Vacation Pictures, Part 5

4-December–Moorea, French Polynesia

This is the last of my vacation posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. 🙂 Dominique Tehei, the Marina Supervisor and Dive Master (and friend) on the Paul Gauguin (the ship I was on), took all the underwater pictures. It was an amazing trip and just what I needed to revitalize myself.

Dominique and Jean-Michel

I’m in the back by Randy, the guy in the blue shirt.

I went on a total of 17 dives during my vacation. Prior to this trip, I only had 7 open-water dives. My skills improved greatly, my buoyancy issues are resolved, and I’m more comfortable underwater.

Prior to leaving for vacation I knew I wanted to get 2 tattoos. Tattoos are a big part of Polynesian culture and there is a special place in my heart for the South Pacific. I also wanted something to symbolize and mark what I went through this past year. So after my last dive, I went to Taniera Tattoo.

I explained my background and why I wanted the tattoos and Taniera drew the tattoos. These were my first tattoos and I was surprised how unpainful they were. They healed quickly and I am immensely satisfied and happy with both.

4-December, Papeete, Tahiti

That night we sailed into the bustling city of Papeete. It’s the most built up and commercialized island of French Polynesia. For dinner that night I went to the docks to Les Roulottes.

If you’ve seen Anthony Bourdain’s French Polynesia episode, he visits it. Every night food trucks set up shop and stay open until the wee hours of the morning. It’s Tahitian street-food at it’s best. I look forward to buying and eating poisson cru (Tahitian raw fish salad) every year. The fish is so fresh.

After dinner and drinks, my friends and I went dancing at Morrison’s and stayed until closing. We went back to the ship as the sun was rising. I saw the Southern Cross for the first time! It was a very fun night and a great way to spend my last day in the South Pacific.

Vacation Pictures, part four

2-December, Wednesday Bora Bora, French Polynesia

On Tuesday, as we were experiencing lots of rain and big waves due to the cyclone, the Captain makes an announcement that he just talked to people on Bora Bora and it has been raining there the last two days. This was my third visit to Bora Bora and I was spending most of the day diving, but really wanted it to be sunny. Luckily, the weather gods were smiling on us and we woke up to a perfect day as we arrived Wednesday morning.

There were so many divers diving in Bora Bora, they needed to organize the tanks and all the equipment with labels. This my tank for dive #2 that day.

Driving the Zodiac to the dive site. Okay, not really–they wouldn’t let me. I asked them to take a picture of me pretending to drive the boat. 😛

Lemon sharks. Not dangerous.

I’m in the upper right next to Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Finding Nemo?

Since I had some free time in the late afternoon I decided to visit Bloody Mary’s, the famous bar and restaurant on Bora Bora. I took a cab from the dock to the restaurant and the driver  couldn’t stop talking about Couples Retreat. The movie was filmed at the St. Regis on Bora Bora and the movie rented the driver’s boat for a month.  If you’ve seen the movie it’s the boat used in the shark scene.

3-December–Taha’a, French Polynesia

Other than being remarkably beautiful, Taha’a is known as vanilla island because 80% of Taihitian vanilla is grown there. I bought lots of vanilla of course. 😛

We spent the day at Motu Mahana with snorkeling, kayaking, waterskiing, and a beach BBQ.

Coming up in Vacation Pictures, part five:

  • Moorea–last dive of the trip
  • Tattoos!
  • Fun times in Papeete, Tahiti

Vacation Pictures, part one

No TWD today. I made the dough for the cookies before I left for vacation, but haven’t had the  time to bake them. I’m not going to have time to make anything until this weekend. In the meantime, I’ll share a few vacation pictures today and over the next few days.

21-Nov, Saturday Denarau Island, Fiji

We landed at the airport, checked into the hotel, had breakfast…I went to the activities desk and asked about dives. There was a dive leaving in 20 minutes. I rushed to my room, changed into my bathing suit, and rushed back to the dock. Within 3 hours of landing in Fiji, I was on a dive boat heading out for my first two dives of the trip. This picture was taken with the dive master when we were heading back to the dock. It was a great start for my vacation.

22-Nov, Sunday Denarau Island, Fiji

The shuttles to take us to the cruise ship were picking us up at 2 pm on Sunday, so I pretty much just relaxed and read on the beach all day. This was the view.

23-Nov, Monday Lautoka, Fiji

Spent the day diving. This was my first shipwreck dive. 🙂

With my good friend and dive instructor on the ship, Dominique.

Looking at the fishies.

On Beachcomber Island, where we went for our surface interval between dives.

The coral was breathtakingly beautiful in Fiji.

Coming up in Vacation Pictures, part two:

  • Suva, Fiji: Shark dive! Dove to 96 feet, my deepest ever.
  • Savusavu, Fiji: Jean-Michel Cousteau! More dives!
  • Vava’u, Tonga: My favorite dives of the trip, more Jean-Michel Cousteau