


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW day # 179 ONE, only ONE, more day to go tomorrow in Key West. We plan to just go to Duval Street for Mojitos, Sloppy Joes bar, shopping and key lime pie...

June, 18, 2016 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Our tour was a Camel Ride and Outback Adventure. We drove about an hour to the Rancho San Cristobal location by the sea. This place is also a large turtle sanctuary. The 20 of us split into 2 groups for the Unimog truck ride to the camel stables. We were first greeted by Lewis the Kissing camel. The guide assured us that Lewis will not spit at us. After we all got smooched, we were decked out in a helmet and scarf then went for the 20 minute ride along the ocean.

6-18 (36) Turtle Sanctuary

6-18 (36) Turtle Sanctuary


6-18 (37) Unimog truck

6-18 (37) Unimog truck


6-18 (7) Lewis the kissing camel

6-18 (7) Lewis the kissing camel


6-18 (9) Saddle up!

6-18 (9) Saddle up!


6-18 (20) Sultan Roger

6-18 (20) Sultan Roger


6-18 (21) Ready to ride

6-18 (21) Ready to ride


6-18 (69) Desert safari

6-18 (69) Desert safari

We then went for a nature walk thru the Baja outback to the lunch location. There was good local food, Margaritas, Mexican coffee and tequila samples. The guide showed us how corn tortillas are made and the proper way to drink tequila shots. First, put the salt on the lime, squeeze lime juice in mouth, drink tequila, mix together in mouth, then swallow.

6-18 (43) Nature walk (looks like AZ)

6-18 (43) Nature walk (looks like AZ)


6-18 (46) Nature walk

6-18 (46) Nature walk


6-18 (52) Lunch

6-18 (52) Lunch


6-18 (54) Good Liquor

6-18 (54) Good Liquor

6-18 (1b) Cabo

6-18 (1b) Cabo


6-18 (65) Sea Lion in Cabo

6-18 (65) Sea Lion in Cabo


6-18r (20) El Arco (Land's end)

6-18r (20) El Arco (Land's end)


6-18r (21) Cabo San Lucas harbor

6-18r (21) Cabo San Lucas harbor


6-18 (1c) Drinks!!

6-18 (1c) Drinks!!

June 20, 2016 Acapulco, Mexico

It is HOT…HOT…HOT and humid
No tour scheduled but our Acapulco Highlights paper mentioned a house that Diego Rivera had installed several murals that was only .6 mile from the pier. After walking about ½ hour, we found the street but no murals. Two ladies were walking by and we asked them about the Diego murals. We were at house #175 on the wrong end of the street. House #6 for the murals was about 15 min away (and up the hills). So not to give up now, we headed up the hills but missed a turn to the house. After 45 min and more directions, we finally got there. Diego lived in the home for the last couple years of his life and over an 18 month period, he covered the outside wall with these mosaic murals depicting Mesoamerican deities. They were nice but a little dirty and pieces missing.

6-20 (7) Acapulco, Mx

6-20 (7) Acapulco, Mx


6-20 (17)  Diego Rivera mural

6-20 (17) Diego Rivera mural


6-20r (7) Diego Rivera Mural

6-20r (7) Diego Rivera Mural

During our trek, we stopped at the place where the cliff divers perform but that was later in the day and we were on a mission.

6-20 (4) Cliff Diver location

6-20 (4) Cliff Diver location

June 22, 2016 Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Another HOT day. We just went to the local handcraft shops at the port.

June 23, 2016 Corinto, Nicaragua
Stayed on board

June 24, 2016 Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Walked around port and Roger found a geocache

6-22 (3) Puerto Quatzal, Guatemala, siesta time

6-22 (3) Puerto Quatzal, Guatemala, siesta time


6-24 (19) Puntarenas, Costa Rica port

6-24 (19) Puntarenas, Costa Rica port


6-24 (26) Costa Rica Geocache find

6-24 (26) Costa Rica Geocache find

June 26, 2016 Panama Canal Transit

Panama became an independent nation in 1903, separating from Columbia. In May 1904, the US began work on a lock-based canal. The canal opened on August 15, 1914 to 1,000 ships that year, now providing passage to over 12,000 vessels per year. The American Society of Civil Engineers
has named the Panama Canal one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. We traversed the 48 mile canal from about 9am to 4:30 pm.

