Sunday, December 29, 2019

Holiday Cruise XIV

Greetings from Rangiroa,

Well, here I was thinking, heck, it is just another atoll in the middle of the South Pacific.  Oh contrare, mon ami.  Rangiroa (meaning Vast Sky in Tuamotuan) is the largest atoll in the Tuamotus, and one of the largest in the world.  It is part of the Palliser group.  

Rangiroa is about 80 square kilometers and houses about 2500 people.  The atoll consists of about 415 motus (tiny islands), islets and sandbars and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful water we have seen so far.  Even my photos can’t capture the gorgeous shades of aquamarine that are here.

The lagoon we are anchored in has a maximum depth of 105 feet (just slightly deeper than Possum Kingdom Lake) and its surface is 1146 square kilometers and is so large it has its own horizon.   Rangiroa is a major underwater diving destination because of the lagoons clear blue water and exceptionally diverse marine fauna.

Vicki and I tendered in to shore and went to a little restaurant on the water’s edge where we fed the fish bits of French fries which they loved as you can see.  The grilled shrimp was really good but we didn’t share.  Nor did we share the four (two each) rum punches that you can see below.  They just don’t feed us enough on the ship….we were famished.  Right!

We are at latitude 14° 58.50’ S and longitude 147° 38.54’W and will be heading south for a return trip to Bora Bora.  Hope the weather is as good there as it is here.

Until next time, God Bless you all.

Jud and Vicki

Friday, December 27, 2019

Holiday Cruise XIII

Greetings from Nuka Hiva,

We finally made it to Nuka Hiva, after having missed it because of rough seas on our way to Papeete, Tahiti.  Nuka Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia and is an overseas territory of France.

Herman Melville wroth his book, “Typee” based on his experiences in the Taipivai Valley on the eastern part of Nuka Hiva and Robert Louis Stevenson made landfall here on the north side in 1888.  As you can see by the photos, some of the island is rocky and barren and parts are lush and green.  There are pine forest plantations and parts of the island give an overall impression of the lower Alps and parts of Germany, Wales and Switzerland.  The highest peak is just a hair over 4,000 feet.

We are at Latitude 8°55.37’ S and Longitude 140° 06.10’ W, so just south of the equator.

We will pull up our anchor at sunset and spend a day at sea before we reach Rangiroa, our next island for a glass bottom boat ride over a Coral Garden.  Should be nice.

Until next time, God Bless you all.

Jud and Vicki

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Holiday Cruise XII

Greetings from Fakarava…Again,


We pulled into the lagoon at Fakarava only to be greeted by high winds, driving rain and rough water.  However, we were still able to pick up Santa Claus and his reindeer so he could greet all the passengers on the ship; including 30 children onboard.  

The Captain decided to sail on and pass up this stormed tossed atoll for a day at sea before the next stop at Nuka Hiva.  No loss.

The ship is gaily decorated for the season with a Christmas tree in every venue and corner, holly wreaths and ribbons on every staircase railing, potted poinsettias everywhere and a huge ginger-bread village in the atrium.

We had a block cocktail party where all the passengers for each state and country gathered all over the ship to meet and greet.  We attended a Caroling Sing-Along, had dinner and then went to the “A Very Merry Christmas” show put on the by cast of singers and dancers with Jaime and Dana, our dual Cruise Directors which was fabulously entertaining and memorable.  Then we went to the 10:45PM Christmas Eve Church service, which was lovely.

I am sharing the photos I took as Vicki and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year!

Jud and Vicki

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Holiday Cruise XI

Greetings from Moorea,
In my opinion, Moorea is the most beautiful of all the Society Islands because of its unique geography.  Eight mountain peaks carpeted in lush vegetation including the famous peak immortalized by the hit song “Bali Hai” from the Broadway musical and famous movie, “South Pacific”.  (see below)

The island rises from a translucent lagoon and two tranquil bays, Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, all surrounded by a barrier reef.  The bay named after Captain Cook isn’t even the bay he sailed into back in the 1700’s.  It was actually Opunohu Bay, which is the most beautiful.

We swam with the sharks and Manta rays again, only they were even more plentiful.  Lots of photos to follow, here and in a subsequent post.

We also got to swim with a huge bottle-nosed dolphin, pet him and play with him.  Vicki kissed this dolphin on the mouth, if you can believe that.  It was a fabulous experience.

Moorea is at latitude 17° 32.43’ S and longitude 139°47.39’ W, for you mapheads.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Jud and Vicki

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Holiday Cruise X

The sharks we were swimming with were from four to six feet long and came within touching distance of us.  We were warned not to attempt touch or pet the sharks.  They don't like to be touched and, frankly, it never occurred to me to do so.  I won't touch you, if you won't touch me. They will swim right at you, but veer off at the last second, just before your heart leaps into your throat. But the Manta Rays were so friendly you could not resist petting them.  The tops of these gentle creatures feel like wet velvet and they love to cuddle.  Enjoy my friends. 

Jud and Vicki

Holiday Cruise IX

Greetings from Bora Bora,

We are now officially in paradise.  Bora Bora is an island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean.   The island is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef.  In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising in two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point is a mere 2,385 feet thanks to years of erosion.  Still, the castle-like Mount Otemanu pierces the sky and lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu (small islands) circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. 

The island was first inhabited by Polynesian settlers around the 4th Century.  The first European sighting was made by Jacob Roggeveen in 1722.  Captain James Cook sighted the island in 1770 and landed that same year.  The island is absolutely gorgeous, lush and is known for its resort hotels, whose individual units are built out over the crystal clear water and have portions of their floors made of glass.  Try $ 2000.00 – $3,000.00 per night.  Ouch!

We went on a snorkeling safari out to a Coral Garden and a shallow place where we snorkeled with huge Manta Rays and black-tipped reef sharks.  Hope you enjoy the photos.  I will send in a couple of different posts.

Tomorrow on to Moorea at latitude 17° 32.43’ S and longitude 139°47.39’ W.

God Bless you all,

Jud and Vicki