Charming Raiatea

Raiatea Travel Blog

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I woke about 6:00, showered, dressed, checked e-mail and was back in the room when breakfast was delivered at 7:00. About the same time, we tied up at the dock in Raiatea. This is the only port besides Papeete where we don’t have to tender in and that’s so much easier!

We’d signed up for the “Tahaa Pearl Farm & Motu Mahaea” so 26 of us boarded a boat right near the ship and headed out for a 25 minute ride to a pearl farm in Faaha on nearby Tahaa.

Back on the ship shortly after noon, we showered off the sand and salt and headed back to town. We were going to do a bit of shopping but, except for the shops near the dock, most stores were closed for Ascension Day. We bumped into Bill and Linda and enquired as to why they had missed dinner.

It turns out that they learned last night that Linda’s mother had just died! They had packed their bags and would be leaving the ship shortly to fly home. What a horrible thing to happen! They seemed like very nice people but because they sat at the other end of the table, we had never even learned their last names or much else about them. Somehow, we'd just not run into them other than at the table.

We had a wonderful lunch at La Brasserie Quai des Pêcheurs right by the ship. I had mussels and Lin had a local fish (we didn’t catch the name) in vanilla sauce. Both were great. For dessert, I had profiteroles and Lin had bananas in a sabayon sauce. It occurred to me sitting there that I could not remember ever feeling so relaxed. When I thought about it, I realized that every muscle in my body was at ease.

That's Bora Bora in the distance
This is truly heaven. After lunch, we had a great time at the shops talking to the locals and we bought a few local handicrafts.

Princess had arranged for a 5:15 show in the Cabaret Lounge put on by local musicians and dancers. It was great! One little girl was 4 years old and her little hips could move like a hummingbird's wings! She was cute, too, in that she was very professional when performing and a typical 4-year-old when waiting for others. We made the mistake of sitting in the front row and, probably because of my white hair, I got pulled in twice to make a fool of myself! Other than that, the show was phenomenal.

After the show, we bumped into Jesse and Pat and invited them to return to the Brasserie for dinner but they declined.

However, they invited us to join them tomorrow at Bloody Mary’s on Bora Bora.

After changing, Lin & I returned once again to Le Brasserie Quai des Pêcheurs, this time for dinner. Dinner was every bit as good as lunch. We both had a veal medallion in a sweet chèvre sauce. For dessert, I had crêpes with vanilla ice cream and Grande Marnier and Lin had a warm coconut tart. I’d noticed during the day that there were still holiday (i.e. Christmas) decorations hung over the street. I was shocked to now see them lit!

After we re-boarded, we headed for the deck party by the pool. There was more local entertainment and then a lot of the typical nonsense. It was a hoot. We got to bed at about 11:30. Weather was cloudy but this was probably the best day so far. If I ever go AWOL, you'll find me on Raiatea!!

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The islands of Raiatea and Tahaa were originally one island and they are contained within the same atoll. Except for the town of Uturoa on Raiatea and a pearl farm on Tahaa, we saw little of the islands. We fell in love with charming Uturoa. It's not especially pretty but it's the poster-child for "quaint". It reminded us very much of what Grande Case, St. Martin was like during our initial visit in 1983. The dock area has been built up to capitalize on the cruise ship trade but, as elsewhere, the people we friendly and definitely not pushy. There are some nice restaurants on the docks and we enjoyed our lunch at La Brasserie Quai des Pêcheurs so much, we returned for dinner!

As I said, we saw little of Tahaa except for the pearl farm and what we could see from the boat. It is rugged, sparsely populated and beautiful! I understand that the lagoon surrounding these islands is the only one where large ships can circumnavigate the islands while within the lagoon.

Thats Bora Bora in the distance
That's Bora Bora in the distance
Christmas in May???
Christmas in May???
Chris learns to hula
Chris learns to hula
photo by: jhwelsch