6-26 (7) P.C. Bridge of the Americas

6-26 (7) P.C. Bridge of the Americas


6-26r (252) P.C. Centennial Bridge

6-26r (252) P.C. Centennial Bridge


6-26 (17) Waiting our turn to enter

6-26 (17) Waiting our turn to enter


6-26 (34) Mules to keep us centered

6-26 (34) Mules to keep us centered

The Panama Canal Expansion began in Sept 2007 to double the waterway's capacity due to increasing demand of world maritime trade. The expansion opened to larger ships at 8am this day. The first container ship was traversing from East to West and we passed each other in the lake.

6-26 (13) P.C. new locks

6-26 (13) P.C. new locks


6-26 (53) New locks control tower and visitor center

6-26 (53) New locks control tower and visitor center

June 27, 2016 Cartagena, Colombia

Tour was the Panoramic Cartagena and shopping. Our first stop was on top of a 500 ft hill at the La Popa Monastery. The convent, built in 1607, features a beautiful, flower lined courtyard and the most stunning views of the entire city below.

6-27 (32) Roger at La Popa

6-27 (32) Roger at La Popa


6-27r (22) Monastery courtyard

6-27r (22) Monastery courtyard


6-27 (21) Cartagena old housing

6-27 (21) Cartagena old housing


6-27r (12) Cartagena new housing

6-27r (12) Cartagena new housing


6-27 (61) San Pedro Claver, defender of the slaves

6-27 (61) San Pedro Claver, defender of the slaves


6-27 (64) Church of San Pedro Claver

6-27 (64) Church of San Pedro Claver

The next photo stop was at the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. This fort was designed in 1639 and was an important military structure in Latin America.

The final stop was inside the Old Walled City. We went by the Inquisition Palace, the Cathedral, Plaza Bolivar, Plaza de la Aduana and Las Bovedas, the last being a structure that once was used as military storage vaults and later as dungeons for prisoners. Today, the structure houses souvenir shops and traditional Columbian merchandise. The narrow streets are lined with beautiful flower-lined balconies and massive wood doors.
6-27r (63) Plaza de la Aduana

6-27r (63) Plaza de la Aduana


6-27r (95) Old town street

6-27r (95) Old town street


6-27r (113) Plaza Bolivar

6-27r (113) Plaza Bolivar

We have been at sea 6/28-29, got the luggage from storage, having farewell parties and lots of pictures of our shipmates and crew.
The final sail-away party is at 5pm tomorrow in Key West (:(((

I may try to get a short blog off (mostly on board photos) on Friday waiting at the airport for our 3pm flight

(No Longer.......)
Happy Sailing (:((

Posted by pointslj 14:58 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

RTW June 6 - 16, 2016

Hawaii and California


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW day #170 Docked in Acapulco, Mexico

June 6, 2016 Hilo Hawaii

First, we did a stop at the Mona Loa Macadamia nut plantation. We drove thru the large planting of nut trees and wound up at the factory. They had an outside viewing platform over the work area to be able to see the production line. Of course, we had some time to visit the factory outlet store for samples and purchases. It smelled real good in there and lots of flavors to taste.

6-6 (6) Macadamia Nut roasters

6-6 (6) Macadamia Nut roasters


6-6 (4) Hilo, Hi  Mona Loa factory

6-6 (4) Hilo, Hi Mona Loa factory

We then headed to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park was established in 1916 to protect and interpret the unique environment of Kilauea and Mona Loa volcanoes. The park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. After a rest stop at the visitor center, we headed for the Jaggar Museum to see videos of volcanic eruptions, geologic displays and working seismic equipment. From this location, there are many overlooks into the Kilauea Caldera and Halema’uma’u Crater which are quite large and a consistent plume of volcanic gas was to be seen. The rim also had large amounts of sulfur deposits. Following our time there, we headed to the Thurston Lava Tubes. The tube was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston and was amazing to see and walk thru.

