Cruising And Relaxing In Tahiti

Our “red-eye” flight on Air Tahiti Nui allowed us to sleep and be ready for our first day in Papeete, Tahiti at the beautiful InterContinental Resort. The restaurant had a beautiful variety of tropical fruit and seafood. I got a Site tour of the resort and saw newly refurbished rooms, the "over-the-water" Le Lotus Restaurant and bungalows). Our room had a gorgeous view of Moorea Island. Isn’t this how you picture Tahiti?
We boarded our ship, the beautiful 330-passenger M.S. Paul Gauguin in Papeete Harbor, Tahiti. Our first stop was Huahine Island, and we anchored in the harbor. I took the tender and "Le Bus" (an open-air truck) to Fare Town to snorkel with the fish. The truck drove through double-canopy jungle and coconut groves, past farms and chickens. The water had fish of every color, size and marking. I even found an eel poking its head out of a coral! I alerted my fellow snorkelers to the sight, and soon had lots of company.
After arriving at Bora Bora, we took the tender and walked around the village. The next day we took another tender to snorkel at Paul Gauguin's private “motu” (a coral atoll islet). We did a “wet landing” -- the tender’s front dropped down and we jumped into the surf!

After Bora Bora, we left for the widely-spaced Tuamotu Island group, which are all low coral atolls and motu strung across a large swath of cobalt-blue ocean. At Rangiroa Atoll I found a great gentle lagoon with coral outcrops. I snorkeled again on Fakarava Atoll the next day, and found even more fish and shells. I petted three reef sharks (the locals feed them), and swam alongside. (Yes, I still have all my fingers!)

The ship has a lot of seafood and gourmet fare; but I was impressed by the variety of food suitable for just about any diet! I loved the fresh papaya, pineapple, coconut, and mango.

Then we returned to the Society Islands and Taha'a. We tendered over to the private Motu owned by Paul Gauguin cruises. I snorkeled twice; and we had a beach barbeque. Imagine yourself relaxing under the swaying palm trees like we did.
Then we anchored with this view of Moorea, a beautiful island with green mountain peaks and jagged cliffs. Who can’t be relaxed and soothed by this tropical view? We tendered over to the little village for the local crafts. Later I returned and hiked on the island. It seemed like every tree had either fruit, nuts or flowers on it.
We have Les Gauguines (young Tahitians) onboard who explain the local customs, music, crafts and legends. I learned how to decorate Tapa cloth, weave Pandanus decorations, and string a seed bracelet -- I'm ready to "go native!"
The onboard entertainment was fantastic. Besides the Tahitians on board, local dance troupes and musicians came aboard to entertain us.
Snorkeling with the dazzling colored fish and corals was a peak lifetime experience. Sailing on the M.S. Paul Gauguin made the vacation supremely relaxing! Ah, tropical paradise!