This evening, we were treated to a six course dinner, paired with wines inspired by the iconic flavors of tropical Polynesia and combined with the finesse and richness of French cuisine. Chef Lallemand, born in France and now living in Tahiti (an overseas collective of France), is on board the MS Amsterdam as “Guest Chef” for for the segment of our cruise from Peru to Tahiti. He has provided cooking demonstrations in the on-board facilities of “America’s Test Kitchen”. He has also created several dishes for special events and wine tastings.
Tahitian food is well known for its exotic fruits, fresh fish and vegetables which are prepared with a strong French influence underlying the Tahitian ingredients. The sauces served in these islands often feature the home grown vanilla beans.
Chef Lallemand came to Tahiti, lured by the island life and the chance to fuse old-world techniques with ultra-fresh fish and quality local produce.
Today, a few of us were able to taste the results of his art.
It was sublime!
Our next port is Papeete, Tahiti. I can’t wait to tell you all about the Food Trucks!!!!
Pitcairn Island, one of four tiny islands in the group, is the only one inhabited. This last remaining British Overseas Territory, located in the remote South Pacific, is the furthest inhabited land from any continent on the earth! There is no airport; there is only one circuitous road; there is no TV reception although TVs with DVD players are numerous; there is no internet but the HAM radio tower keeps the inhabitants in touch with the outside world; there are only about 4 dozen people living there. All are descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty and their Polynesian companions.
The mutineers arrived on Pitcairn in 1790. They set fire to the HMS Bounty in order to sink her and hide her from discovery. The wreck is still visible underwater and was, in fact, discovered by the National Geographic explorer Luis Marden in 1957.
Today, half the population of Pitcairn came aboard the MS Amsterdam. The pictures will tell the story about our day. You all know the story of Mutiny on the Bounty! We met the descendants of the Bounty Mutineers!
Now another couple of days at sea as we sail to Papeete, Tahiti.
Today, we got together with several other wine drinkers to try out a new form of “Tasting.” The event was advertised as a SPEED Wine Tasting. Rog and I had not heard of this but some others on board had participated before and assured us this was not a “how much can you guzzle” type event! It is, I guess, a serious approach to a new way of sampling wine. Anyway, we did it. We had fun. And we discovered a couple of new wines to buy when we get home.
The ship strives to keep its passengers entertained—especially on sea days! Today was no exception. At 1:00 pm this afternoon–just after lunch–a craft beer tasting was scheduled in the Sports Bar. For $14.95/pp we were regaled with 4 different craft beers along with the appropriate salty nibbles! A short lecture accompanied by the tasting gave us an introduction to ALES. The following pictures should tell the story.
We ended the session with the usual trivia game for prizes of beer along with a bar game. I’m not including the bar game—if you know it, you’ll think we’re dumb ‘cause we didn’t. If you don’t know it, why should we give it away!!!!!
So sometimes, we’re romantics at heart. One of the reasons we chose to take this cruise was to explore the mysterious Easter Island. We knew of it. We had seen moai. We knew there was uncertainty about the history of the island and the meaning of the moai statues. We were eager to learn more; to be in the moment; to garner impressions!
Easter Island is known to the native people as Rapa Nui. The culture dates back to about 500 AD. It was named “Easter Island” by Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen when he spotted the island on Easter Sunday, 1722. The island is famous for the moai, those huge statues, nearly 9oo of them, dotting the island. Each one is carved from a single stone of compressed volcanic ash. The largest standing moai is 33 feet tall and weighs 83 tons! (Archeologists have also discovered larger, unfinished moai in the Rano Kau quarry—69 feet high and 270 tons!)
The Rapa Nui National Park ranger explained to us that the moai are carved in the likeness of ancestors; the point is to honor their forebearers in hopes of protection and good fortune; the moai always face inland (with only one exception) to watch over the population; their backs are to the see because that’s were they came from and where there spirits still reside. (That one exception is the Ahu Akivi. Here seven moai, representing the original scouts left on the island to await the King’s arrival with the original settlers, face the ocean in anticipation.)
We arrived at our anchorage before dawn. I’ll confess, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. Got Roger up in the black of night to watch the sail-in! So, you might sympathize with our frustration when it was announced that the tender operation would be very slow due to the large swells rocking both the ship and the tenders—not necessarily in unison! We didn’t get to shore until after 2:00pm!!!! But at least we did; by 4:00pm all outbound transport was cancelled and many passengers lost the opportunity to go ashore. From 4:30 to 6:30pm only returning passengers were transported. We were on one of the last tenders. Our 8-hour tour had been accomplished in less than 4 hours! It was a whirlwind tour, to say the least!
Here are the photos:
This was a fabulous port-of-call. I chose to end the series of photos with Traveling Moai because he so perfectly illustrates the joys, education, and opportunities of travel! Our next stop will be at Pitcairn Island, although only an anchorage. We will not disembark the ship. Instead, a delegation from the island will come on board. We look forward to meeting them!!!!!