Moorea, French Polynesia by ferry

 

 

2018 HAL world Cruise

Monday, January 22,2018

 

As we disembarked in Papeete, we were greeted with the local music and dance.  But we didn’t stop to listen or take photos.  We were headed to the Ferry Terminal next door where an Arementi high-speed catamaran was waiting to whisk us off to the enchanting Island of Moorea, often likened to James Michener’s mythological island of Bali Hai.  A 30-minute ferry ride and $9.50/pp is all it took to reach the ferry dock in the small village of Vai’are where Jo from Jo’s Tours waited to drive us over to the InterContinental Hotel ($45.00 total cost.)  There is only one road in Moorea and it circles the entire island.  It took us less than 25 minutes to reach the hotel.

As usual, music and dance await us as we disembark in Papeete.
As usual, music and dance await us as we disembark in Papeete.
The ferry terminal is right next to the dock.  Just a short walk away.
The ferry terminal is right next to the dock. Just a short walk away.
Armetti Ferry to Moorea
Armetti Ferry to Moorea
Not a crowded ferry at 9:45am.  Not much for the attendants to do.
Not a crowded ferry at 9:45am. Not much for the attendants to do.
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Once on the ferry in Papeete, it’s a 30 minute ride to Moorea. Cost of the ferry tickets was $9.50/person.
Riding to Moorea in comfort.
Riding to Moorea in comfort.
Moorea as seen from the ferry.
Moorea as seen from the ferry.
Via'are ferry dock, Moorea
Via’are ferry dock, Moorea
Many of the passengers seemed to be from the ship!
Many of the passengers seemed to be from the ship!
Arrival at the ferry dock in Vai'are, Moorea
Arrival at the ferry dock in Vai’are, Moorea
Transportation is readily available at the ferry dock.
Transportation is readily available at the ferry dock.
Taxis, tours, and rental cars are right there.
Taxis, tours, and rental cars are right there.
Food and drink are available but "to go" only.
Food and drink are available but “to go” only.
Look at that view!   And this is just from the dock.
Look at that view! And this is just from the dock.

 

Next, I’m going to tell you all about our fabulous stay in an over-water bungalow at the Moorea InterContinental Hotel!

Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

2018 HAL World Cruise

Monday, January 22,2018

The beautiful Island of Tahiti has charmed many adventurers from Captain Cook to James Michener to Marlon Brando.  And on Saturday nights it enchants cruise passengers especially, with the set-up of food trucks and an evening market right at the dock.  We missed the festivities on this trip since we ferried over to the Island of Moorea early in the day.  But in 2016 we had a blast!  Roasted pig, stews, Asian specialties, pizza and desserts galore.   After driving around the Island, shopping the Public Market, visiting the Vaima Mall and touring the Old Church, this is a wonderfully carefree and relaxing way to end a hectic day!

Docked in Papeete, Tahiti
Docked in Papeete, Tahiti
Papeete Public Market
Papeete Public Market
MS Amsterdam docked in Papeete as seen from the cafe at Vaima Mall
MS Amsterdam docked in Papeete as seen from the cafe at Vaima Mall
The Old Church
The Old Church
Food trucks line up on Saturday night!
Food trucks line up on Saturday night!
It's a diner's delight!
It’s a diner’s delight!
Roast pig
Roast pig
beef dishes
beef dishes
Asian dishes
Asian dishes
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and a plethora of desserts. But no photo of the banana crepes–we ate them all!!!!
Pleasant and jovial  atmosphere
Pleasant and jovial atmosphere
Moonlight over the festivities.
Moonlight over the festivities.
Even the market stayed open Saturday night!
Even the market stayed open Saturday night!

 

Next, I’m anxious to tell you about Moorea!

Avatoru, Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia

2018 HAL World Cruise

Friday, January 26, 2018

 

Upon arriving in the Rangiroa Lagoon, we awoke to see dolphins playing outside our window!  What a wonderful way to start the day.  I’m so sorry I couldn’t get the camera fast enough to record the event.  It would have been a glorious picture!

