Under water wonders.

Moorea. French Polynesia.

Last week off the beautiful island of Moorea, wearing mask and snorkels, we swam with Whales. After a briefing from the professional duo, we quietly entered the ocean to watch the females interacting with their young. They would come up to the surface to breath, then go down to about ten meters to rest. When we departed on the boat, one mother waggled her tail in the air to say farewell. Beautiful mammals.
We then went inside the reef to see the rays and sharks. As I entered the water, I was enveloped by a ray the size of a dustbin lid. It felt like a soft, rubbery, velvet embrace.

We had an amazing day with these people. Check out their website

We have scuba dived for years and been in awe of the wonders of nature underwater. One of our pleasures is hunting for Nudibranchs and, OK, looking for slugs isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but these sea slugs are exotic and beautiful. We’ve been dissapointed to have only spotted a few minute, plain white nudibranchs whilst diving in French Polynesia.

Thinking nothing could compare to our thrilling experience watching the enormous whales, I was stunned to notice a tiny rare treasure on the pontoon pilon where our yacht Shiraz is berthed in the Papeete marina in Tahiti.

This needed further investigation.

The tiny animal was a few feet under the surface, it could have been a sea sponge but I was sure I could see gills on it’s upper body suggesting that it was a Nudibranch. This would be such a rare discovery. It required an underwater shot.

It was indeed a Nudibranch.
Next morning the animal was grazing on the pilon water line. We couldn’t believe our eyes.
With clear water, I snapped away with my phone camera.

I’m still trying to identify the species. John thinks there are others on the pilon. Truly amazing.

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Yachtlings

With the sun lowering in the sky, it took a few moments to see the three little yachtlings emerge from the super yacht.

They fluttered their sails and after a few tense moments were ripping over the water.

And racing.

Competition was fierce, egged on by the yacht crew whose laughter filled the air.

As light was fading, they really had the hang of sailing.

I hope they made it back to the safety of their mother ship.

Back to school in Tahiti.

You can build robots as an after school hobby. How awesome is that.

On Saturday, more than 70 stands were set up in the alleyways surrounding the Cathedral of Papeete.

In this one area, parents could meet the associations offering a wide range of extra curricular school activities. Spoilt by choice, it must have been exciting yet difficult making enrolment decisions.

In my day, there wasn’t a lot on offer. I was a Girl Guide and a member of the swimming club.

Curious to find out more, I went along for a peek.

Dancing

Theatre

Music

I thought this was something to do with vampires! But it was for drum and percussion lessons.

Martial arts proved very popular.

Sports on land, not just football and golf.

Watersports

Scouts

Foreign languages

Japanese and Chinese classes.

Arts and crafts. I think the parents had as much fun as the kids.

Help if needed.

And of course sticky buns.

Having been a brownie, I had to buy some chocolate brownies of course. Delicious.

Gardening the Tahitian way.

Papeete, on the island of Tahiti, is the small capital city of French Polynesia.

Five years ago when we first arrived in Tahiti on board our yacht Shiraz, our first port of call was to the Papeete harbour. We took one look at the rickety pontoons, noted the road noise, general scruffiness and lack of greenery and moved on. We sailed out of town to the Marina Taina.

Since then the Papeete seafront named “Boulevard Pomare” has under gone a transformation.

The smart Papeete marina with a landscaped promenade was built three years ago.

However, the shopping area across the road from the marina was still a dusty, noisy and unpleasant place to be. This was mainly due to the heavy volume of traffic using the Boulevard Pomare, the main road into Papeete.
The inside lane was used for busses, taxis and as a general drop off area for cars.

In January 2018 a long stretch of the bus lane was fenced off. Then the diggers and construction workers arrived and started to rip up the road.

Slowly areas were developed into an urban garden.

Palm trees were erected and held in place with ropes.

Decorative paving was laid down.

Thatched rest huts were built.

Areas were landscaped using plants rocks and wood features.

The construction work continues but a large stretch of the walkway was unveiled at the weekend, eight months from the start.

It might not have reduced the traffic flow but I think creating this garden boulevard has made a huge improvement. It’s attractive, green and absorbs much of the traffic noise.

Many more projects are proposed at the port and Marina area. I look forward to seeing them materialise.

Heiva fever

We’ve just had the Heiva – Tahiti 2018 competition. The highlight of the year as far as Polynesian dancing goes.

The competition was held in the Place To’ata in Papeete, Tahiti.

Hundreds of people were involved. Groups from around French Polynesia had been training to perfect their dance movements for months.

Rehearsal time in the Place To’ata

It was not just the dancing that was awesome.

The music, choreography and the costume designs were wonderful too.

So many hours had been dedicated by each team member and their families, to produce a mesmerising and enthralling spectacle.

Competition was fierce, I would hate to have been one of the judges.

The heats were held on eight separate evenings over several weeks. Each event started in the dark at 6pm and finished at 11pm.

I went to two of the evening events, the latter being the lauréats or first prize winners.

Heiva is for the Polynesian people but tourists are welcomed . Tourists will always be the quiet observers and should feel honoured, to embrace the flamboyant fever of Heiva.