6-6 (12) Kilauea map

6-6 (12) Kilauea map


6-6 (17) Crater Rim

6-6 (17) Crater Rim


6-6r (15) Crater rim

6-6r (15) Crater rim


6-6r (19) Thurston Lava tube

6-6r (19) Thurston Lava tube

June 7 2016 Honolulu, Hawaii

Our tour was Pearl Harbor & City Highlights. We first went to Pearl Harbor National Monument. We had some free time to visit the displays around the complex before our scheduled time to view the video. However, the winds kicked up and we were not permitted to board the US Navy launch to visit the memorial site. Again, Mother Nature had her way with our trip. The 184 ft long Memorial structure for the 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship. President Eisenhower approved the creation of the memorial in 1958, construction was completed in 1961 and dedicated in 1962.
6-7r (1) Pearl Harbor Memorial

6-7r (1) Pearl Harbor Memorial


6-7r (3) USS Missouri & Arizona Memorial

6-7r (3) USS Missouri & Arizona Memorial


6-7r (4) USS Arizona bell

6-7r (4) USS Arizona bell


6-7 (19) USS Bowfin

6-7 (19) USS Bowfin

From there, we drove up to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). This cemetery honors American’s fallen heroes from WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam wars. At the Koolau mountains, we made a stop at the Nu’uanu Pali lookout over the windward side of Oahu. And I really mean the WINDward side. So windy we could barely stand up but it was spectacular views.
6-7 (26) Punchbowl

6-7 (26) Punchbowl


6-7 (25) Punchbowl

6-7 (25) Punchbowl


6-7 (40) Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

6-7 (40) Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

We traveled back to central Honolulu for a visit to the King Kamehameha I statue and the Iolani Palace, the former home to the last two Hawaiian monarchs (Queen Lili’uokalani and King Kalakaua) and the only royal palace in the United States.
6-7 (55) King Kamehameha I

6-7 (55) King Kamehameha I


6-7 (59) Iolani Palace

6-7 (59) Iolani Palace



That night we had the 1940’s Patriotic Event aboard the USS Missouri. We received a lei greeting from keiki (kids) hula dancers then boarded the boat for a welcoming mai-tai. After exploring the boat we had heavy pupus and wine and beer under a tent. The entertainment was 1940’s music , singers and dancers. All the wait staff was dressed in costume. A good time was had by all.
6-7 (69) USS Oklahoma Memorial

6-7 (69) USS Oklahoma Memorial


6-7 (85) Arizona Memorial

6-7 (85) Arizona Memorial


6-7r (40) Battleship Missouri Party

6-7r (40) Battleship Missouri Party


6-7 (88) Drinks!!

6-7 (88) Drinks!!


6-7r (60) USS Missouri

6-7r (60) USS Missouri


6-7 (89) On USS Missouri

6-7 (89) On USS Missouri


6-7 (93) On USS Missouri

6-7 (93) On USS Missouri


6-7 (120) Entertainment

6-7 (120) Entertainment


6-7 (117) Group shot

6-7 (117) Group shot

June 8, 2016 Lahaina, Maui

We have been to Lahaina many times for vacations so we just walked around the town, stopped at Crazy Shirts shop, Maui Divers Black Coral shop and got a shaved ice. Right by the pier, there is a 60 foot Banyan tree which dates to the 19th century. The air roots from the main tree have grown to the ground and made new trees. It’s amazing to see how many trees can be entwined together.
6-8 (11) Maui Divers Black Coral

6-8 (11) Maui Divers Black Coral


6-8 (16) Maui shaved ice, YUMMY!

6-8 (16) Maui shaved ice, YUMMY!


6-8r (4) Lahaina Banyan Tree

6-8r (4) Lahaina Banyan Tree


6-8 (7) Lahaina, Maui Banyan Tree

6-8 (7) Lahaina, Maui Banyan Tree

June 9, 2016 Nawiliwili, Kauai

Again, we have been to Kauai many times. We took the shuttle to Kmart and a shopping mall. There was a UPS Store there so we decided to go back to the ship, pack up our purchases from the previous 5 months and send them off now instead of waiting till San Diego where everyone else is sending their stuff. It’s nice to be rid of all that stuff in our small cabin.

June 15, 2016 Los Angeles, Ca.