Sailing into Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.
Sailing into Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.

The Islands of Rangiroa appear to form a pearl necklace atop the Pacific Ocean.  We entered the lagoon thru the Tiputa cut just east of Avatoru.  And we actually tendered to Ohotu, a small village nearby.  A Wind Star ship, Wind Sprit, shared the anchorage with us.

 

Blue Lagoon, to the west, is considered one of the best diving destinations in the world.  A highlight for divers, snorkelers and even glass-bottomed boats is to “shoot the pass”.  This is when a rush of water between the ocean and lagoon carries you through the cut surrounded by seemingly millions of fish.

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The string of Islands that form Rangiroa look like a pearl necklace lying atop the ocean. Blue Lagoon is one of the highest rated diving spots in the world.

We had a lovely day in Rangiroa.

Music and dancing at the tender dock.
Music and dancing at the tender dock.
Dancers try to teach the visitors how to move their hips!
Dancers try to teach the visitors how to move their hips!
Trying to get WiFi in a local cafe.
Trying to get WiFi in a local cafe.
Vendors on the dock and swimmers in the sea.
Vendors on the dock and swimmers in the sea.
The MS Amsterdam at anchor in Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.
The MS Amsterdam at anchor in Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.
Wind Star's Wind Spirit anchored with us.
Wind Star’s Wind Spirit anchored with us.
Shopping is, immediately, available as we exit the tender!
Shopping is, immediately, available as we exit the tender!
A walk along the sea edge.
A walk along the sea edge.
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Walking along the sea edge with the palms blowing in the wind, surf lapping at the shore, and clear water sparkling is just beautiful!
Just look at that water!
Just look at that water!
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The tender coming in from the Wind Spirit. Notice the outrigger getting ready to wake surf.
We had 4 tenders operating.
We had 4 tenders operating.
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The Wind Spirit pulling in the last tender, raising the sails and getting ready to depart.
The sailaway from Rangiroa Lagoon.
The sailaway from Rangiroa Lagoon.
Transiting the Tiputa Cut.
Transiting the Tiputa Cut.
Locals waving us off.
Locals waving us off.
And now entering the Pacific once again.
And now entering the Pacific once again.

 

 

Next stop:  Papeete, Tahiti in the Society Islands.

Avatoru, Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia

2018 HAL World Cruise

 

Upon arriving in the Rangiroa Lagoon, we awoke to see dolphins playing outside our window!  What a wonderful way to start the day.  I’m so sorry I couldn’t get the camera fast enough to record the event.  It would have been a glorious picture!

Sailing into Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.
Sailing into Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.

The Islands of Rangiroa appear to form a pearl necklace atop the Pacific Ocean.  We entered the lagoon thru the Tiputa cut just east of Avatoru.  We tendered to Ohotu, a small village nearby.  A Wind Star ship, Wind Sprit, shared the anchorage with us.

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The string of Islands that form Rangiroa look like a pearl necklace lying atop the ocean. Blue Lagoon is one of the highest rated diving spots in the world.

Blue Lagoon, to the west, is considered one of the best diving destinations in the world.  A highlight for divers, snorkelers and even glass-bottomed boats is to “shoot the pass”.  This is when a rush of water between the ocean and lagoon carries you through the cut surrounded by seemingly millions of fish.

We had a lovely day in Rangiroa.

