It all started in my favorite gym locker room. I was chatting to Mike, who loves to go on cruises, and a guy on his way out said: “If you want to go to Tahiti you must go on the Aranui”. I did not even know how to spell “Aranui” but went home and started one of my favorite pastimes – Google’ing my dreams into reality. Never been on a cruise so why not start now.
Left in early January on the Air Tahiti Nui red eye that was scheduled to depart at 11pm. Finally got underway shortly after midnight and we arrived groggy eyed at 7’ish in the morning Tahiti time. Caught a taxi to the Pearl Beach Resort where we were spending 3 days to acclimatize before joining the ship. No, the room was not ready yet so we set off for a walk to work off the lack of sleep. Map showed “Pointe Venus” about 3 miles away. “Too far to walk”, said the receptionist but we set off anyway.
Road climbed up over a hill which put a sweat onto us, on top of the already humid conditions clinging to our skin. Rose kept going down the other side and we got a taste of typical semi rural Pape’ete with chickens scratching for food, cars whizzing by and everyone speaking French.
Pointe Venus has a bit of history behind it. There is a commemorative lighthouse and a HMS Bounty memorial to mark the spot where James Cook examined the 1769 transit of Venus. This unusual phenomenon takes place once every 243 years, when the planet appears to travel across the sun, from the perspective of people on Earth. (quote from expedia)
Back at the hotel we played tourist enjoying the pool and restaurant & bar.
I wanted to do a SCUBA dive while here and from one of the islands we were going to visit. My dilemma always is that I do not dive frequently enough and a dive operator will always ask you, rightly so: “When did you last dive?” I then fudge my answer which is usually along the lines of: “About a year ago but I am really comfortable in the water”. I call SCUBATek located a short distance away and see if I can get a refresher dive in before boarding the ship. Arno offers to pick me up and take me out the next morning. He has a student along with him and my $60 contribution makes it more worthwhile for him. It was just what I needed- a no pressure dive to get used to the gear, underwater signals & protocols and so that next time I can truthfully answer: “Oh, just last week in Pape’ete!”
Now the fun begins, stay tuned ………