We had a bit of rough sea swells on most of the 5 days crossing the Pacific Ocean. This did not bother Roger and I much except for bouncing off the walls in the narrow hall ways. Los Angeles to Miami is our last segment, so it is hitting most of the RTW guests that it is coming to an end. This was also our LAST Life Boat Drill. YEAH!! We had one the first day of each segment and, on the longer segments, one every 14 days.

We did a discover LAX tour that hit the highlights of Los Angeles and Hollywood. We stopped at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Walt Disney Concert Hall, TCL Chinese Theater (Grauman’s), Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Farmers Market to name a few. Did not see anyone famous, Darn.

6-15r (9) Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

6-15r (9) Dorothy Chandler Pavilion


6-15r (6) Disney Concert Hall

6-15r (6) Disney Concert Hall


6-15r (21) Hollywood sign

6-15r (21) Hollywood sign


6-15 (51) Farmers Market

6-15 (51) Farmers Market


6-15 (54) Farmers Market

6-15 (54) Farmers Market


6-15 (35) TCL Theatre (Grauman's)

6-15 (35) TCL Theatre (Grauman's)


6-15 (33) Walk of Fame

6-15 (33) Walk of Fame


6-15 (38) Foot & Hand prints

6-15 (38) Foot & Hand prints


6-15r (55) Leaving LAX

6-15r (55) Leaving LAX

June 16, 2016 San Diego, Ca

We only had from 8:30am to 3:30pm in San Diego. We decided to take a local shuttle to a small mall and the Seaport Village. They had a lot of unique shops and restaurants (and Starbucks!!) at the village.
We stayed there a few hours then headed back to the ship. Roger made a stop for a tour at the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum that was berthed near our ship.

6-16 (3) Seaport Village

6-16 (3) Seaport Village


6-16 (41) San Diego port

6-16 (41) San Diego port


6-16 (6) Sail away party

6-16 (6) Sail away party


6-16r (8) San Diego sunset

6-16r (8) San Diego sunset

We have 7 more ports plus the Panama Canal Transit prior to Miami so I plan to do the last post in Key West and maybe one with a lot of ship board photos. For those few that might interested you might be able get a glimpse of our canal transit at http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html. We are scheduled to transit on June 26th, entering at 6:00am and exiting at 5:00pm local time. There are several cameras covering the length of the canal. We’ll be the white ship with the big O on the stack.

Happy Sailing!!!!!

Posted by pointslj 13:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

RTW May 23, 2016 - June 1, 2016

Samoa and French Polynesia


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

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 (10) Apia, Samoa port dancers


5-23a (24) Falefa Falls at Upolu

5-23a (24) Falefa Falls at Upolu


5-23a (31)  Sopo'aga Falls

5-23a (31) Sopo'aga Falls


5-23r (26) Papapapaitai Falls

5-23r (26) Papapapaitai Falls


5-23a (44) Tafatafa Beach

5-23a (44) Tafatafa Beach


5-23a (37) Beach lunch

5-23a (37) Beach lunch


5-23a (38) Aggie Grey Dance Troupe

5-23a (38) Aggie Grey Dance Troupe


5-23r (3) Village Gathering house

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

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 (15) Pago Pago tour bus!!!


5-23b (47) Flower Pot rock

5-23b (47) Flower Pot rock


5-23b (52) Carved tree stump

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

5-24r (11) Tafola Village


5-23b (38) Sleeping fale

5-23b (38) Sleeping fale


5-23b (39) Cooking 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

5-27 (16h)Lagoon, Tahaa & Raiatea Islands


5-26 (11) Coral Reefs

5-26 (11) Coral Reefs


5-26r (5) Coral Reefs

5-26r (5) Coral Reefs


5-26 (33) Raiatea, FP port

5-26 (33) Raiatea, FP port


5-26 (37) Float Snorkeling tour boat

5-26 (37) Float Snorkeling tour boat


5-26 (39) Heading to snorkel spot

5-26 (39) Heading to snorkel spot


5-26 (42) Taha'a shoreline

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 (15) Bora Bora tour bus


5-27 (9) Bora Bora Snorkeling

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 (16a) Rog Went Off-Roading


5-27 (16b) Gun Guarding Harbor Entrance

5-27 (16b) Gun Guarding Harbor Entrance


5-27 (16c) Shop Doing Fabric Painting

5-27 (16c) Shop Doing Fabric Painting


5-27 (16d) Watching Paint Dry

5-27 (16d) Watching Paint Dry


5-27 (16e)Shops Grounds

5-27 (16e)Shops Grounds


5-27 (16f) And View

5-27 (16f) And View


5-27 (16g) Matira Beach

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 (18) Drinks!!!


