Day 13 - Tahiti
|Friday, March 4: It was yet another perfect day in Tahiti when we awoke. This was the rainy season, but we had fantastic luck with the weather our entire trip, pretty much raining only when it was convenient for us.
|We had ordered room service breakfast, and it arrived shortly after 7:00 AM. We had chosen one American Breakfast (rolls, butter, jam, pineapple juice, milk, ham omelette, fruit salad, sausage) and one Japanese Breakfast (rice, noodles, Japanese omelette, miso soup, tuna sashimi, fish fritters, green tea). It was an insane amount of food, but at $73, it should be. We saved the rolls for lunch and snacks later on, and ate what we could of the rest.
|We tossed the leftover sashimi and fish fritters (minus the breading) to the fish below, ...
|... and they were very happy to help us dispose of our breakfast.
|It's time to do some snorkeling again! We met a couple on the platform who had been on our cruise, so we swapped photography favors with them.
|Enough chit-chat -- let's get in the water.
|Debbie was underwater first, ...
|... so she got this shot of Tom exploding into the water. It was awkward jumping in without hitting the bottom (and potentially squishing that sea cucumber right under the dock) but we perfected the technique of moving our flippers so that we made an arc underwater instead of going straight down. Yeah, we're just that good.
|The reef around the bungalows and further out in the lagoon is fantastic.
|We've tentatively identified this shy guy as a spotfin squirrelfish.
|We had seen these before, so they are fairly common, but they weren't listed in our Tahiti fish book so we don't know what they are.
|We ran into yet another huge school of convict surgeonfish.
|How big? Well, let's put Tom in the photo for some perspective.
|Here's a closeup of the weeds that pop their heads out of the water at low tide.
|Here's some bizarre plant or animal, ...
|... and ditto for this, an orange and white being straight out of Willy Wonka's imagination.
|More pretty purple coral.
|We turned around after a while to start heading back. Here's a shot of Tom towing the snorkel bag with the bungalows in the distance.
|Here are three dusky damselfish doing their best to stare us down.
|This is a yellow boxfish.
|Here's another brownspotted sandperch perching on the sand ...
|... and yet another clam.
|We snorkeled with a group of sixbar wrasses for quite a while, and this was the best shot of them that we got.
|Oooh, pink and white on the same coral!
|This type of coral probably has a name, ..
|... and this type definitely does: staghorn coral, home of at least a half dozen dusky damselfish who are staring at you right this minute.
|Here are some more three-stripe damselfish, ...
|... and a bunch more goatfish with their funny little whiskers.
|We snorkeled under the bungalows and saw moorish idols ...
|... and more of the unidentified yellow fish.
|Check out this guy in the upper right corner. How about them markings, huh?
|The reef turned into sand and we snorkeled as long as we could until the water was about a foot deep.
|We pulled the flip flops out of the snorkel bag, walked up the beach, rinsed the flip flops off in the pool area, and walked across the spiky lawn to the boardwalk, sand free and pain free.
|Nothing compares to the feeling of relaxing on a balcony in the Tahiti sun, freshly showered and accompanied by a cold Coca-Cola Light.
|We saw another huge school of convict surgeonfish swim by below our balcony.
|We headed out to run some errands in the early afternoon. We passed this Maersk container on our way to ...
|... the airport. We wanted to make sure we could find it in the morning and to find out how long it would take.
|Then we turned around and headed back toward the resort. Here's what a freeway looks like in Tahiti.
|We found it strange that Coca-Cola would advertise decorative summer designs, when it is always summer in Tahiti.
|We visited the gas station where we'd been the night before, filling up the car and picking up some snacks for lunch.
|Here's the lily pond back at the resort.
|Lunch is served! We had some leftover rolls from breakfast, some shrimp crackers, and some coconut cookies (like the ones we had eaten in Bora Bora). We saved the gummy candy for later.
|This topless French woman and her boyfriend spent a half hour on the pier outside our bungalow speaking in French.
|In the overcast afternoon, we saw another school of convict surgeonfish. Same one as before? Perhaps.
|Here's Debbie on the swimming platform, ...
|... and here's the view from the platform back to our bungalow.
|We watched this bird and his mate attempt to build a nest in the thatched roof. His mate is holding on to the tiny string of foliage dangling from the thatch.
|We ordered room service again for dinner: panini, club sandwich, lots of French fries, and a fresh bucket of ice. It was rather inconvenient to have to get ice from room service or the bar, especially since it melted within an hour, but after a while, we got used to it.
|We still had a carton of pineapple juice and a bottle of red wine. We both dislike red wine but we like pineapple juice, so we made pseudo-sangria by mixing the two.
|It wasn't half-bad, and it was nice to have cocktails on the balcony.
|It was low tide, so the tops of the weeds were sticking out and skirmishes between fish broke out occasionally.
|Another random glance into the water revealed the usual incredible assortment of fish, this time featuring a flutemouth among the regulars.
|Once again, Debbie stood alone on the balcony gazing into the sea. What's that out there? Look closely. Give up yet?
|It's an octopus again, visible only once he started to move.
|He made his way closer to us for a better look. In this photo, he has changed his colors and created spikes along his body for better camouflage.
|In a flash, he had turned ghostly white, ...
|... then settled down into this color combination for a good long time.
|The sun was setting quickly, and Debbie was finally able to convince Tom that one of us should get in the water to see this guy up close. Tom finally agreed and volunteered.
|Debbie stayed on the balcony keeping an eye on the octopus and guiding Tom toward it, because there's no way he could have found him on his own. Even knowing that he is in the middle of this photo, can you spot him?
|Tom got closer and took this amazing shot. Look closely for the octopus' huge eye in the upper left of his body. Spooky, huh?
|He changed color to solid reddish-brown and started to move. You can see him from his head down to his tentacles in this picture.
|Then he was off like a shot. You can see his blurry tentacles on the lower left and his blurry head in the upper right behind the big chunk of perfectly-focused coral in the center.
|Tom snorkeled back to the beach where Debbie met him with his flip flops.
|Back on our balcony, we turned our attention to the sunset again.
|A lone person in an outrigger paddled by as the sun finally dropped into the ocean.
|We thought the excitement was done for the day, but then Debbie spotted a moray eel in the water below, moving toward the swimming platform.
|We bolted out of our bungalow and got this photo of him swimming toward us on the platform.
|OK, seriously, we're going to watch the sunset now. Moorea is photogenic any time of the day, but especially so at sunset.
|With a morning flight, we decided to apply the remainder of our French Polynesian francs to our hotel bill (with 2000 francs saved for the morning).
|So off Tom went, ...
|... amusing himself with the solar lights on the boardwalk ...
... and capturing this gorgeous photo of the bungalows at dusk.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy