At long last, after an inordinately long delay, I finally have Part 3 of this series about our most recent cruise, a 28 day roundtrip cruise from San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands then down to French Polynesia, ready to publish. Blame of the delay rests solely on me and the travails of life. Way too much time spent in medical waiting rooms of one kind or another, to include our dog’s veterinarian. Time spent too on land trips to Chattanooga and Atlanta. Time well spent with my grandsons’ Cub Scout Pack. It’s amazing how fast time flies even when I’m retired. So to recap, way back in March and early April we sailed on Holland America’s MS Eurodam. Part One of this story covered the first 13 days of the cruise, from San Diego to Fanning Island. Part Two covered 4 days, 2 days in Bora Bora and then a day each in Raiatea and Moorea. This third and final part covers our excursions on the last leg of the cruise from Tahiti back to San Diego.
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Day 1 Excursion: Off the Beaten Track Tahiti by 4×4
Surprisingly, our cruise line did not offer a wide variety of excursions on Tahiti. Prior to departure, we reviewed our choices, taking into consideration the number of times we were already scheduled on snorkeling trips. We decided to skip the snorkeling and see the interior of the island. In retrospect, not a good decision.
This four hour tour, in the back of an open pickup truck, took us from the harbor to the Papenoo Valley and back again. We spent the first and last 40 minutes of our tour careening through heavy traffic on our way through town to get to the back country. Who knew Tahiti was so developed and crowded. Once off pavement and onto the rough unpaved road the truck’s lack of comfortable springing and the hardness of the bench seats soon became painfully obvious. Eating dust from the lead vehicles wasn’t a thrill either. Compounding our disappointment were the difficulty in taking photos from the back of a crowded, bumping truck, and the dense vegetation alongside the roadway which limited the photography opportunities.
Fortunately, once in the high country we made several stops that allowed us to take some photos. Nevertheless, this wasn’t an excursion we’d recommend.
Fakarava, French Polynesia
Day 2 Excursion: Blue Lagoon Snorkeling Tour
This was our next to last stop before returning to San Diego, and our last snorkeling excursion. As we did on Bora Bora we contracted with a private provider instead of taking one of the ship’s excursions. This trip took us to two snorkeling spots, the Blue Lagoon and a coral pinnacle located in Fakarava’s main lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was pretty, but the coral pinnacle was fantastic. Our tour guide provided an on shore lunch at the Blue Lagoon, complete with iced down coconuts. We had a memorable time and this was a wonderful way to begin to wrap up of time in French Polynesia.
Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia
Day 3 Excursion: Taipivai Valley Scenic Drive
Nuku Hiva is one of the more under developed islands in French Polynesia. It also does not have any reefs to speak of, so no snorkeling. In fact, we were warned to stay out of the water due to the deep water sharks that patrol the coastline in search of a meal.
The only excursion offered for the island was a motor tour in one of the taxis that service the population on the island. The taxis are all private vehicles, no meters, and sometimes you get one with working AC, but mostly not. 🙂 We drew a well-worn Toyota SUV with a lovely young lady as our driver, and, of course, no AC. The tour took us up into the highlands of the island where, unfortunately, it was raining. We were able to get a few decent photos at one of the lookouts when the rain stopped for just a bit and the clouds parted. The moment did not last long. Then we rode down to the other side of the island and stopped at one of the small villages for a snacks and an opportunity to purchase some local handicrafts. Then back in the taxi for a return trip to the port. The island is beautiful, and the locals friendly and welcoming.
These three excursions were a nice way to wrap up our trip to Polynesia.