Since I am working from both my faulty memory and a journal you
may notice both present and past tense being used. Please bear with
me. This will be sort of long so I try to keep the parts separate.
Hope you enjoy.
Saturday, January 5 -- IT NEVER RAINS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA? We
drove from Scottsdale to San Diego in a one way Avis rental car. We
made unbelieveably good time even though as soon as we crossed the
San Bernardino Mountains we hit rain, wind and clouds. With the
hour we gained, we hit downtown San Diego at 8:30am. Thank goodness
we arranged for early check in.
We settled into our bayview room at 9:00am. The Oosterdam was in
port and she looks huge and magnificient in the rain. We ducked
across the street to Anthonys Restaurant during a lull in the rain.
They serve a pesto butter there for the bread that is divine. The
NE Clam Chowder is pretty darn good too.
There are tons of people in the lobby and it turns out the
Oosterdam had the norovirus on board and due to specialized
cleaning won't allow
any boarding until 4PM. With the rain pouring down that doesn't
leave much for the folks who had to check out to do.
Those of our CC group who stayed at the same hotel had a
preliminary meet and greet at the Elephant & Castle Pub located
in the Holiday Inn. We were there, Cathy and Carol, Elizabeth &
Terry, and Janice and Jo showed up. We had a few drinks and got to
know each other a little bit. We ladies admired each other's shoes
and a good time was had by all.
Sunday, January 6 -- ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM We awakened at 4:30AM and
watched the Dawn Princess arrive at 6AM. The lovely Ryndam arrived
at 6:45. It was still very nasty, rainy and windy. We watched from
our window as two crewman climbed up over the Crows Nest area and
removed the Christmas tree. Drinking hot drinks and feeling toasty
in our room we felt sorry for those two guys out there in the wet
and the cold.
Amazingly the weather broke about 10AM enabling us to pull our
luggage across the street. We entered the terminal at 10:10 and
were in the Lido at 11AM. They checked our luggage for us and we
were off to meet old friends. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 and we
had the obligatory fire drill at 4:15. Due to the weather there
wasn't much of a sail away party going on. The ship was rocking and
rolling and the "barf bags" made their first debut by the
I had early traditional early seating upper at 5:45 at table
303, a table for 10. I explained that I am not there every single
night as I sometimes eat with my DH who always eats in the Lido. My
tablemates were understanding and gracious.
Monday, January 7 -- LITTLE GREEN MEN Oh my, wonderfully rough,
high seas. High winds, rain, cold and fog -- a great first night
aboard! The casino here has started something new. The slot
machines are open 24 hours a day. If you need assistance with your
machine you just fill out a paper, drop it in the box and they deal
with it when the cage opens at 9:00AM. It worked very well and gave
us something to do at 5AM since it was too cold to go outside.
When we went up to the Lido for breakfast we noticed an awful
lot of green people with sea sickness. Having never experienced
that particular malady I feel sorry for them without understanding
how it can happen.
Our CC meet and greet was a great success. The ship provided
coffee, tea, cookies and someone to serve them. 25 of our roll call
showed up although a few were down with the "greenies." Our guests
from the staff were Carol Lagmay, purser; David Woods, culinary
manager; and Michelle Worthley our CD.
We had a little Q&A and all got to know each other. Many of
us have booked the same excursions both privately and through the
ship. We agreed to hold another get together about half way through
the cruise. Thanks to Joe (Clyde3) for the wonderful name tags he
made for all of us.
The show was Club Nevada performed beautifully by the very
talented cast of the Ryndam. The featured vocalists Christopher
Zenner and Beth Purvis. The second leads Joshua Switzer and
Jennifer Quail. They are very, very good. The dancers, Katie
Wendleton, Calli Freyschlag-Parker, Tiffany Jones, Julianne
Wessely, Omar Felix and Chip Nash. A well practiced team that
provided excellent entertainment.
The first formal night dinner was excellent with many choices. I
choose the surf and turf. Later in the evening I sat with friends
on the staff and we were joined by the comedienne Janine Turner and
singer Paul Emmannuel. We had a good evening and lots of laughs.
They are both very talented people.
