Tahiti has always been on our travel list. Always. But each and every time it got eliminated from consideration as we couldn’t use our frequent flyer points, our (much) preferred way to travel. But in 2018, United added Papeete, Tahiti, as a direct flight from San Francisco. Sign us up! It was also our 25th wedding anniversary, so it was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate.
Where is Tahiti?
Far away - 4200 miles southwest of San Francisco in the South Pacific. Tahiti is part of the Society Islands and home to Papeete, the capital. But it’s also part of of any area called French Polynesia, made up of 118 islands and atolls, of which only 67 are inhabited.
Touring the Society Islands. PC: Paul Gauguin
First stop - A 45 minute ferry ride from Papeete to the island of Moorea .Three days to relax before boarding the cruise ship. Because you need to relax before boarding a relaxing south sea cruise, right?
We then boarded the Paul Gauguin ship for a seven day cruise. I’m not a huge fan of cruising, but I must say that this one was so relaxing and had such exceptional service, we’re talking about maybe going again next year!
We took excursions each day - snorkeling, swimming with stingrays and sharks, pearl farms, and touring one of the islands. The water was spectacularly warm and clear. In fact, it was the warmest water we’d ever encountered and the sea life rivaled that of the Great Barrier Reef. Did I say we enjoyed it? Yes we did.
Tahitian pearls. Heard of them? I would guess you have. Everywhere you go there are pearls for sale. Every island, every town, every village. And, most excursions!
Tahitians, both men and women, regularly wear flower crowns. Some are simple, others quite elaborate and surprisingly heavy. Tahitians also honor their family history with traditional tattoos. As a bit of history, tattoos were banned by missionaries as barbaric in the late 1800s but are now making a resurgence among both men and women, along with the traditional Tahitian language (French is the local language).
One of the stops on our cruise was the idyllic island of Bora Bora. The cruise ship owned a small private island along the huge lagoon that surrounds the island . Steve spent the day floating and playing petanque and I had a blast trying out my new photography crystal ball.
We celebrated our 25th anniversary with private dinner on the back of the ship.
I leave you with a couple of photos of my favorite Tahitians. They capture the innate joy and peace of the Tahitian people. It was an honor to get to take their photo.
Au revoir, Tahiti. May we meet again!