November 23, 2013 – Papeete, Tahiti

Papeete, among the places in French Polynesia, is the biggest, busiest, and most “city” like. Buses, taxis, motorcycles, cars shops, and lots of people, but somehow it still maintains its beauty and “island” feeling. It is always a good place to stock up on toiletries and miscellaneous stuff you have run out of, provided of course you can speak French or are very good with sign language.

We were greeted with hula girls, flowered leis, and a band.

tahiti

bandtahiti

“Downtown” Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, is directly across from the pier, so there is easy access to shops, pharmacies, etc.

downtowntahiti

Last time we were here, there was a Chinese electronic spy ship parked next to us – this time there is a yacht; the “Hetairos”. It is a beautiful luxury ocean racing yacht.

yacht

Today we are off on a catamaran to sail in Papeete harbor and then anchor just inside the reef for some snorkeling.

catamaran

En route, we passed the canoe club – home of the national sport of Tahiti.

canoeclub

And the airport.

planetahiti

The spot we anchored is just inside the reef, between Tahiti and its neighbor island of Moorea, which is our destination tomorrow. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the darker areas in the water, in the middle distance – these are the coral formations which are the target of our swim, since the fish are almost exclusively around the coral.

tahitiislands

Spinner Dolphins playing around the boat as we passed the opening in the reef.

spinnerdolphins

As we headed in the view changed rapidly as rain clouds threatened – but it never rained.

Back on the ship, we cleaned up and headed into town for some shopping – both for gifts and a few necessary items we needed.

The main market in Papeete, which unfortunately was closing at noon (Saturday routine I guess).

tahitimarket

A “brown noser” Moai replica from Easter Island in the local mall.

brownnoser

After shopping we enjoyed walking around Papeete – I am reminded of one of Sally’s T Shirts which I like which says “All Who Wander Are Not Lost!”.

wander

We returned to the ship, and from the Crow’s Nest (a bar on deck 9) I took this sequence of shots which I found interesting of another yacht on the other side of the ship. This shows the process of loading their “launch”, about a twenty foot motorboat, back into the ship. I have seen boats hoisted up to the deck before, but seeing it stashed in a disappearing compartment on the yacht was a new one for me. It also has a helicopter on the deck.

yacht1

yacht2

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yacht4

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Fascinating!

The ship is spending the night here and leaving at 5 in the morning for the short 15 mile trip over to Moorea, tomorrow’s port of call.