Music and dancing at the tender dock.
Music and dancing at the tender dock.
Dancers try to teach the visitors how to move their hips!
Dancers try to teach the visitors how to move their hips!
Trying to get WiFi in a local cafe.
Trying to get WiFi in a local cafe.
Vendors on the dock and swimmers in the sea.
Vendors on the dock and swimmers in the sea.
The MS Amsterdam at anchor in Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.
The MS Amsterdam at anchor in Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia.
Wind Star's Wind Spirit anchored with us.
Wind Star’s Wind Spirit anchored with us.
Shopping is, immediately, available as we exit the tender!
Shopping is, immediately, available as we exit the tender!
A walk along the sea edge.
A walk along the sea edge.
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Walking along the sea edge with the palms blowing in the wind, surf lapping at the shore, and clear water sparkling is just beautiful!
Just look at that water!
Just look at that water!
P1000947 (640x359)
The tender coming in from the Wind Spirit. Notice the outrigger getting ready to wake surf.
We had 4 tenders operating.
We had 4 tenders operating.
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The Wind Spirit pulling in the last tender, raising the sails and getting ready to depart.
The sailaway from Rangiroa Lagoon.
The sailaway from Rangiroa Lagoon.
Transiting the Tiputa Cut.
Transiting the Tiputa Cut.
Locals waving us off.
Locals waving us off.
And now entering the Pacific once again.
And now entering the Pacific once again.

 

Next stop:  Papeete, Tahiti in the Society Islands.

Taiohea, Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia

2018 HAL World Cruise

 

After 8 days transiting the Pacific Ocean, we anchored in Taiohea Bay on the Island of Nuku Hiva.  We had been here before, so this was an opportunity to revisit a few favorite places.

This was our view during 8 days at sea.
This was our view during 8 days at sea.
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And then we awoke to this view of LAND! We were entering the Bay of Taiohea in Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia.
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Nuku Hiva is one of the Marquesas Islands. And the Marquesas are one of many island (motu) chains in Polynesia.
Taking photos of Taiohea from the aft deck before disembarking for the day.
Taking photos of Taiohea from the aft deck before disembarking for the day.
Bay of Taiohea
Bay of Taiohea
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Outrigger canoes had fun surfing the wake of our tenders. That ship on the left is an auxiliary ship (the captain calls it a “tender ship”) for someone’s yacht–it carriies all the toys and additional supplies.
Arriving at the tender dock and the ruins of Ft. Collet above.
Arriving at the tender dock and the ruins of Ft. Collet above.
A beach near the tender dock at Nuku Hiva.
A beach near the tender dock at Nuku Hiva.
One of the outriggers that rode the wake of our tenders.
One of the outriggers that rode the wake of our tenders.
Tours are available at the dock.
Tours are available at the dock.
Shopping is available, also.
Shopping is available, also.
And, of course, food and drink are plentiful.
And, of course, food and drink are plentiful.
MS Amsterdam anchored in the Bay of Taiohea.
MS Amsterdam anchored in the Bay of Taiohea.
A military memorial.
A military memorial.
Notre Dame Cathedral of Taiohea
Notre Dame Cathedral of Taiohea
We were surprised to come across a phone booth!  Who you gonna call???....
We were surprised to come across a phone booth! Who you gonna call???….
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……Another phone booth! Next to a school where everyone was on their cell phone! Across the street from the cemetary!
De Temehea archeological site on Taiohea, Nuku Hiva.
De Temehea archeological site on Taiohea, Nuku Hiva.
Archeological site
Archeological site
Ruins of a former royal residence.
Ruins of a former royal residence.
Ancient Tikis at the Archeological site.
Ancient Tikis at the Archeological site.
The cemetary at Taiohea, Nuku Hiva.
The cemetary at Taiohea, Nuku Hiva.
The bungalows of Rose Corser's Te'e Tai Inn and Museum.
The bungalows of Rose Corser’s Te’e Tai Inn and Museum.
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Refreshment at the He’e Tai Inn and Museum on the Bay of Taiohea, Nuku Hiva. Those are beet chips in the bowl and they are very good!
The  Museum
The Museum
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Rose Corser and her docent Isabel. Rose originally came from Oklahoma City in 1979. She and her husband developed a passion for the history and culture of Polynesia. Today, she runs the inn, restaurant and museum.

 

Our next stop is Avatoru, Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands.

