From the start, it was pretty obvious that this new high speed service would be problematic. In the Papeete marina, we are shaken in our beds as the yachts rock and roll at 5.30 am heralding the arrival of Aremiti 6. We are rolled around by the huge wake as the ferry storms into its loading dock, breaking the Port’s 5 knot limit by as much as 10 knots. It might be a great new experience for the Aremiti 6 crew and passengers but it won’t be long before the flimsy marina pontoons fall apart. The marina staff have made a complaint to the Port authorities after just two days in service.
Along with our bikes, we boarded the ‘Aremiti 2’ ferry from the Papeete ferry terminal in Tahiti. It’s a short journey, taking less than an hour.
Ferry leaving Papeete Port
Ferry going through the Papeete pass.
Ferry in the distance approaching Moorea.
Sometimes one just has to enjoy a sunset.
There was a thunderous noise outside the marina yesterday. So much for the local churches asking for silence on a Sunday. Police vehicles with blue flashing lights closed off the road.It turned out to be an event for the owners of American motorbikes and American Jeeps. Both of which made a huge amount of noise when in action.
Once the vehicles were parked on display outside the marina, there was a blissful silence. It lasted all afternoon.
Unlike the vast USA, Tahiti is a tiny island. Papeete the main town, is already struggling to cope with traffic congestion. Although fun for some, and they definitely drew a lot of attention at the event, I wonder if these gas guzzling, noise polluting modes of transport have a place here on the island.
An excellent band belted out classic American hits from the seventies whilst children and youths practiced bicycle stunts.
Others watched the experienced trick bike team fly up a ramp, spin their BMX bikes and land on a huge inflated airbag.
I discovered that BMX means bicycle motocross, it’s an off road sports bicycle used for racing and stunt riding. BMX started in the early 1970s when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in Southern California inspired by the motocross stars.
So the good old Stars and Stripes won over the locals for the afternoon.
With screeching tyres and roaring exhausts the jeeps and motorcycles disappeared as quickly as they arrived.
A short time later the police reopened the road to the normal traffic.
The Day of Autonomy or locally called ‘Heiva o te’ is an official holiday in French Polynesia, an overseas collective of France. It’s celebrated on the 29th June every year to honour Tahitian and French Polynesian self rule. This year was the 35th anniversary of independence of 1984.
Big celebrations were held all day and evening in Papeete, the capital town of Tahiti.
Many dignitaries gave speeches.
In the afternoon a huge procession involving over 11,500 people representing 150 French Polynesian organisations, paraded down the Pouvanaa’a Oopa Avenue cheerfully waving their banners.
Late afternoon there was a festive programme on the waterfront, in the beautiful gardens of the Paofi Parc. The Parc was packed with people relaxing, picnicking and having fun.
I loved the hats and floral headbands, people had made such an effort on this special occasion.
Children’s play activities.
There were acoustic parties
An open air cartoon film would start when dark at 6pm.
At 8pm there was a fireworks display over the Papeete harbour.
After such a busy programme, I expect there were some very tired families the next day.
Whilst enjoying a live gig in the Place To’ata Stadium in Tahiti, John nudged me.
Not only did we have an excellent view of the stage from our seats but we also had a commanding view of the Papeete Port. A large cruise ship was docking on the Paqu Dock next to the marina.
This year, there have been more cruise ships visiting French Polynesia than ever before. The “tick box” locations are Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti.
Over the Easter holiday between Sunday April 21st and Monday April 29th, five “Grand capacity” cruise ships with more than 2000 passengers on board, arrived in the Port of Papeete. These large cruise ships are floating cities. There were also a number of smaller cruise ships visiting the port, some of which are based in Tahiti.
Prior to the Easter splurge of cruise ship passengers, the Minister of Tourism headed a meeting with representatives from all the organisations involved with the cruise ship industry to ensure that the hosting was successful. There were a lot of people at the meeting. It seemed like every top official from Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea was there as well as representatives from all the town organisations. It was a gathering to behold.
So, before the passengers purchase their pearls and souvenirs.
Or are entertained by musicians and dancers.
Or take an excursion around the island
Think of all the people who made their visit possible.
The Port authority employees whose tugs and pilot boat bring the ships into port, with line handlers to take the lines.
Customs and immigration clearance before anyone can step ashore.
Reprovisioning of supplies and refuelling.
Waste removal and cleaning .
Security, traffic policing.
The coaches and taxis.
There are the floral decorators who make the town look bright and welcoming.
Then of course there’s all the administration that goes on behind the scenes.
I’m sure the cruise ship passengers enjoy their experience. No doubt the tourist industry profits from their visit and help to boost the economy.
The last few days have been hot and sunny in Tahiti and I am optimistic that the improvement in the weather heralds the end of the cyclone season. The last few weeks however, held a mixed bag of hot humid weather, heavy rain, thunder, lightning, interspersed with some cloudless sunshine.
Spare a thought for Fintan Magee a famous Australian Street artist.
He was tasked was creating a massive street mural on the side of a block of flats overlooking a car park in Papeete. With what must have been months of preparation, the first brushes of paint were applied to the wall around the 14th March right in the midst of the foul weather.
The artist worked long hours every day until the mural was finished.
When I asked him what was the theme of his mural, he said “Love”
The project was completed with Fintan Magee’s signature on the 21st March. I hope he was pleased with the results. I thought it was rather amazing.
How blessed we are in Tahiti, to have such dedicated artists, who create all these wonderful masterpieces for everyone to enjoy.