Arriving in Tahiti

We arrived in Papeete around 10 pm on Sunday the 15th and went to the Hilton, where we spent the night and the next day, getting used to the time zone difference. On Tuesday, we flew to Raiatea, where we headed into town.

To the Ship!

When we arrived in Raiatea, we headed to town, where the boat was docked. There we dropped our bags, and were told to come back at 12, in 2 hours. 2 hours later we came back, to find the boat gone! After some digging and questioning, we discovered that we were supposed to meet the captain and the dock where we were waiting, and somebody was supposed to have told us that. Eventually, the boat came back, and we boarded it.

The rest of Day 1 on the boat

We then sailed to a mini-island off the coast of Raiatea, where we swam with sharks and stayed the night.

Day 2 on the boat – Sailing

The next morning we started with a refreshing early morning swim followed by a healthy breakfast of Nutella and pancakes. The next order of action, you ask? To Bora Bora! on sail too. We made good time too in 4 hours and were there by lunch.

Day 3 – Bora Bora Diving Expedition.

This morning we woke up at 7 am so that we could go diving. The first dive site was Anau. This first dive was for Manta Rays, which can grow up to 23 feet.

Dive 1 – Anau Bay Dive

We got down into the water, but the visibility was very low. We swam around for a while and saw two Manta Rays swim by. There was coral right at the surface and lots of little fishes.

What Manta Rays Are

Manta Rays, also known as Eagle Rays, belong to the genus Mobula. They are entirely harmless, but you should not touch them. Manta Rays are also extremely intelligent and live for at least 40 years. Manta is the Spanish word for blanket, and the large triangular fins, in a way, look like a large blanket. Manta Rays also have the largest brain-to-body weight ratio of any living fish. Manta rays birth little Manta-Ray babies about every two years, which makes them vulnerable to overfishing. Mata Rays sometimes leap out of the water, but scientists are still baffled about why they do this, though some think it might have to do with mating ritually or removing parasites.

All of this to say, That dive was incredible. I wonder what the next one will be like.

Dive 2 –  Teavanui Pass: Open Ocean Dive

We left our first dive site, went\ beyond the wave break, where the reef is, and into the open ocean. The water had super high visibility, up to about 30 feet. There was no big coral near the surface like the last dive, but straight down for about 20 feet. At the bottom, there were lots of pretty fishes and coral. The nice current of the waves breaking was pleasant, but it also made me slightly seasick. We stayed under the water for about 30 minutes at 45 feet.

That night we went out to dinner at Saint James Restaurant, with GF bread and excellent Lamb Chops that came out in a smoking glass cake covering. It was so cool!

Maupiti: Day 4

Since we were moving in the night, there was a sickening swishing a rocking, and I had a terrible sleep. We got up again at 7 am to go swim with the Manta Rays close-up. It was so cool! When we got back, we had tasty Nutella-covered pancakes and pineapple. At breakfast, everyone talked about how loud it was in the night and how they slept terribly. I could relate. It was super hot, so I got in and went snorkeling. It was very clear water, and the fish would swim around you. I stayed in the water for basically the rest of the day. When I got out, some people went and did activities on the island, and I swam in the water. For dinner that night, we had more tuna, and for dessert, GF chocolate cake. Delicious!

Day 5: Back to Bora Bora

It was lovely sailing back to Bora Bora. We sailed most of the day, and then it got stormy. I decided to get in anyway and had a great time. We stayed there, and I snorkeled for a while longer. It was very enjoyable, and we did lots of free diving.

Day 6

Day 7

Getting off the Ship

Day 6: Back to Taha’a

The next day we sailed back to Taha’a, and it was about a four-hour motor. We stopped without anchoring so that Captain Wen could drop us off at shore so we could visit the pearl farm. A worker at the pearl farm explained how they grew pearls.

Explanation of how they grow pearls

First, they get oysters from the coral reefs, then open them just a little bit. They are not looking for natural pearls because they only grow in about 1 in 15,000 oysters. They go to the Mississippi River in the US and take the shells from the giant clams there. Then they cut them into a perfect ball, cover them with a substance called the mother of pearl from another oyster, and stick them into a specific spot in another oyster. Then they take it to a guy who carefully drills a hole through the same side of the oyster and then puts them in a net to stick them in the water. They put them in a net because some kinds of fish break into the oyster, and then it dies. Over a period of one and a half years, a pearl formed over the rounded shell. It was fascinating.

Next, we returned to the boat and motored to the other side of the island to see the vanilla farm. They dropped us off at the shore in the dinghy, and we went down the road to the vanilla farms.

Vanilla Farm Sign

They told us how they grew the vanilla in a little place with some seats.

Explanation of How They Grow Vanilla

Vanilla usually grows on vines creeping up trees. The tree leaves to shade them from the sun, and they find moisture from the humid climate and the moisture in the ground. They also put coconut husks at the base of the trees to help with hydration while composting the coconuts. Once they harvest the beans from the tree, they would take the vanilla bean and lay them out on a table with a cotton cloth over them so they can dry and the birds don’t eat them. Then they take the juicy stuff out of the middle and make it into a vanilla paste, powder or extract. After the presentation, we went to the shop to see if we wanted to buy vanilla. 

After that, we went back for some more snorkeling after the boat had moved to a different spot and anchored.

Day Seven: The Last Day –

0n the last day, I got up and had cereal because we were out of pancakes. I decided to get back into the water because this was our last day. I took a paddle board under the catamaran and tied the ropes to the anchor. There were mini waves, and we would try to stand up on one paddleboard and see who could stay up the longest. We then motored back to the port we started from and said our last goodbyes.

See You In New Zealand!