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.
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!
The Paul Gauguin
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.
The glorious ocean
Pearls, pearls, and more pearls
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! The colors were breathtaking.
Pearls are removed and reinserted until they reach the desired size.
Not just for the ladies!
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.