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.

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Today doesn’t exist for me

Because of travel and crossing the International Date Line…Boarded plane in LAX on November 19th and 10 hours later landed in Fiji on November 21.

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Heading out for a dive, Bora Bora: 2008

This is my third year in a row cruising  the South Pacific; first time to Fiji. On the itinerary this year: 3 different islands in Fiji, Tonga, 2 different Cook Islands, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea, and then finish in Papeete. I’m not a big fan of cruising, but I obviously like this ship. It’s small, 300 passengers, and geared towards activity (diving, hiking, snorkeling, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking).

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Getting ready to snorkel in Rangiroa, 2007

It’s like summer camp because I get to meet up with with friends I met from the years before.

There’s Laksman from Sri Lanka. He’s a bartender on the ship. I met him the first year I was on board and last year we went ran together in the Marquesas and on Moorea.

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Running on Nuku Hiva, Marquesas with Laksman, 2008

There’s the Marina Crew. Martin L. (Montreal) who was my scuba instructor, Robert (Montreal), who was my water ski instructor, Martin B. (Montreal)  and Frederick (France), two more dive instructors, and Emily (Belgium) the travel desk coordinator. (All names pronounced the French way).

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Dominique, Me, Robert: 2007

There’s Dominique (Tahiti) who is the dive master. He wasn’t on board last year, but will be back this year. The crew changes based on contract length and vacations.

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The Marina Crew and Me, 2008

There’s the Engine Room Crew. They are all from Croatia. We would hang out at one of the ship’s bars at night and sometimes meet up on hikes.

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The Engine Room Crew, 2008

There’s Alex, one of the sommeliers. He’s from France.

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Desmond, Laksman, and Alex, 2008

Although I won’t see them this year, I’ve also made friend with other passengers who I’ve kept in touch through Facebook: Patrick from Eugene, Vanessa from Santa Monica, Olivier from France.  I love meeting new people. I wonder who I will meet this year.

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Kayaking in Taha'a, 2007

So what happened on November 20, 2009? Anything exciting?