There are five sea days between San Diego and Hilo. We had some
wonderful lectures by Donna Giesler (The Star Lady), Charlie
Urbanowicz (Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at California State
University), Dan Ostler (Biophysics University of Waterloo, and
married to the lovely Star Lady).
For entertainment we had the funny and lovely Janine Turner,
swing clarinetist Larry "Link" Linkin, the comedy and magic of
Bruce Block and vocal stylings of Paul Emmanuel. I've seen the
first two before and throughly enjoyed seeing all of them. I liked
the timing of the shows 6:30 and 8:30 for the most part.
The band in the Ocean Bar Yu4 is wonderful and we have sailed
with them before also. The pianist Donald in the Crows Nest was
excellent and late at night he would sometimes make up the most
hilarious lyrics to commonly known tunes. Darlene and the HalCats
performed in various venues throughout the cruise.
Friday, January 11 -- HILO, HAWAII (WHERE IS THE SUN???) We
arrived in Hilo and it was still raining. Since we had no tours
planned in Hawaii at all we boarded the bus to Walmart with our
friend Connie while her DH Rick went to see the volcano. We visited
with a friend of ours Leona who owns Lins Lei Shop in the terminal.
Later we took the bus to Hilo Hatties and purchased some island
wear. One sort of has to you know.
Just as an aside this was our 8th trip to Hawaii and we didn't
plan any excursions because we have already done so many and wanted
to save it for French Polynesia so to speak. The weather in Hawaii
way way too cold for us to go swimming while we were there.
It was Hawaiian night on board and everyone was sporting their
island clothing. Very colorful night. It was also the night of the
"VIP" party. We had received our invitation so after a very good
dinner we attended the party. It was held in the Hudson Room, one
of those rooms just past the Wajang Theater.
There were about 40 people there plus the officers. I had a
couple of Lemon Drops and DH had some Sprite. We munched a few
appetizers but having just had dinner weren't really hungry. There
was a nice spread for those who hadn't dined yet. After the party I
went up to the CN and hung out with some friends from the cast that
I have sailed with before. We had a few cocktails and talked for
awhile while Darlene and the HalCats performed.
The sail past Kilauea Volcano was a real bust. It was so cloudy
and rainy you could barely make out a dull glow in the distance. It
was a real shame for those that have never seen it really pouring
out the lava in her full glory. It is a stunning sight when she
shows her stuff.
Saturday, January 12 -- KONA, HAWAII (CHEAP IS STILL CHEAP)
Today was a very sad day for us. We went to visit a friend of ours
who resides in Kona as a working artist and discovered he had been
overtaken by a swift and virulent cancer. We spoke on the phone
with his widow and didn't stay very long in town at all.
I did go in and talk with the Beverage Manager about arranging
some glasses and cheese and crackers or something for our CC get
together on Jan 19. We appeared to have worked it all out when the
Culinary Manager came into the office and advised me that they
would be happy to accommodate me but they would send me a bill.
Astounded I said "Excuse me, a bill? For what?" I was advised that
they no longer provide food for free for private parties. We're
talking 30 or so people, c'mon, some cheese and crackers would kill
'em?? I was not a happy camper when I left the office and am not
certain how we will handle the get together now.
Sunday, January 13 -- LAHAINA, MAUI (ARE WE THERE YET??) We got
up early and grabbed our snorkel gear. Connie and Rick rented a car
and have invited us to join them for a day at the beach. We
tendered into shore and soon the rental car agency van showed up.
We got the rental car and headed out for a spot a friend of Rick's
had told him about. We drove through some of the most beautiful
scenery looking for Hanalua Bay. We took the highway until we ran
out of road. Then we took the scenic route. We were on the side of
a large hill, small mountain, whatever; and could see the shoreline
below us. Eventually we found out where the place was. We arrived
there and found the rain and wind were so bad that the only folks
in the water were the surfers with wet suits. So, we went to
Whalers Village where we did some shopping and had a nice lunch.
Then we returned to the ship. Later that evening DH and I went back
on shore to Bubba Gumps where we had some of the best food. Those
HushPups are pretty darn good.
