This morning we arrived in Raiatea, French Polynesia.
We docked at 8 am and were able to disembark at 9 am. We had the morning to ourselves because our excursion didn’t start until 2:30 in the afternoon.
As our usual custom, we had room service bring us coffee to start our day. At 7:30 Babs, Kitty, Frank, and I went up to the buffet for breakfast. There is a huge assortment of food of all kinds. I had eggs over medium which were perfectly prepared. Oceania cruise ships have the best variety of well prepared food that I have had enjoyed cruising. Our other traveling companions Tinker (Georgene) and Vidal Falcon opted for breakfast in the Grand Dining room.
After breakfast, Babs and I went into the town shopping. Babs needed to replace the brand new can of hair spray that the TSA agent at LAX confiscated and dumped.
Exiting the ship, there were natives of Raiatea playing Polynesian music and distributing miniature orchids.
The area was enhanced with traditional grass roofed huts where the natives sold merchandise.
We looked in several shops and could not find any. Finally a woman was able to understand what Babs was asking for and gave her directions to the local grocery store. The store had a selection of meats, vegetables, wine, and general merchandise.
There we able to find Babs some hair spray and some badly needed deodorant for myself.
After returning to the ship, we met Frank and Kitty and headed for lunch at the Waves grill. I had the Texan burger, Frank and Kitty the surf and turf burger (steak and lobster tail on a bun, and Babs the hot dog and shrimp salad. Tinker and Vidal were on the excursion that we took later in the day.
Our excursion the Le Truck island tour began at 2:30 pm. Our tour guide, Kathy, loaded us into her vehicle, which was a diesel pickup truck with the truck bed modified into a covered passenger area with benched on either side.
We made a complete circle of the island which is the product of now extinct volcanoes. Kathy passed out red Litchi fruit for everyone to taste. It is a native fruit which once the outer red skin is removed is a sweet, soft, white fruit with a hard seed in its center.
Our initial destination was a tour through what Kathy called a government-owned plantation. To get to the plantation we forded a river.
This plantation was somewhat different from the plantations that I was used to seeing. There were no buildings except for some storage sheds built by persons who had leased small plots from the government. For the most part it was a hodgepodge of different types of coconut palm trees, mahogany trees, breadfruit trees, with a spattering of mango trees.
We stopped and Kathy explained that the reason for all the different coconut trees were due to disease had wiped out some varieties and they found hardier varieties. They had also developed a shorter variety which allowed fasted harvesting in the event of a pending emergency such as a typhoon.
Our next stop was a vanilla plantation. There we saw the traditional way the vanilla bean plant is grown with a tree, rather than posts , were used for the vanilla vine to grow onto. There was also a banana tree along side of the property.
Our last stop was a sacred temple dedicated to Akua the god of war. Here a chieftain explained the importance of the temple.
He then led a tour of the sacred temple and the meaning of the different carving on the stone walls. Constructed in the 16th century, human sacrifices were made to the gods.
On the was back to the ship we passed this protestant church. One of the few churches on the island.
On the way back to the dock we passed some local flora and fauna including these kroton plants and miniature palms.
Tonight we going to the grand dining room for dinner but we offered a reservation at the Toscano’s Italian restaurant. It was very good but not as good as I had remembered it to be.
Tomorrow we will be at the island of Bora Bora where we will be for two days.
Babs Says: In the song “Hotel California” some lyrics say, “This may be heaven, this may be hell”, That sums up my feelings about the island-beauty, wonderful people, gorgeous water, blue skies,heaven! Heat, humidity-hell!