Saturday, March 8, 2008

Raiatea & Tahaa, French Polynesia

Tahitian Princess arrived in Raiatea, French Polynesia 6:00 AM in the morning. It would remain there until 6:00 AM the following morning giving us plenty of time to explore Raiatea and Tahaa. Raiatea is known as the "Sacred Island" and Tahaa, the "Vanilla Island". but for us, this was Black Pearl country.

After breakfast it was off on our shore excursion, Tahaa Pearl Farm Visit And Motu Mahaea Beach, which went from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm. We were able to visit a Black Pearl Farm and then spend some free time on Motu Mahaea. Since we didn't have time to shop for black pearls in Papette, this was our next choice.

We arrived at the Motu Pearl Farm where we were greeted by a guitar player and several Polynesian singers. The owner's daughter provided a short talk about black pearls explaining the entire process and allowing us to get our first look at black pearls close up.

For more information about Black Pearls and the industry, check out the following websites:

Just like most other precious gems, the color and quality is very important, so if you go shopping for a black pearl in Tahiti, make sure you get the quality that matches your budget. It is best to purchase the loose gems and have them set back home.

After our Pearl Farm tour, we returned to the ship to relax before our evening entertainment. No visit to Polynesia is complete without a Motu Ofetaro Feast & Traditional Polynesian Show. We booked this dinner show, which went from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. When we arrived at the motu we were greeted with a traditional flower welcome by a Polynesian woman in traditional dress.

Preparation was underway for the entertainment and dinner. We had time to explore the motu before the buffet dinner. The main entree was a pig which was being prepared in a pit. The sun was starting to set. We could see our ship glowing in the sunset in the distance.

The dinner was excellent and the entertainment was fantastic. There were even a group of Polynesian children that performed for us. Part of the show was perfomed outside prior to dinner, and the conclusion were Polynesian dancers performing as we finnished our meal indoors.

Note: I recently checked to see if Princess Cruises still offered this excursion, and noticed that it was not listed. I hope that the dinner show is still being performed because it was a very enjoyable evening. You might want to research alternative evening entertainment if this tour is not available on your cruise.

The next morning it was time to say an early good-bye to Raiatea and Tahaa. The Tahitian Princess set sail past Tahaa towards Bora Bora as the sun was rising, making for some incredible sunrise pictures. Check out the following photo albums for more pictures of these two ports of call.

Raiatea - Motu Feast , Tahaa Pearl Farm & Motu

Tahaa Underwater Pics , Tahaa Scenic Cruising

Next time, we arrive in Bora Bora to continue our Tahitian adventure.

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