RSSC Paul Gauguin Cruising Review

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Motu, French Polynesia

Motu 1/4 - Taha'a Motu Mahana Monday, January 12, 2004
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Sunrise

Sunrise over the South Pacific

I awoke at 5:30 a.m. to a beautiful sunrise. Since good quality sunsets are hard to come by here, I opt to also try and film the sunrise. Usually by late afternoon, the clouds have gathered enough to obscure most of the horizon. This is summer, and rainy season. Even with some early morning clouds, today was beautiful, hot and sunny.

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Movie-Motu Sunrise

Anchors Aweigh

Lagoon View

We picked up anchor at about 7:00 a.m. for a short voyage to Taha'a and dropped anchor at about 8:15 a.m. The ship anchors just off the main city, and is between Taha'a and the various Motu's which are small islands that are on the outer reef.

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Movie-Motu Beach Lagoon View

Beautiful Water

Palm Tree and Lagoon

The lagoon water here is an indescribable color. It has various hues which reflect the Sun, Moon and clouds into an artists palette.

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Movie-Motu Beach and Palm Tree

Distant Islands

Dock at Motu

Off in the distance you can see the tall volcanic peaks of Bora Bora. The top of the peaks seem always to be cloud encrusted, which gives it that extra bit of mystery.

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Movie-Motu Palm Tree and Ship

Motu

Beach

At 10:30 a.m. I boarded the first tender to the Motu, which is a short 10 minutes away.

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Movie-Motu Lagoon and Other Motu

Arrival

Motu

The first impressions of the Motu are its sheer beauty. The shallow waters which surround the sugary beaches and swaying coconut trees reflect the image of pure tropical paradise.

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Movie-Motu Beach View 2

Out Island Service

Floating Bar Service

At the launch pier, there is a display of champagne and wines. Just off the beach is a bartender, with a floating bar-- which even has martini's. The beach has sea-kayaks and shaded chairs and just off the beach is a large open-air bar and food service area. They have a stack of fresh coconuts which when used for a drink, they lop off the top and mix a fresh coco-loco which is quite refreshing in the tropical heat. They're a bit heavy to carry, but look really cool. What really surprised me was when I asked for a Melontini-- and they actually had Midori and Vodka on the floating bar in the lagoon. This is living.

Drinks on the Lagoon
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Movie-Motu Bora Bora Distance Pan

Lunch on the Motu

Buffet Lunch

An incredible lunch was served at about noon, which included a salad bar, fruit and grill. Food is served buffet style however there were more than enough wait staff to carry your plate and drinks. With on 138 passengers and about 179 crew, the service makes you feel like royalty. The grilled burgers and fish were excellent. The salad and fresh fruit choices were also good. Choice of fish included Mahi-Mahi, Tuna or Swordfish.

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Movie-Motu Outrigger

Activities on the Motu

Buffet

Waterborne activities include sea-kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, water-skiing while beach activities included a coconut workshop, native dress tying, massage and just relaxation. I had a 30 minute massage which was $40 and was quite relaxing. The clear waters of the lagoon are only about 2-3 feet deep in many places, with some regions approaching 5-6 feet so it was quite shallow enough to enjoy the myriad of tropical corals, fish and other marine life.

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Movie-Motu Beach Plant

Summer Heat and Precautions

Fresh Fish and Burger Prepared a-la minute

I can't stress enough to bring alone and apply some very high SPF sunscreen. The Sun is intense. On a good day, you'll get a few rain showers to break the heat and relentless Sun. Drink lots of water. On this ship, the bottled water is free, so drink as much as you can. It's easy to get dehydrated. When in the water, the Sun is magnified, so be aware of your time. If it's cloudy, you can get a severe burn, so don't let the overcast fool you. When in the water, wear some type of aqua sock or footwear. If you step on coral and get cut, the infection will not go away unless treated. Also, you don't want to step on a ray with bare feet, or other marine life.

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Movie-Motu Radar Bridge

Tender Service to the Ship

Lunch with Friends

The tender operates on the half-hour from arrival until 5:00 p.m., weather permitting. I headed back to the ship at 3:30 p.m. to catch up on some writing and digital photos.

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Movie-Motu Ship Stern

Sunset Cocktails at La Palette

Tiki Hors'd-vors

I make it a tradition to have a martini at sunset. La Palette serves up some pre-dinner delights.

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Movie-Motu Sunset from Ship

Dinner at Pacific Grill

Mahi Mahi

The Pacific Grill is open only a few evenings during the cruise, and is located next to the pool. Hal (the piano bar player) suggested this as an alternative to Le Etoile for dinner and it was a great idea. I started off with tuna sashimi, followed by chicken satay, shrimp cakes and then a medley of tuna, swordfish and Mahi-Mahi for an entree. I also ordered a steak since it was being grilled outdoors. A wonderful mango salsa accompanied the fish, which really made the entire meal. Overall, I would have to say that while this is the least formal of the dining options, it was the best. I would even venture to say that the quality of the food was the best ever on all of my cruises. It was truly wonderful.

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Movie-Motu Sunset

Moon over the Ocean

Sunset at the Motu

The three quarters Moon tonight cast its beam over the ocean like somebody had dumped a million little diamonds over the water. It was one of those tropical Moons of which novels are made of.

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Movie-Motu Pier View

Ships Information

Newsletter Front

Newsletter

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Ships Information

Newsletter Back

Newsletter

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Additional Photographs: Motu 1/4 - Taha'a Motu Mahana

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