We arrived at Avatoru, Rangiroa, French Polynesia around 7 AM. Rangiroa is one of the largest atolls in the world stretching over 50 miles and comprised of over 400 smaller islands, only two of which are inhabited. To get to the protected interior our ship must navigate through a relatively narrow passage called Tiputa Pass, located between the two inhabited islands. The currents can be swift when passing thru the gap. Capt. Jonathan, with the assistance from the harbor pilot, paid close attention to make sure all went safely.
The main town on the most populated island is Avatrou. Avatrou sits at the end of the most populated island. Ships will normally tender into a pier at the opposite end of this island. Occasionally ships will tender into the other inhabited island on the other side of the entrance gap to the lagoon.
We anchored about 7:30 AM and tendering was expected to start shortly thereafter. However, due to heavier than expected wave action on the starboard side, they had to move tendering to the port side which caused some delays.
Tender tickets were being handed out near the Dive-Inn grill this morning. This location allowed people to move chairs and tables in a way to create a line where they could sit and eat breakfast while holding a position in line. Tomorrow we’ll be alongside a pier and no tendering will be required. With as much tendering as we are doing this cruise I’m sure they will continue to refine the tender ticketing procedures.
At 8:50 AM they called our color group and we proceeded to Deck A to board our tender. Once again the hotel director, Henk, was on board the tender guiding guests to their seats. We were on the tender at 9 AM, left the ship at 9:05 AM and arrived at our shoreside pier at 9:11 AM.
Sarah and Helen
Two of our favorite performers, Sarah Chandler and Helen Wilding, were on our tender and we are able to snap this photo once we were ashore. They resemble each other, and were frequently mistaken for each other during the time they were on the ship.
Visiting a Local Church
Our plan today was to visit one of the many local churches on the island. I was unable to easily find any information about what time services were held in the various churches, but I finally was able to contact some regional officials for the local Mormon Church who were very helpful in setting up a visit to their Church on Rangiroa.
We had arranged to be met at the tender landing by some of the missionaries, but due to the delay in our tendering we missed the missionaries who had to return to the church since services were starting at 9 AM. Once we were ashore, we quickly found a taxi to take us to the church for five dollars a person and we arrived around 9:30 AM. We were warmly welcomed even though the services were already in progress. We took seats towards the front and we enjoyed the final 15 minutes of the service which was delivered in French.
During the break between the Church service and Bible study we chatted with the missionaries who were from France. They had been there about four months of their two year mission.
One of the parishioners called us a taxi which arrived in about 15 minutes. While we waited we had a chance to talk with her for a few minutes and learn a little more about her life on the island. We appreciated the hospitality we received while visiting the church and were made to feel very welcome.
Our taxi was actually a private vehicle pressed into service during the cruise ship visits. Our driver took us to the far end of the island were Avatrou is located for a ‘windshield tour’ before we headed back towards the tender landing. Even though everything was closed, since this was a Sunday, there are not very many commercial establishments on the island.
NOTE: The main things to do on this port visit are snorkeling and scuba. If neither of those activities are of interest, then you can spend an hour or so visiting the shops near the tender landing and you are seeing about the same things that you would have seen had you ventured further away. Some people had arranged tours to go to smaller islands where they spent the day snorkeling and enjoying a beach cookout.
This is a great place for introductory scuba lesson if you are interested and there are variety of companies that offer introductory dives.
After we finished our island tour our driver dropped us off back at the tender landing. We spent another hour wandering through a small convenience store, where we picked up a bottle of local wine and a few other snacks, and the shops set up for the day on the tender landing.
Evening Aboard the Amsterdam
There was a short line for the tenders and we were soon back on the ship. We spent the remainder the afternoon relaxing in our cabin before we joined our table mates for Pub Trivia followed by dinner and the evening show.
Most of the people at our table ordered the Szechuan Shrimp with Thai basil. As expected the food was delicious and service continues to be outstanding.
Fred Moore was the entertainer in the Queen’s Lounge this evening. This is his second show this cruise. He has a great magician with a wonderful sense of humor, a terrific wit, way of engaging the audience to become participants in many of his tricks and illusions. In addition to his wonderful performances we enjoyed dinner with him a few nights ago and have chatted with him around the ship on several occasions. If you ever see Fred Moore on the evening entertainments program be sure to catch the show.This entry was posted in Uncategorized