Our imminent arrival at Tahiti was initially exciting, when we saw the island from about 30 miles out during our approach. But the closer we got, the more we could tell this was a very busy place with a large port cargo operation and a crowded and busy city with lots of traffic (we were told during our excursion that there are more cars than people on the island).
For no particular reason, I’d always had an image in my mind of Tahiti as an exotic and peaceful beautiful place with lots of beaches and huts out over the gorgeous clear water. It probably has all of those things elsewhere on the island, but we sure didn’t see them 😦
On a better note, we were happy to meet up with new friends Ron and Marilyn for dinner after our evening docking on the first day:
The next morning prior to our excursion, we had a chance to enjoy a nice swim and hot tub soak in the ship’s outside hot tub and infinity pool. Located on the 8th deck at the rear of the ship, it was the perfect spot from which to look down on the city. We had the pool to ourselves since most folks had already left for their excursions, while ours was scheduled for late morning..
After walking a couple miles of laps around the ship’s deck track, we joined the included walking tour excursion to visit the Presidential Palace, Papeete Market, Polynesian Parliament and Notre Dame Cathedral. We learned that Tahiti is the largest island of the French Polynesians, with the city of Papeete as the capital. Tourism, black pearls and vanilla are the big industries here.
The excursion took us on a walking tour only through the busy and noisy downtown area. I had no idea the island holds 180,000 residents! Had I known that and done more research we definitely would have taken one of the optional excursions that offered a Jeep ride to other, more secluded and unspoiled parts of the island. Our bad! To be fair, we did learn quite a bit about the history and culture of the island during our walk.
Teva knew his stuff
One of the tikis that protects the palace
On a side note, in addition to the amazing cuisine we’ve been enjoying so far, we’re also happy to report that the ship is picking up local fresh food at each stop and serving it for dinner the same evening. At Nuku Hiva, we saw fishermen cleaning freshly-caught ahi tuna as we arrived at the dock, and guess what we had for dinner that night? My goodness, possibly the best ahi I’ve ever had! Then at Tahiti, we had wahoo fish, the first time for me. it was delicious as well.
Very fresh and delish
More good news is that I’ve already gained 4 pounds by eating everything in sight. My back problem has improved enough that I’m going to the gym daily so I can move that new weight to the areas of my body where it belongs – wish me luck!
Now we’re hoping for a more quiet and exotic experience at our next stop – Bora Bora!