Tahiti 2011:
Day 3 - Tahiti


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Tahiti 2011: [Day 1 - Moorea] [Day 2 - Tahiti] [Day 3 - Tahiti ] [Day 4 - Huahine] [Day 5 - At Sea] [Day 6 - Rangiroa] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Raiatea] [Day 9 - Bora Bora] [Day 10 - Bora Bora] [Day 11 - Moorea] [Day 12 - Tahiti] [Day 13 - Tahiti] [Day 14 - Coming Home]

Tuesday, February 22: We awoke before sunrise every day. The ship had stayed in Papeete overnight so we could have another day on the big island of Tahiti.
Moorea was looking especially mysterious and beautiful surrounded by the pink hues of dawn and the blue and grey shades of the Maersk containers.
We had our first Princess breakfast and were very impressed: banana pancakes, smoked salmon, potato cakes, bread pudding, scrambled eggs with ham, fresh fruit, and the best cruise ship muesli Debbie's ever tasted thanks to the minimal use of raisins and a nice touch of honey.
Up on deck, we were pleased to see a sunny, cloud-free day. We heard from other passengers that it had rained all morning the day before, stopping just before our ferry arrived from Moorea. Coincidence? We think not.
Our morning 4x4 tour departed bright and early from the dock. Our guide, Timaeva, showed us where we'd be heading.
We took the circle-island highway toward the east.
We passed beautiful beaches.
At Papenoo, we turned right toward the center of the island into Papenoo Valley.
Timaeva showed us a hibiscus blossom that had turned color from yellow to orange.
We saw little waterfalls ...
... and bigger waterfalls.
At a stop along the creek, our guide showed us a yellow hibiscus bloom and some leaves used for dinner plates.
Time to cross the Papenoo River. We had two options: the lame way via the bridge on the right, or the awesome way through the water.
We chose the awesome way and it was, in fact, awesome.
Another beautiful waterfall. Everyone in our group took a photo of everyone in our group in every combination. The photo taken of us was blurry and you already know what we look like, so let's just gaze on the waterfall instead.
This is looking back in the direction of the coast.
This may be the most photographed of the Papenoo waterfalls. Everyone is careful to crop the photo so you can't tell that this water flows into a man-made lake caused by a dam just downstream. That knowledge doesn't make the waterfall any less impressive though.
Looking back along the road the surrounds the man-made lake, you can almost see the dam toward the back.
The road had plenty of potholes, or in this case, more like ponds. They were freshly filled with water after the rains the day before.
Further up, we made another stop along the river to enjoy the views.
It was pretty in both directions.
Spent hibiscus blossoms were scattered attractively on the river rocks.
Ground cover containing small yellow blossoms spread out across the river banks.
Our little friend, the sensitive plant (mimosa) performed its trick of closing up immediately when touched. This never fails to amuse us.
Back into the truck, because there's more to see!
At this point, waterfalls were so commonplace that we didn't even slow down for this one.
We stopped at this scenic overlook before turning around and heading back down the valley.
On the trip back, we stopped at a marae. Our guide cautioned us to be very careful on the muddy, slippery rocks and for good reason.
Here's the main area of the marae.
While mosquitoes ate us alive, Timaeva pointed out every different tree on the grounds, including this breadfruit tree ...
... and this banana tree. We were covered with bug repellant and the mosquitoes bit us anyway. It was the only downside of an otherwise fantastic tour. Where were the bug bands we had bought specifically for this problem? Back on the ship. Yeah, we were morons.
We returned to the awesome/lame crossing option, and this time, we stopped for some refreshments and a swim.
First, the refreshments -- one of the Rotui fruit drinks from the juice factory on Moorea. Tasty!
Next up, swimming, but first we watched another 4x4 power through the river the same way we had done. Who needs a boring old bridge?
Debbie was the first to get in after our guide. The river's current is very strong here, so the trick is to face into the current while wedging your feet into the river rocks so you don't get washed away. It was very invigorating but made it a challenge to keep one's swimming garments intact.
Come on in, Tom! You're next! No one else in our group dared, proving once again that it is best to do as much travel as possible while you're still young enough to try things.
On the drive back, we passed One Tree Hill and promised ourselves that we'd stop there when we explored the island on our own the following week.
This was an odd little stop -- our guide pointed out some of the fruits and vegetables at this stand but we didn't stop to get out to purchase anything.
Roundabouts mean we must be getting close to Papeete.
We stopped at Lafayette Beach, one of Tahiti's famous black sand beaches.
We had never been on a black sand beach before, and we have to say that they are a little overrated, because it just made the clear water look muddy.
The water looked like a lot of fun though. It was a great location for boogie boards and other water toys, ...
... including these fantastic dolphin toys these happy little girls were playing with.
All surfers start out as beginners like these cute little kids washing off their boards at the end of their surfing lesson.
Our first Princess lunch passed our inspection. There was always a great selection of soup for Tom, pre-made sandwiches for Debbie, various fried rice mixtures for both of us, and a wide variety of ethnic and comfort foods.
In the afternoon, we ventured a few blocks into Papeete to the public market. There was fresh fish, fresh flowers, fresh fruit, manoi oil, and Tahitian garments. We didn't need any of those things, so our visit was brief. We were pleased to find that Tahitian vendors are not at all pushy.
When it was time for sail out, we joined the masses on the top deck and enjoyed the bright sun.
Bye-bye, Papeete!
Bye-bye!
Leaving the Papeete harbor points us straight at gorgeous Moorea, so we were compelled to take another photo. Get used to it.
The party was hopping on deck, but we had booked a balcony dinner, so we headed back to our cabin to get ready.
Our dinner was scheduled for 6:30, which was the first reservation available. The waiter came to our cabin the night before to take our order for our cocktails and entrees, then right on schedule, our waiter and an assistant came to set up a full dining table on our balcony and presented us with a small Tahitian orchid bouquet.
Our cocktails, canapes, and bread were served first, ...

... then the ship's photographer took photos of us. One 8x10 photo was included in the package's cost.

Next, a split of champage was served with an appetizer of crab cakes in a pastry basket. After each course was served, the waiter left our cabin to let us enjoy our dinner in private.
The sunset turned the clouds a nice shade of pink as we headed north of Moorea.
The island of Tahiti was still visible in the distance. The next course was a mesclun green salad with pear, walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It was so delicious we forgot to take a photo of it until it was all gone.

Our waiter took this photo of us after serving the main course. At this point, it was dark and the stars were out in full force.
Debbie chose lobster and Tom selected the filet and lobster. Mmmm, lobster.

Dessert was a plate of petits fours with a plate of mousse in five flavors (l-r: mocha, pistachio, chocolate, strawberry, and white chocolate) and a chocolate cup filled with mixed berries. It was so much food that we saved the petits fours in a plastic bag in our refrigerator and enjoyed them over the rest of the cruise. At this point, we tipped our waiter and signed our bill. It was a fantastic experience that we highly recommend.

Day 4 >


Tahiti 2011: [Day 1 - Moorea] [Day 2 - Tahiti] [Day 3 - Tahiti ] [Day 4 - Huahine] [Day 5 - At Sea] [Day 6 - Rangiroa] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Raiatea] [Day 9 - Bora Bora] [Day 10 - Bora Bora] [Day 11 - Moorea] [Day 12 - Tahiti] [Day 13 - Tahiti] [Day 14 - Coming Home]

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