Arrived in Tahiti at 5 PM last night. It’s a much bigger than Nuku Hiva and a lot more lush. Nuku Hiva was pretty brown in some spots. Tahiti is a lot more built up. About 200,000 people and another 20,000 on Moorea island which is right across the channel. Could almost be Hawaii looking from the sea. We pulled up at the big dock. The captain spun the ship around on a dime to back into the space at the pier. A yacht transport ship is parked next to us. Yes, if you don’t want to spend 10 days sailing across the Pacific to get your yacht to Tahiti, you can put it on a big transport ship and have it waiting when you get here. The transport ship had about 10 yachts on it with room for more. We saw them take one off today. They fill the interior of the ship with water and float the yacht off, then pump the water out to raise the ship again.
Of course we got off the ship as soon as we could, about 6:30 PM. We dodged the traffic to cross the street and found out that everyone was coming back to the ship because all the shops closed at 5 PM! We heard there was one shop open up the street with souvenirs so decided to go see. There was an ATM on the way, so they stop to see if Mel’s ATM card would work internationally as we were told it would. There were a few moments of panic when after the machine sucked in the card, we realized it was all in French. We did get it to English somewhat but then the ATM wanted to know if we wanted 20,000 francs, 30,000 or up to 200,000. We thought the exchange rate was almost dollar for dollar so were confused. Taking a guess that we were missing the decimal point, we chose 50,000 which the next day when Mel checked her account, thankfully was $51.34. We did end up buying two Paros which was 2 for 1,500… half the price of Nuku Hiva the day before.
Next morning was Tahiti Lagoon snorkel trip. 20 of us loaded up in a boat and went around the corner of the island and stopped in 2 places, one deep water and one shallow water to snorkel. Our guides were a lot of fun and very carefree. At the first stop, the deep one, Mel had a little panic attack and a leg cramp, so she hung out on the line the guides had thrown out with the life preserver attached. I went off looking for fish and coral. There was an ocean current so I tried to keep an eye on the boat, but every time I looked up, the boat was somewhere else. Mel told me later that they kept moving the boat to go after people drifting away and she had had a good time getting towed along on the life preserver! They did eventually come to get the 4 of us that had been left behind. We weren’t in any real danger as we were well within the reef. The coral was nice with some yellows, green and lavender but there were not that many fish. The second spot was in about 5-6 feet of water with mostly sandy bottom so a very nice place to just hang out and float around. On the way back, we picked up a surfer and gave him a ride back to the nearby dock. The guides told us he was a world champion surfer in his day and gave him a lot of respect. On the ride back to the pier, they revered up the engines and we had a fast, bouncy ride. Mel and I loved it all!
Afternoon was a 2 hour walking tour with a guide to the marketplace, church, assembly grounds and historical park. We got 5 miles of hot, sweaty walking in along with some Tahitian vanilla to bring back home. Hopefully we wore off some of the buffet desserts.
At 6 PM we sailed off into the sunset to Bora Bora.