Cruise Specialists hosts Steve and Wendy Bodenheimer are continuing to share their journey with us from aboard the 2016 Holland America World Cruise. In part one they shared the experience of navigating the Panama Canal and today they take us to the equator.
Here we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, having just crossed the Equator early this morning. We are enjoying some beautiful weather and calm seas. For the last three nights, our clocks have been turned back one hour as we make our way West.
AT SEA DAYS
We’ve settled into an easy routine for our days at sea. Early morning is the best time to walk the deck, so we try to get in a couple of miles and then we have morning Chat Time to meet with our Cruise Specialists Guests. We have also hosted two dinner parties for some of our Cruise Specialists guests in the Italian restaurant on board. With about 30 people at each dinner, it was just the right number to be able to socialize!
Our days are full of activities, meetings, dinners, lessons, and lectures. There is so much to do, it can be overwhelming. We do go to the afternoon dance lessons, which have been well-attended and we’ve arranged to give private lessons to a few of our guests. We also gave an informal talk about geocaching and have a number of people interested in getting started.
Although we were warned that satellite reception would be non-existent during our Pacific crossing, it has been with us on and off – good enough for the football fans on board to watch the playoff games.
So we got through 8 days at sea. By the end, the natives were getting restless and anxious to set foot on land. Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands was our first stop. This is one of the most unspoiled places you will ever find, in spite of regular cruise ship visits.
Our last visit here three years ago resulted in one of our favorite geocaching adventures – to the top of the scenic overlook with a 7-mile walk back down to the port area. There is very little to see or do here other than admire the beauty. We did take the walk along the shoreline and visit the church, with its famous native carvings.
After another day at sea, we reached Rangiroa. This is a unique configuration of islands that from above, look like a string of pearls lying on the water. The land portions are very narrow and long, forming a large natural lagoon that is protected from the currents.
We found a water taxi – actually a small motorboat – to take us across the channel and discovered we were still about six miles from the town, which limited options to snorkeling or just walking around to explore. However, once getting to the other side of the channel, you could get to the black pearl farm, the beach, or find another ride to town.
This is a place to really get away from it all.
In startling contrast, our next day was spent in Papeete, Tahiti which is the largest island and largest city in French Polynesia.
Today, we lead a shore excursion our Cruise Specialists Guests. It was a full morning drive along the West Coast of the island with selected stops.
We visited the Arahurahu Marae, a sacred archaeological site; the Spring Garden of Vaipahi with its peaceful trails and splendid waterfall; and the Museum of Tahiti and its Islands. We tasted some local beer at the Paul Gauguin Restaurant and enjoyed the dramatic scenery all along the way. After our tour we returned to the city and due to the overnight port stay we had no rush to return to the ship.
We decided to take a short but very steep hike up a trail to a local landmark. It’s a large white cross that is clearly visible from the city and looks like it is perched in the middle of a forest on the hillside above the business district. Many of the passengers and crew were venturing out in the evening to partake of the local night life. We were happy to have a quiet dinner in the dining room and watch the Polynesian folkloric show with its spectacular costumes, drum music, and energetic dancing.
Don’t miss out on your chance to experience the world!
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