Meantime on the Lido deck they had the BarBQ and the local
Hawaiian Dance Troup performing. I really think they should hold
these kinds of shows in the main show lounge. Only the very few
folks in the very front could see the show because everyone
starting standing up to take pictures. We finally gave up on trying
to see the show. They showed the movie "The Holiday" in the show
lounge. Later in the evening the Indonesian Crew show was held.
They are great and work so hard to bring us this entertainment
after performing their regular duties all day.
Monday & Tuesday, January 14 & 15 -- HONOLULU, HAWAII
(MALLS ARE THE SAME EVERYWHERE) We got the good dock at Aloha
Towers. We waited until the crowds were off and then walked off to
take a look around. Not much has changed since our last visit. We
went over to the kiosk a friend of ours Trin owns and said hello.
Then we just walked around through the mall and looked through the
windows as not much was open yet.
There are a ton of wonderful things to do in Honolulu. We did
none of them this time around. We did hop on the Bus and go to Ala
Moana shopping center. DH wanted to go to Reyn's and get a good
Aloha shirt. We wandered around there for awhile and then headed
back to the ship. The entertainment Monday was the movie Blue
Hawaii in the show lounge and the harmonica stylings of Bernie
Fields. Not my cup of tea but many thought he was excellent.
Wednesday, January 16 -- NAWILIWILI, KAUAI HAWAII (THE PARTY IS
ON! A CHEESE PLATE BY ANY OTHER NAME) After discussing it DH and I
decided to just get our own stuff for the CC get together. We went
up to Walmart and bought all kinds of good nuts, chips, dips, salsa
and etc. We also picked up some invitations to send out. We took
the shuttle to Hilo Hatties and got dropped off at Anchor Cove
shopping center. We wandered around for a bit and then back to the
We sat at the desks in the promanade deck area and filled out
the invitations. We decided since HAL was being so chintzy on the
cheese and cracker thing we would ask each cabin to bring a cheese
plate from room service. There is more than one way to skin a cat!
Then DH and I split up the floors and took off to deliver our
invites. Since the management was being stuffy we decided we didn't
want any stuffies at our party. So, we invited the entire cast, and
some of the event staff that we liked. Our favorite waitress
Katherine agreed to come in her spare time and pour, etc. We asked
everyone to bring a dollar or two to tip her.
It stayed windy, rainy and chilly throughout our visit to the
Hawaiian Islands. They are just as enticing and lovely as always,
however this time as we sail away from Paradise, another, more
beautiful Paradise is whispering our names. We are heading South,
towards adventure, sea, sun and fun in TAHITI!
Up next, French Polynesia!!
FRENCH POLYNESIA -- IS THAT A WHALE? There are five sea days
between Hawaii and the first port in French Polynesia. They were
filled with many activities and games that I won't bore you
We did see a lot of sea life on this cruise. Lots of flying
fish, a whale or two and dolphins playing hide and seek in the
The ship is in very good shape. She is elegant, clean and well
cared for. With simply tons of lovely antiques and classy decor she
reeks of money well spent in her recent dry dock. One point and a
personal opinion, I think money could have been spent on better
places the the huge spa upgrades, the extension on the spa took a
great deal away from the lovely views from the Crows Nest.
The crew abound with energy and graciousness. They are happy
with their management on this particular ship and it shows. The
service was quick, efficient and obtained with a smile. A genuine
Their were two guest chefs on this cruise Chris Constatino and
Lon Symensma. They did demonstations in the culinary arts room
(Wajang Theater) and I enjoyed them. There were also demonstrations
by the Excutive Chef Andreas Bruenett, and the Pinnacle Chef Ani.
There was also a recipe contest for the guests. I covered that
quite extensively in the thread "The Great Ryndam Recipe
Another particular joy on this cruise were the two florists they
brought on board in Honolulu to stay on for the balance of the
cruise. These two gentlemen were amazingly creative and talented.
We took great pleasure in finding the beautiful and cunningly made
arrangements throughout the ship. They did indeed greatly increase
the pleasure we took in being on this ship.
During our sea days we were entertained by coffee chats with the
officers and entertainers. The cast performed "Street Singin'"
which was mostly hits of the 50's and 60's. Very well done and I
enjoyed it very much.