5-27 (19) B.M. interior

5-27 (19) B.M. interior


5-27 (21) Happy 32nd Anniversary!!

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 (22) Bruno delivering cake


5-27 (25) Party time

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 (9) Papeete from dock


5-28r (28) Papeete port

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 (4) Striped fish, Huahine, FP


5-29 (6)  Beach at 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

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!!

6-1r (5) Dinner!!


6-1.4 Yellow Fin Tuna

6-1.4 Yellow Fin Tuna


6-1.11 Nuku Hiva statue

6-1.11 Nuku Hiva statue


6-1r (1) Nuku Hiva, FP

6-1r (1) Nuku Hiva, FP

The next entry is for Hawaii

Happy Sailing

Posted by pointslj 21:24 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

May 15, 2016 - May 19, 2016

New Zealand


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW Day #153

May 15, 2016 Wellington, NZ

Sydney weather was nice but it was starting to get cold again so I was a little glad to cross to Wellington which is at the bottom of the North Island instead of going further south in Australia. The ship is docked in Lambton Quay so we took the shuttle bus into town then got on the Cable Car tram up to the top of Kelburn Hill. Construction of the system started in 1899 and was opened on Feb 22, 1902. In 1933 electricity replaced steam as the power source. In 1978 the original system was replaced by a Swiss design. At the top, there is a Cable Car Museum situated in the original Winding house and has 2 of the original cars and the winding gear used to hall them up the steep incline. The hill is so steep that a lot of private houses on the hill have installed their own mini cable car system instead of walking hundreds of steps to their homes.
5-15 (48) Cable car

5-15 (48) Cable car


5-15r (27) 100 year old cable car

5-15r (27) 100 year old cable car


5-15 (11) View from Kelburn Hill

5-15 (11) View from Kelburn Hill

There is also a back entrance to the Wellington Botanical Gardens. The back entrance being at the top of Kelburn Hill, but at least it was all downhill. We had visited this place 3 years ago and found it very nice and large. We were there a couple months earlier in the year so the flowers were more in bloom then but it was still a nice place to walk thru. The garden was established in 1868 and covers 25 hectares with protected forest, exotic trees, plant collections and seasonal displays of bulbs and annual plants. The Lady Norwood Rose Garden contains 300 varieties of roses that bloom from November to May. The Begonia House has a colorful display of the flowers plus bromeliads, air plants, orchids and many hanging baskets.
5-15 (19) Wellington Botanical Gardens

5-15 (19) Wellington Botanical Gardens


5-15 (20) Hydranges

5-15 (20) Hydranges


5-15 (26) Rose Garden

5-15 (26) Rose Garden


5-15 (37) Begonia garden

5-15 (37) Begonia garden

At the main gate, there was a group of folks doing a greyhound dog adoption event. The dogs looked very happy to be in the garden. Then we hiked back up to the top cable car station so we could ride back down and Roger could make a geocaching find near the half-way point.
5-15 (21) Greyhound adoption event

5-15 (21) Greyhound adoption event


5-15 (22) Greyhound at Gardens

5-15 (22) Greyhound at Gardens


5-15 (47) Cache at cable car station

5-15 (47) Cache at cable car station

May 17, 2016 Napier, NZ

We should have docked in Picton, NZ on 5/16 but the harbor pilot on board was concerned about an approaching storm and our chances of leaving the port later in the day. The captain chose to leave and head to Napier. We missed another chance for wine tasting in Picton. In Napier, we had the Hawke’s Bay Express tour. This road train was completely built by the owner and his father to be like an old-fashion steam train. The “steam” engine was built over a tractor chassis. The interior of the 2 passenger cars were very lovely with burgundy velvet seats and brass trim and naturally finished wood.
5-17 (43) Touring train