Fuerte Amador, Panama

2018 HAL World Cruise

 

Fuerte Amador is the port city for Panama City.  Ships anchor off-shore and tender the passengers to a beautiful dock area (Flamenco Island Marina) filled with restaurants and shops.  From there, shuttle buses will take you into the city or tours can be arranged to the ruins of the first Panama City (known as Panama Viejo) or to the Old Colonial City, (known as Casco Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage site) or to the canal area and the Miraflores Locks as well as the HOP-ON/HOP-OFF tour bus (affectionately known all over the world as the HOHO.)

 

This time, we elected to ride the shuttle into the city.  We were dropped-off at a large mall, Multiplaza.  After shopping the English language bookstore, we had lunch and then shuttled on back to the dock area for a drink before re-boarding the ship.  We passed the Old Canal Zone on the way back and saw signs of anticipated renovation.  That could be very nice!

MS Amsterdam anchored at Fuerte Amador.
MS Amsterdam anchored at Fuerte Amador.
At the tender dock.
At the tender dock.
All the happy passengers waiting for the shuttle into Panama City.
All the happy passengers waiting for the shuttle into Panama City.
The shuttle took us to the Multiplaza mall.
The shuttle took us to the Multiplaza mall.
Nice mall--found a bookstore with English language books!
Nice mall–found a bookstore with English language books!
And lots of little cafes.
And lots of little cafes.
Panama City is a modern, highly populated city with lots of high-rises.
Panama City is a modern, highly populated city with lots of high-rises.
Lots of cars but they move along pretty well with round-abouts.
Lots of cars but they move along pretty well with round-abouts.
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We’ve noticed that construction seems to be booming all around the world. Panama is no exception.
That funny sail-looking building in the center is the Panama Trump Tower.
That funny sail-looking building in the center is the Panama Trump Tower.
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There are many administrative buildings for the Canal Authority. This was once a compound adminitered by the USA and is now know as the Old Canal Zone.
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This appeaars to be an abandoned housing area. Is this part of the Albrook Air Force Base housing?

 

Now, we are on our way to French Polynesia.  We will spend several days at sea just getting to our first Polynesian port of Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands.  I’d like to point out the link at the top of our blog that will take you to Captain Who’s Driving.  That is the blog of Captain Jonathan Mercer, the MS Amsterdam captain, who provides not only great commentary but pictures and video as well!  He goes into navigational detail and blogs frequently (he must have FREE wifi!)  I’m sure you’ll enjoy his blog.  If you tend to read RovingRaconteurs on an ipad, you might not see the menu or link and can just type in captainwhosdriving.com.

Panama Canal, Panama

 

 

2018 HAL World Cruise

 

It doesn’t matter if a canal transit is your first or your 21st, it is always an impressive journey.  It is, however, all about the locks!  Entering a lock, watching the gates close, and then either rising of lowering, all reminds you that this was and remains a tremendous engineering accomplishment!

 

It takes a full day to make the crossing.  The first time, as you’re having breakfast, you wonder what you’ll do with yourself all day long!  And then you get caught up in trying to see it all.  Before you know it, you’re out the other side and having dinner.  It is ALWAYS a wonderful experience!

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The Houston Bridge. Largest container ship, ever! Carries 11,000 containers. A ship of this size can now transit the Panama Canal through the new canals: Cocoli & Agua Clara, both of which can accomodate huge ships thus saving fuel, time and costs!

Centenial Bridge

Centennial Bridge

Entering the Pedro-Miguel Locks
Entering the Pedro-Miguel Locks

In the Mraflores Lock

In the Miraflores LocksTourists watching tourists transit the Miraflores Locks

Tourists watching tourists!

The pilot boat picking up the canal pilot.

The canal pilot disembarking.

Crossing under Bridge of the Americas.

Bridge of the Americas

Panama BioMuseum.  Building by Frank Gehry.

The Panama Biomuseum.  Building by Frank Ghery

 

Ships have lifeboats.  Do SUVs have lifecars?

If ships have lifeboats; do SUVs have lifecars?