Also to entertain us we had the vocal stylings of Annie Francis,
the comedy of violinist Chris Pendleton, the musical artistry of
pianist Paul Pappas, and opera singer John D. Smitherman.
The Master of the Ship was Captain Maurits Groothuis, Hotel
Manager was Ceese Tesselaar, and the CD was Michelle Worthley. We
travelled a total of 8,979 nautical miles on this cruise.
January 19 -- CROSSING THE EQUATOR (WHERE'S THE &$#&()_
!@ FISH!!!) The day dawned overcast with a moderate breeze. We knew
the ship had planned a biggish ceremony to ask the permission of
King Neptune for the Ryndam and all the souls upon her to cross
into his domain. Early in the day they started setting up chairs
around the aft pool on the Navigation deck. As this is where all
the smokers go to sit there were a few logistical problems. We
found ourselves seats early and held on for dear life. With about
15 minutes to go before the official start of the ceremony there is
not a seat to be had. Everyone has moved the chairs that were so
carefully placed earlier in the day. Those of us who were up front
are no longer up front but somewhere in the back of the bar they
set up. Oh well, at least the bar will keep others from moving
their chairs there. The stairwells are full of people standing with
their drinks in hand awaiting the ceremony.
Suddenly, there he is -- King Neptune in full costume --
escorted to his throne by several lovely mermaids. Now begins the
dirge, Dum, dum, dum, dum de dum dum dum dum dum. . . Pirates in
full regalia lead prisoners in chains to the caged area set aside
for the poor, demented shellbacks. They (persons on the staff and
crew who have never crossed the equator before) are led one by one
to kneel before Neptune and beg for his mercy. Their first horrid
punishment is to kiss the fish. But wait, where is the magnificent
fish meant to be kissed and caressed on this momentuous occasion?
Well, according to friends in the kitchen some poor nameless cook's
helper forgot to purchase it in Honolulu. What to do?? They found
the largest fish in the freezer, already beheaded and gutted and
used that for the prisoners to kiss. Poor King Neptune, that is
certainly why he was in a bad mood and had no mercy to spare for
the prisoners. They were drenched with ice water and then doused
all over with foul smelling liquids and noxious solid wastes from
the bowels of the kitchens. One poor wretch was heard to scream out
"Tell my mother I love her. . ." So sad.
Once everyone was punished properly they were allowed to jump
into the aft pool and clean off somewhat. Someone did manage to
accidently push the Cruise Director into the pool also, too
Picture opportunities with the poor fish were also
In just three more days we arrive in Raiatea, Tahiti.
January 22 -- RAIATEA (L'EXCURSION BELUE) We arrived in Raiatea
about 7:30am. There is an amazing phenonmenon in the islands called
l'huere belue (pardon the atrocious spelling of the French). It is
the hour before dawn and sunset where everything appears colored in
shades of blue. The clouds lowering over the mountain tops, the
mist in the air, the ocean all varigated shades of blue. It was so
still, so beautiful, so perfect. Then as the sun begins to rise,
there, off the port side, dolphins escorting our ship into the
When the sun rises one can see the amazing greeness of the
islands. So bright and beautiful it hurts your eyes to look at it
too long. Once it is daylight one can see the totally gorgeous
shade of blue and green and white and turquoise in the water. There
must be 200 shades between dark green and light blue and you can
see every one of them here in the islands. I don't believe I have
ever seen such sheer beauty as one can see here.
NO ONE SAID IT WAS A NUDE SNORKEL Along with several others in
the CC group we prebooked a private tour with Bruno. We were
dressed in our suits with our snorkel gear to the ready. We arrived
at the boat just a little walk away from the dock at 9am. We all
got situated under the awning on the dock to avoid the rain that
was coming down quite heavily. Bruno informed us that due to the
heavy seas we would be doing our tour in a different order than
originally planned. There were 10 of us from the CC group and 4
others from hotels in the area. We met a very nice couple from the
Czech republic. The wife spoke perfect English and we got along
very well as they told us all about life in the Czech Republic.
Apparently they have very few body taboos in their country although
I must admit to being just the tiniest bit shocked when they
stipped to the buff to put on their suits right there in their
seats. I thought DH's eyes would fall right out of his head.
