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Raiatea & Taha’a, French Polynesia

March 4, 2014 – Tuesday – Raiatea & Taha’a, French Polynesia

My excursion this morning is called Land and Sea of Taha’a, which involves a boat ride to Taha’a, the sister island to Raiatea, where we are picked up by 4X4 trucks and taken on a tour of a black pearl farm, and then a vanilla plantation. Then we return to the boat and go to a motu for a swim and snorkel. I’m very impressed with the island of Taha’a. The roads are paved, the houses are neat and tidy, and the infrastructure is all there. This contrasts with Bora Bora, where they have dirt roads and everything is done in a haphazard way. The swimming and snorkelling is in shallow water, and I spot several Puffer fish – a first on this trip.

Our departure this afternoon is most interesting! Instead of leaving through the opening in the reef adjacent to the harbour that we entered through, the captain and pilot opt to take us on a scenic cruise between Raiatea and Taha’a, heading towards Bora Bora, but along the shoreline of Taha’a. A spectacular sunset occurs just south of Bora Bora as we sail away, and there are rain storms and huge cumulo-nimbus clouds to the west of us. We even see a funnel cloud appear out the bottom of a particularly large, dark cloud!

I had hoped to see a Green Flash as the Sun set this evening, but it was not to be. Despite this, I take some wonderful sunset photos, some including Bora Bora in the distance. The shoreline along Taha’a is absolutely stunning as we sail along in the early evening hours. It is a beautiful ending to a wonderful day, as I go back inside to get dressed for dinner.

Map of my photos taken on Raiatea & Taha'a

Map of my photos taken on Raiatea & Taha’a

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Corinto, Nicaragua

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – Day 23 – Corinto, Nicaragua

As the ship approaches the harbour, the volcanic mountain range is visible in the distance with their characteristic cone shape. The dock is right at the end of the main street of the little port town of Corinto. I am not signed up for any shore excursions today, but a friend and I walk through the town late this morning to have a look around. It is hot and humid, and without a doubt this is the poorest country we have visited so far. Despite that, the vendors and people are not persistently selling to the crowds of tourists leaving the ship. They smile and seem happy, so it’s nice to see they have some pride and dignity despite not having much.

It is great to stay aboard the air-conditioned ship for the rest of the day. I read my e-book and sip a cold Beck’s beer on the shady side of the ship in the warm, tropical air. The more I travel, the more I understand that what I appreciate most about my time away is the “down time”.