RSSC Paul Gauguin Cruising Review

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Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, French Polynesia

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Raiatea, Tahiti French Polynesia

Raiatea 1 Sunday, January 12, 2003
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Papeete
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Bora Bora
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Arrival

Island Map of Raiatea

We arrived at Raiatea around 9am, greeted by the Sun reflecting the most amazing greens and turquoise colors from the coral encrusted waters. The beauty of French Polynesia is the sheer contrast between the flat ocean, and the mountainous peaks, many volcanic (although inactive). There is a map of the island to the right.

(click to enlarge)

Morning

Raiatea Ship Newsletter - Front

Promptly at 10am we had the mandatory lifeboat drill where all the passengers we sent to a prearranged muster station. After that, I went to the singles social at 10:30 hosted by Claudia (from Rio). I was the only one who showed up, but was assured there were a few singles on the ship. After a few mimosa's I watched the local Polynesians perform a number of fastidious dances. A copy of the newsletter is on the right, click on it to view the entire newsletter.

(click to enlarge)

The Heat

Raiatea Ship Newsletter - Back

Follow what the brochures say, this is near equatorial Sun, and everything heats up fast. The stewards were throwing buckets of water on the Teak decks to prevent feet from getting burned. Even my Docksiders got so hot that I had to take them off. As midday approached, the clouds gathered over the mountains to make rain, but only in very select areas, and only for a short while, which helped to cool things down a bit.

Wear sunscreen and a hat
(click to enlarge)

Faaroa River and Island Tour

After taking a launch to shore, a group of us boarded motorized Polynesian outriggers to see some of the island from the ocean, and then venture up the Faaroa River. The scenery is breathtaking. The clouds would gather, rain, then subside over the mountains continuously changing the colors in every imaginable hue of green. As we ventured further up the river, it go shallow to the point where we had to turn around to head back. This river is tropical at its best, with coconut palms and many varieties of banana plants arcing over the shore over the river.

Land Portion

The land portion of the tour started at Taputapautea marea, which is the largest scared site in all of Polynesia, and is where the word Taboo originated (meaning literally do not cross this step). Boarding some off-road trucks we ventured in the the lush tropical foothills of the mountains, stopping a number of times to admire the beauty of the tropical fauna. Rainy season is about 3-4 months long and typically can last into March or April. While it's not completely necessary to bring an umbrella, do bring something to protect your camera. The heat is so intense that you will welcome some drops of cold, refreshing rain.

Island Life

In general, shops are closed on Sunday, so there's not much to do other than see the local sites. There is a flat road around much of the island, and would be perfect for biking, or motorized scooters. The roads are narrow, so take caution.

Evening

This evening was at the La Verandah for French Fare. Was at the table with Mike the cruise director, and Claudia (from Rio) who was a social host. Lorene was the other social host who spoke French, and was also on the Diamond cruise I was on last year through the Panama Canal. Sent a bottle of Champagne to Gabriella, Gaby, and Aldonza from Mexico City to welcome them aboard.

Additional Photographs: Raiatea 1

(click on photos to enlarge)
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Photo Highlights from this Day ... for all photos, please click on the < or > as indicated above. There are five sets of photos for each day of the cruise.

Related Information

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Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, French Polynesia
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