First we went to the pearl farm which was very interesting. We
listened to a lengthy explaination of how they seed the oysters and
then we were able to watch them do it. Pretty cool stuff. After
that we went to the pearl store. The prices were prohibitive and I
don't believe anyone bought anything there.
Next we went to a private motu (a motu is a small islet). There
were fenced off areas around the shoreline. Inside one were black
tipped reef sharks, turtles in another, and yet another filled with
poisonous and dangerous fish. Bruno went into the water there and
pulled up huge puffer fishes so we could take pix. He also pulled
up some giant living conchs and other shellfish. They were
The waves were so bad due to the weather that we were unable to
swim in the surf and had to content ourselves with snorkeling in
the protected cove. We did see a lot of colorful fish and tons of
sea cucumbers. After about an hour and a half we were called in for
lunch. It was wonderful. There were fresh cooked marlin fish
fritters so delicious, poisson cru (the famous local dish), coconut
bread, bar bq fish and chicken, rum punch and several types of
wine. We had a marvelous time and everyone ate well.
After lunch we left in the boat and went to the drift snorkel in
the coral gardens. We had looked forward to this part of the
excursion the most. Unfortunately we didn't know that we would have
to walk over half a mile against the current in the water. DH is
disabled and found this to be too much for him to handle. So, we
only walked part of the way and then drifted on back to the boat.
It was very pretty there. We had a wonderful time and would highly
recommend this excursion to anyone who likes to snorkel.
Later in the day at 4:45 the ship offered the Children of
Raiatea, a local cultural show, pier side. I must say here that I
wish they would limit the shows to the show lounge. By having this
show portside we were unable to see any of it. The pax were lined
so thickly along the promenade deck that one couldn't get close to
the rails to see anything. The CN was too high to see anything from
either. It was very disappointing.
All in all it was a wonderful day in Raiatea.
January 23 -- BORA BORA (AHHHHHH TAHA'A) Bora Bora is part of
Taha'a in the Society Islands. As we pull into our anchoring
position in the 'Rade de Viatape' we are greeted by such stunning,
lucious beauty. The lush green volcanic peaks of Mt. Pahui and Mt
Opanumu, and the crystal clear lagoon with sparkling coral peeking
from the depths is a saturation of the senses. The sight of the
mountains, the taste of the salt air, the sound of the waves
breaking on the reef, the touch of a silken breeze caressing the
skin, we are truly in paradise.
This is the first of two days we will be here in Bora Bora. We
had made plans with our friends Rick and Connie to spend the day at
the beach. We let all the tours get off the ship first and then we
grabbed our gear and off we went. We took "Le Truck" (which has
gone up from $3pp to $5pp one way) after checking with the driver
that she could take us to the Bora Bora Beach Resort. We have been
there before and it has a magnificent beach with a reef right there
for snorkeling. The 'bus' took us to the Intercontinental Hotel and
the driver refused to take us further. Needless to say we weren't
very happy but there wasn't much we could do about it. So the four
of us got off there and went to go through the hotel lobby to the
beach. Rick went to find out about things and came back and advised
us that they wanted $65 pp to use their beach. Of course, this
included lunch and a glass of wine wheather we wanted it or not.
Refusing to knuckle under to that ridiculous price we walked across
the street to Matira Beach. It is a very nice beach. There is a
large covered ramada although there are no tables there for a
picnic. The beach is mostly shell and water shoes are a necessity.
The water was clear and lovely and warm, however it is not deep.
One can walk out at least half a mile and the water is only chest
deep. If you do make the effort to walk out you may be rewarded
with the sight of lovely sting rays dancing in the water. We
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES There were a few people who
tried to cut through private property instead of walking around to
the entrance to the beach. One family had two dogs in their
backyard who let it be known far and wide they were protecting what
was theirs. One elderly man cut through and then started throwing
rocks at the dogs for barking. When he finally got near to us I
told him he should be ashamed of himself. He asked why and I told
him he had no right to attack dogs on private property upon which
he was trepassing. He asked me if I owned the property. I answered
in the negative and he advised me it wasn't any of my business
then, was it? Arrrggghh!!!
