Crisp blue skies contrasted with green palm trees and blue seas as we glided thru the slot between two major atolls forming part of Rangiroa. The humidity of Nuvu Hika has vanished, replaced by a perfect combination of gentle breezes, temperature and fresh air.
Arriving at our anchorage about 1 hour early, the tenders were in the water quickly and Gene announced that open tendering would commence immediately and tickets would not be required until 8am. There wasn’t much of a “rush” for the tenders and open tendering resumed at 8:30am.
There was much discussion about our anchorage location and the significance wasn’t apparent until we arrived and could see the situation first hand. Rangiroa is an oblong shaped coral atoll that surrounds a sheltered anchorage area. There is an open slot that ships pass thru to get inside the atoll. The Captain’s post here has much better insight to the situation.
The atoll on the north side of the slot is where the town of Avatoru is located along with the airport and most of the businesses. The atoll on the south side of the slot has a church, a post office, a couple of stores and not much else. There is a $5 water taxi service to take you across the ¼ mile slot if you want to go to airport or where more of the businesses are located.
Our preference would be to anchor on the north side of the slot so we would tender to the more populated atoll. However that anchorage was taken by another cruise line so we were assigned the anchorage to the south of the slot.
We had arranged for an independent introductory scuba dive with a local diving company. The red dive boat picked us up on time and we headed out to an area called the “aquarium”. This reef area has moorings that are used by snorkel companies as well as for our dive, since the water is only about 20 feet deep, which is plenty deep for an introductory dive.
There were only two of us for the dive, so we received plenty of personal attention. After about 30 minutes of instruction about safety and the equipment we were ready to get into the warm water. After some final checks, we started down to about 10 feet and after verifying all was well, we continued down toward the bottom – about 20 feet down.
We could see why they called this area the aquarium. We were surrounded by tropical fish, small sharks, eels and rays. We also swam well underneath the snorkelers paddling along on the surface but were easily visible. Thirty minutes later we were ready to surface and head to the dive shop to get our first dive certificates and settle the bill. The conditions for our first dive was perfect and it was very enjoyable.
Once back at the tender landing, we walked about 1 mile down the atoll and were able to see the ocean on one side of the atoll and then easily walk to the other side for another ocean view. Along the way we toured a local church, danced and sang Vini Vini, Vana Vana with a local gentleman and enjoyed the wonderful weather. We learned that the one store we passed had closed earlier in the day since they had run out of beer. The only remaining commercial establishment open was a small snack bar near the tender landing.
As we were waiting for the tender to take us back to the ship, the ships doctor and her husband arrived on small folding bicycles. This was a nice port for cycling, very flat with nice weather.
Sail-away was well attended and very pleasant. Most of the entertainers were wandering around enjoying the weather and posing for photographs. We learned that many would be heading back to London on the following itinerary: Papeete to LAX, LAX to Paris and then on to London. Total travel time 48 hours. That will be a grueling couple of days.
The Captain expertly guided us thru the slot out to the open sea and right behind us was the other cruise ship that we shared the port with today.
Several people at our table enjoyed the Sweet and Sour Shrimp, with tempura batter and jasmine rice vegetables. The shrimp were HUGE and received rave reviews.
Tonight’s show was an encore performance by Robbie Howard and Sarah Chandler who continued to wow the audience. We will miss them as they head back home, but learned that they will be replaced by 30 entertainers joining the ship tomorrow.This entry was posted in Uncategorized