Travelogue, Part 2: Raiatea

I sat on my balcony and watched the sun rise over the ocean the morning of Sunday, June 3rd.
It was unforgettable.
At approximately nine o’clock, we docked on the island of Raiatea, the second largest of the Society Islands of French Polynesia.

Gail and I had booked a shore excursion in the afternoon, so we spent the morning on the ship, lounging by the pool, watching executive chef Paul Ellis give a presentation about the moonfish
Executive Chef Paul Ellis 
and attending the Children of Raiatea show in the Grand Salon. 
The Polynesian music was quite beautiful.
All the performers were talented and enthusiastic.
This little boy was my favorite.
 After lunch, we made our way to the pier and boarded an outrigger canoe for the first portion of the Faaroa River and Island Exploration tour. Led by the knowledgeable and fabulous Bernadette, we glided over the waters of Raiatea’s deep blue lagoon towards the mouth of the Faaroa River, Polynesia’s only navigable river, and saw wild hibiscus, bamboo groves, chestnut trees and more.

Our river captain.
Bernadette.

It didn’t matter where I pointed my camera; there were beautiful sights everywhere.

Over the water bungalows. 

When we could go no farther, we turned around and visited Taputapatea, an ancient Marae constructed of stone which was restored in 1994.

Our guide shared with us the history of the Marae as well as some of the local wonders, like the noni

Some people believe the juice of the noni has medicinal properties.
the tiare, a variety of gardenia that Tahitians wear behind their ears,

Wear it behind your right ear if you’re available, behind your left ear if you are taken.
 and sand crabs. 
I caught just a glimpse. But I’ll share more about the sand crabs later this week.
Then it was time to board an off-road vehicle for a tour of the interior of the island.
This portion of the tour was often terrifying.
I wasn’t sure that wooden bridge was going to support us!
And we were moving too fast to get many good pictures. But I did see coconut drying in the sun
There is a sliding roof that covers the coconut in case of rain.
And lots of agricultural plants, like these coconut trees.
One must always be on the lookout for falling coconuts!
All too soon, our tour was over and it was time to get back on the ship. We quickly showered and dressed, attended the captain’s welcome party, and enjoyed another fabulous dinner in La Veranda.

Asparagus salad.
Broiled shrimp and vegetables.
Chocolate!
 After dinner, I spent some time in the piano bar listening to Ruben’s beautiful music

and then made my way to La Palette disco where many were gathered to view the partial lunar eclipse. It was a late night but I was ready for Taha’a when we tendered at eight o’clock Monday morning. Come back tomorrow for all the details!