It had been threatening to rain all day so when it started we
decided to head on back to the ship for lunch.
A PRIVATE DINNER OK, this is mostly hearsay and gossip, Isn't
that fun?! The ship arranged an excursion for an exclusive private
dinner with a local dance show at $199.00pp We decided not to take
advantage of this but had friends who chose to go. Here is what
they said. The dinner was on a table out in the open air. When it
began to rain, which it did off and on all night, there was no
cover of any kind. They did offer lobster and shrimp as advertised
but had no sauce or butter to go with them. The food was cold and
the entertainment was cut short due to the rain. All in all we were
told it was a real dud for the price.
There was dancing under the stars in the Lido with the roof open
late tonight. It didn't work very well with all the rain. They gave
it a good try though. Jim Colson, a banjoist was the entertainment
for the evening.
January 24 -- BORA BORA DAY II (CAN YOU SAY JACK SPARROW?) We
have a very early snorkel excursion today with Moana Adventures. It
is called Snorkel Safari and it was fantastic. We arrived at the
boat with several of our CC buddies in tow. Once onboard we were
introduced to our crew and the Captain Jack Sparrow. They had some
instruments and played and sang native songs for us. We passed a
beautiful motu and Jack said that Eddie Murphy had left the day
before. Apparently he rented the entire island for two weeks for a
wedding. That was no doubt pricey!
Our first snorkel spot was lovely indeed. Fairly shallow water
so those who don't snorkel well can have a good time. There were
tons of parrot fish, clown fish, angel fish and more. Wrasses and
rays, sea cucumbers and more sea urchins than I've ever seen. We
stayed in this spot for about an hour and a half.
IF YOU KNEW SUSHI LIKE I KNEW SUSHI. . . Our second spot of the
day was like wow dude, totally amazing. We stopped in deep water
and off we went into the water. Fish everywhere. The most
interesting thing in this spot were the clams, thousands of them.
Many of them were actually imbedded deep in the coral but the edges
were visable and still alive. I never knew clams could come in so
many distinctive colors. There was blue, lavender, turquoise,
white, purple and even some red ones. I had no idea and was
throughly intrigued. After swimming here for an hour or so we got
out to take a breather. Several of the crew then jumped in the
water and went clamming. They brought up a basketful of clams then
opened and shared them. A little lemon juice and we are talking
some really fresh sushi my friends. Some fresh pineapple made an
appearance and we had a little feast before we returned to the
ship. It was a great adventure and we would highly recommend
We stopped in "town" and I picked up the french perfume I didn't
get last time. It sure smells nice. We did a little shopping and
then back on the ship.
Tonight's entertainment is the comedy and magic of John Ekin. We
choose to go out late with the Star Lady and find the Southern
Cross. Her lectures are really interesting and DH was able to pick
the cross out for himself the next night. The sailaway party was
nice and Darlene and the Halcats play very well.
We will call it a night early as tomorrow we arrive in Papeete,
Tahiti and it will be a busy day.
January 25 -- PAPEETE, TAHITI (WHERE'S THE BEACH?!?!) Perhaps
the strangest thing about Papeete, the territorial capital of
French Polynesia, is that there are no beaches there. Really. Truly
lovely beachs can be found on the many motus (islets) that surround
Papeete. Pape = water, Ete = bowl or bucket. The name was derived
because the water from the surrounding mountains collects in the
bowl created by the volcanoes.
THEY LOOK LIKE THEY'RE LAUGHING We docked in Papeete about 7:30
am. We were once again escorted by dolphins. They were so lovely
playing tag amongst the waves. Wonderful isn't it, the way they
always look as if they are laughing and having a good time? If
there is such a thing a reincarnation wouldn't it be the ultimate
cool to come back as a dolphin?
HAVEN'T WE MET BEFORE? Our snorkel tour here is an early one and
we are up and off the ship in quick time. We walked over to the
dock where we picked up our tour boat for the "Tahiti Lagoon
Discovery" tour. Once on the boat we looked around and discovered
an old friend. Two years ago when we were here our best excursion
was the Motu Picnic on Moorea, and the same man that runs that one,
Terry, was also running this excusion in Papeete. Small world.
