Sail Away With Me Lindblad-National Geographic

Tahiti to the Marquesas French Polynesia Adventure
French Post-Impressionist Gauguin painted some of his most famous work here, Melville penned his first book, Typee, after an island visit, a highly romanticized account of his life among Polynesians. Gauguin spent his last days in the islands and died in 1903 at Hiva ‘Oa. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery, the main cemetery in Atuona, Hiva ‘Oa, French Polynesia. It is located on a hillside on the eastern edge of town, overlooking the anchorage on Atuona Bay. The cemetery is also the final resting place of Belgian singer and poet Jacques Brel. They both rest facing Taaoa’s Bay under the sweet fragrance of frangipani trees.

“Aha Oe Feii?” (“What? Are You Jealous?”). 1892 Gauguin

Lindblad-National Geographic Orion is a state-of-the-art expedition ship, designed to safely explore the remote regions of the planet. Orion carries 102 guests in 53 cabins, nine of them with balconies. She is equipped with a full complement of cool tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, Zodiacs, an ROV, and the capacity to accommodate scuba divers. Her size and nimbleness offer the perfect combination of safety and the ability to reach out-of-the-way islands and other places where large cruise ships cannot go.

Lindblad-National Geographic Orion

Barefoot casual luxury is the operating phrase on this 10-day cruise from Tahiti to remote islands. Revel in idyllic islands and the allure of the high seas. We will follow in the path of early Polynesian navigators on this epic voyage. From the aquamarine atolls of the Tuamotu Islands to the lush volcanic peaks of the mysterious Marquesas, visiting some of the most remote and compelling sites in the far reaches of French Polynesia.
Expedition Highlights
• Venture into the lush tropical forest and discover ancient Polynesian sacred sites on the verdant island of Hiva Oa.
• Snorkel or dive in the Tuamotus and see abundant fish and thriving coral reef ecosystems.
• Learn stand-up paddle boarding in gorgeous turquoise lagoons.
• Watch on deck as National Geographic Orion navigates into dramatic Hanavave Bay.

The Expedition Team includes, dive-masters, guest speakers, naturalists, expert photo instructors, naturalists, cultural specialists, in total 16 learned professionals to teach and inspire guests. One of the team members is Tua Pittman, a Cultural Specialist. Internationally acclaimed as a traditional master navigator, Tua has navigated canoes across the great oceans of our planet from the coastlines of Asia through to the shores of the Americas for more than 30 years, without the use of modern instruments. This Cook Islander, also of New Zealand Maori and Tahitian bloodlines, uses an ancient navigational system based upon careful observation of celestial bodies—sun, moon, and stars—as well as using ocean swells, flight patterns of birds, and other natural markers. I’m certain he can explain the midnight skies and point out the Southern Cross.

Lindblad-National Geographic Polynesia Expedition

In preparation, I’m re-reading Melville’s ‘Typee’, his tale of deserting Acushnet, a whaling ship in 1846 when landing at the Marquesas Islands. He believed he had found a South Sea paradise in the mysterious chain of islands, after he and his fellow seaman,Toby, abandoned ship and roamed the deep green valleys. Welcomed by the locals, he then began to suspect his new islander friends were cannibals and he might end up as the entrée in an upcoming feast. As a particularly witty friend advised: don’t accept an island dinner invitation as you may be dinner.

Infinite shades of azure. Secluded atolls.The sultry perfume of Tiare Tahiti (gardenia). To this day French Polynesia and the South Pacific conjure up the romantic notions brought back by the legendary European explorers who discovered it hundreds of years ago. Lindblad-National Geographic has been exploring the “Pearl of the Pacific” since the 1980s and this South Pacific cruise experience is key to helping you truly “get lost” in this tropical paradise.

Lindblad-National Geographic Orion

The Marquesas are so remote that some are untouched since the era of European explorers. A land of dewy and majestic 1,000-foot waterfalls cascade down volcanic cliffs and craggy peaks disappear into the brilliant white clouds hovering above the turquoise seas.

Paradise indeed, Epic Lindblad-National Geographic Journeys deliver comfort, beguiling scenery and deep knowledge on exhilarating authentic adventures. Linblad perfected escapades and the National Geographic alliance is the perfect collaboration of world-renowned scientists, naturalists, and researchers while sailing on a high comfort expedition ship.

I understand first bell is at 7.30 am, exploits are on the horizon every day, this isn’t a snooze escape!

Lindblad National Geographic nurse shark Polynesia Expedition

Fabulous Four Seasons Service Bora Bora

There are times I am completely astounded by excellent service – and on multiple occasions at a Four Seasons Resort  I’ve been the recipient of an extraordinary effort by a hotel team member.

My first afternoon in Bora Bora, I hopped aboard one of the hotel boats to explore the village of Vaitape, Bora Bora’s largest town and wharf. It supplies the villagers with groceries, local commerce is transacted at the Banque de Tahiti, colorful stamps can be purchased at the Post Office, and besides a black pearl emporium on every corner, there are a few interesting tourist shops and small cafes, and a Protestant church. Lots of dogs, actually more free roaming dogs than I have ever seen – all friendly and curious, no nasty snarling.

Many more interesting sights were discovered on the local lanes swarming with young friendly children who wanted to see their images on my camera. Kids whose main apparel seemed to be undies or swimsuits – hot humid weather certainly reduces  clothing needs. The scene was so not home – when was the last time you saw kids untethered and undressed with not a care in the world other than who could scurry first to the top of a dirt pile?

On my travels, I frequently look for local art as my son and my daughter-in-law decline hats, bracelets and exotic salt and fragrant spices from my travels. My last stop on the fleeting circuit was at a home design shop that yielded an oil painting of a striking Tiki face – a Picasso-esqe Cubist rendering of a Tiki…and in my favorite tones. Black and silver with a dash of red…it spoke to me and just as importantly, it would fit in my suitcase. I had already been lectured by Tahiti Nui air on my bags and forced to downsize a carry-on for the short hop…small acquisitions were imperative.

Happy with my treasure, I strolled back to the idling Four Seasons motorboat. I was early and the two boatmen welcomed me aboard, as I stepped across the rail, I handed them my camera bag and accidentally dropped my purchase into the sea…. barely a block away and my one prize was in the drink….Tea, quickly reached down between the boat and the pier and fished out the dripping wet bag… unfolding the bubble wrap we both smiled as we discovered Tiki power withstood the sea, it was barely damp. His boat Captain, Apera, said let me go back to the shop and have it repackaged – just like that- not even a moment for me to ask for help or shed a tear; they both jumped to action beyond the call of kindness and responsibility. Moments later he appeared with a freshly wrapped bag with my Tiki Picasso ready for airline inspection.

Tea & Apera- Four Seasons Heros

Tea & Apera- Four Seasons Bora Bora Heroes

These random acts of kindness don’t materialize at every hotel property – trust me; the Four Seasons team members are truly courteous, kind and exceptionally interested in providing sensational service.

That evening, I emailed their photos to Michel Volk, the hotel GM,  with my highest praise. My Tiki is in my office watching over me, reminding me a gorgeous day on the beautiful Bora Bora seas, in a lovely port and the generous spirit of two delightful and caring Tahitian boatmen.

Maururu Roa Tea & Apera! Apera