5-17 (43) Touring train

Napier was almost completely devastated by a 1931 earth quake taking the concrete buildings and the resulting fires taking the wood frame structures. As a result, Napier has the world’s largest concentration of Art Deco buildings. Of the 164 Art Deco style buildings, 140 remain in their original glory. Most of the shop owners participate in the 1930’s theme by dressing in costume. Napier boasts the 3rd largest vintage car club in New Zealand with 500 members and some members have multiple cars. They hold a festival once a year that thousands attend and some ship their vintage cars to Napier from all over the world to participate in the activities. All the residents get involved dressing in period clothing. We had a few of the cars and owners at the pier for display and some passengers hired them for touring the city and wineries.
5-17 (10) Tobacco Building

5-17 (10) Tobacco Building


5-17 (12) Tobacco Building

5-17 (12) Tobacco Building


5-17r (15) Art Deco building Napier, NZ

5-17r (15) Art Deco building Napier, NZ


5-17r (18) Touring cars Napier, NZ

5-17r (18) Touring cars Napier, NZ


5-17r (32) Car display at pier Napier, NZ

5-17r (32) Car display at pier Napier, NZ

The one thing you pick up on very quickly in all these New Zealand ports is that they export timber, lots of timber. In every port there is a section allocated for nothing but timber and other wood products. Monterey Pines were introduced into NZ in 1859 now they make up 89% of all the plantation grown timber. Turns out due to getting more rain here, the trees will grow to maturity in about half the time it takes in California. Raw timber, lumber, plywood and even sawdust are mostly shipped to Asian markets but some actually makes its way to the U.S.
5-17r (37) Napier Port Lumber

5-17r (37) Napier Port Lumber

May 18, 2016 Tauranga, NZ

The ship was docked in the town of Mt. Maunganui, a small quite village very close to the pier. We walked into town looking for some Pepsi and Chips but none to be had. There were a lot of possum and merino wool items made in NZ so I got a warm pair of socks. We got caught in a rain storm so ducked into a restaurant/bar called Latitude 37 for lunch and a beer. The area is known for its green-lip mussels so the chef had them on the buffet menu that night.

About 43 miles south of Tauranga is the resort town of Rotorua. This site is famous for the many Thermal Reserves. There are many hot springs, mud pools and geysers in this area and a major producer of Kiwifruit. Worth a visit if you are ever in the area as we did 3 years ago.

May 19, 2016 Auckland, NZ

Our tour was to the Waitomo Glowworm Cave. There was a 3 hour bus ride to the caves passing by lush dairy land and farms of the Waikato Valley. The caves were found in 1887 by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau using a raft and candles to float into the cave entrance. Guided tours started in 1889. Once in the cave, we walked around limestone formations of stalagmites and stalactites forming pillars of beautiful proportions. We boarded a boat for a cave river ride in complete darkness and silence. On the ceiling of the cave were millions of bio-luminescent glow worms that stick to the cave. The worms extinguish their lights when disturbed by noise. The boatman pulled the boat through the river by using a series of ropes to keep from using an engine or oars. Sorry, no photos allowed inside cave.
5-19 (12) Cave guides from 1920

5-19 (12) Cave guides from 1920


5-19 (8) Cave exit

5-19 (8) Cave exit

Following the cave tour, we had lunch at Crosshills, a working dairy farm that had been in the family for 3 generations. The original part of the farmhouse has the old, homey, weathered look with moss on the concrete and over-grown shrubs. The lunch consisted of white wine, salad, lamb, meatloaf, vegetables, bread and home-made ice cream in an ice bowl and berry sauce on it. YUMMY!!!! Roger really enjoyed the meatloaf.
5-19r (7) Auckland farm land

5-19r (7) Auckland farm land


5-19 (15) Lunch at Farmhouse

5-19 (15) Lunch at Farmhouse


5-19r (20) Farmhouse grounds

5-19r (20) Farmhouse grounds


5-19r (28) Farmhouse

5-19r (28) Farmhouse

5-19r (38) Auckland at night

5-19r (38) Auckland at night

Next entry is French Polynesia and Samoa

Happy Sailing!!

Posted by pointslj 19:30 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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