We informed Terry that we would be on his Motu Picnic and Ray
Feeding tour in Moorea the next day also. It was pretty cool. They
brought guitars and ukelele's and played music all the way out to
our snorkel spot.
IF I JUST HAD A LITTLE MORE GAS. . . The first spot was
magnificent. Truly it was so gorgeous there. Once in the water we
heard a lady yell "there's an airplane down here!" Of course
everyone swam over to that area and sure enough there was a small
Cessna type plane down about 12-15 feet under the water. The fish
had turned it into a home and were quite happily swimming in and
out of the windows and doors. Did I mention that the airport was
less than a quarter of a mile from our snorkel spot?
The sheer number and species of fish here are innumerable. There
are tons of clams in the most unimaginable colors. Who knew? After
an hour and a half or so we had to leave our lovely spot and head
over to our second snorkel site in shallow water. This might have
been a great spot with all the coral but as it was shallow, as soon
as more than five people got in the water it was so churned up and
cloudy you couldn't see anything. It didn't matter, the first place
was so spectacular.
THIS IS ONE STOP SHOPPING! We got back to the ship and cleaned
up and then headed out for Le Bon Marche'. The marketplace. It is
huge. It covers one full city block and has two stories. I needed
to find a particular pareo (sarong) for a friend and I found it
right away. The bottom floor of the marketplace has the straw
market, a wonderful florists area where one can buy beautiful
arrangements for $15 to $25 USD. Huge bunches of fresh vanilla
perfume the air here. The sibilant sound of French and patois drone
in an undertone that is exciting. The fish, vegetables and meat are
also on the ground floor. It is fascinating to watch the locals
take a machete to a huge fish and just fillet it right in front of
you. There was an entire table devoted to different types of
bananas and yet another table for plaintains. There were fruits and
vegetables I have never seen before and some I never did figure out
what they were for. Amazing stuff.
Upstairs are the souveniers, the tatoo parlors, the clothes and
the pearls. DH found a local selling handmade coconut and brown
sugar candies. They were delicious and he bought a package. We also
got some fragrant vanilla beans and a carved wooden Tiki god. It
was a great afternoon.
We headed back to the ship for lunch. Tonight is a BBQ on deck
followed by dancing under the stars on the Lido poolside. At 9pm
was a local show "O Tahiti E," a wonderful performance by a local
dance troupe. Tomorrow is another early day as we leave for Moorea
at about 5am.
January 26 -- MOOREA (THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOT IN THE WORLD) In
my opinion (which matters a great deal to me) Moorea is the most
beautiful place I have ever been. Mo'o = Yellow, Rea = Lizard.
Named after a lizard god of the ancients. Moorea is an extinct
Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay mark the floor of the ancient crater.
A reef encircles the island with a narrow and shallow lagoon. The
largely impenetrable interior is covered in dense forests of mape,
the gigantic chestnut trees of Polynesia. We dropped anchor about
7:30 am. Once again our snorkel tour is early in the morning.
When we tendered in we went right over to the dock to meet Terry
and pick up our boat. This is a hugely popular excursion with close
to 200 people on the motu. Apparently the cast and much of the crew
were treated to a crew party and luncheon at the same time our tour
was there. On the way out our boat lost one of its outboards and we
sort of straggled into the motu way behind everyone else. We were
very anxious to get to "our" motu. We have been dreaming about
doing this again for two years.
ONE FISH TWO FISH, RED FISH BLUE FISH Oh yeah, it is as pristine
and gorgeous as we remembered. We splashed off the boat and onto
the motu with great anticipation for our upcoming day. We claimed a
table in the picnic area, grabbed our snorkel gear and hit the
drift area. One walks a block or two up the beach then out into the
water. The gentle current sweeps you down over the coral and the
fish and back to your starting point. Then you get out and do it
all over again. The water here is amazing, body temperature, as is
the air outside. The two best things I saw here this trip was a
huge school of baby angel fish and a giant moray eel. The eel had
his tail between two lumps of coral and his head was leering out,
swinging back and forth. It was a scary looking animal. I hung
around for awhile until he started coming completely out of his
hole and then I booked. No sense taking chances. I fed the sting
rays and they climbed up on my lap. It was wonderful.
Later in the afternoon lunch was served. BBQ fish and chicken,
rolls, salad, fresh pineapple and coconut that they cut down in
front of us, and poisson cru. They had sodas and beer for sale.
After a delicious lunch we went back into the water for an hour or
two. We talked to the boss about staying an extra hour to make up
for arriving late. She called the ship and got permission and about
50 of us chose to stay the extra hour. I boarded the boat back with
a broken nail, a sunburn and a few coral scrapes and as happy as
I've ever been. It was truly a day in Paradise.
We arrived back at the ship about 4pm. Exhausted, dirty, sand in
our hair and our, well you get the picture. The entertainment for
the evening was comedian juggler Marcus Raymond. I must admit I
walked out of the show totally unimpressed. Of course, I was very
tired and that may have colored my judgement. We have two sea days
coming up and then our last port (sob) Nuka Hiva!
During the two sea days we had the recipe contest (I covered
that in another post), and played some slots.
The black and white ball was held in the show lounge. It was a
wonderful dance but I had trouble staying up until 10:15. I stayed
for a few dances then left early and went to bed. The officers
looked wonderful in their dress whites and the ladies so lovely in
their gowns. Our entertainers for the two sea days were Karen Joy
Davis, pianist and the Ryndam cast in The Hits of Broadway -- The
designs of Bob Mackie. They were both enjoyable.
January 29 -- NUKA HIVA MARQUESAS (NUKA HIVA IS POLYNESIAN FOR
"NOTHING HERE") Actually Nuka Hiva is the second largest of the
Society Islands and the administrative and economic capital of the
Marquesas. As I was still feeling a little off from too much fun in
the sun we decided to stay on board in this port. An absolute first
for us. And I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that we
IS IT CHOREAGRAPHED, DO YOU THINK?? We were just wandering
around the promenade deck about 9 in the morning and looking over
the sides when we were priveleged to see something so wonderous I
still can't believe it.
OK, we're looking off the back of the ship and see something in
the water, it comes closer, it is a giant manta ray. We oohed and
ahhed and suddenly it is joined by another. They join together in a
stately and lovely pas de deux. We admire them and there are four
... wait, no six ... at final count there were eight of them there.
They formed a circle and began the most sensuous, graceful,
intricate ballet I have ever seen, turning upside down in unison to
flash a flirty white belly. They spun, they flipped, they
pirouetted in such quiet and graceful beauty we were spellbound. It
began to rain and blow but we didn't move. I felt one with nature
and the world as I watched the amazing, astounding and lyrical
dance of the manta rays.
A'DIEU TO THE ISLANDS OF FRENCH POLYNESIA Because of the rain
the sail away party was held in the Crows Nest. It was well
attended as everyone gathered to bid a fond farewell to the
paradise we had come to love. Now we have 6 sea days back to San
Diego. I love sea days.
I PRAY TO DIE AND FEAR I WON'T Well it wasn't the sun that got
to me. I caught the nasty cold that has been going around. I wish
people would stay in their cabins when they are sick; or at least
carry a hankie to cough into. I went to the little gift shop and
they were sold out of every remedy they had except aspirin. I spent
most of the week in bed. I did drag myself out for the Mariners
Brunch which was very nice. That was it. DH attended a dinner party
on navigaton deck aft. All the regulars that sit outside every
morning decided to have dinner together. After they raided the Lido
a few times Antonio broke down and had the food delivered to them.
They got tablecloths and candles. The wine flowed, the jokes got
ribald. The wind and rain blew but no one cared. They were having
too much fun. I know because DH told me all about it when he came
back to my sickbed that evening. I hated to miss it but I couldn't
be out in the wind and cold as sick as I was.
February 5 -- SAN DIEGO (ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END) We
said our sad goodbyes this morning to friends new and old.
Exchanged email address and sincere "I'll call you's." We are black
two and were called immediately after the express debarkations. We
were off the ship and on the freeway in our rental car by 9:30 am.
It was truly the cruise of a lifetime and we cannot wait to do this
again in September on the Statendam. I hope this little review
encourages you to join us.