Day 60 Force 10 Whole Gale March 3, 2019

We have been cruising in smooth waters since Bora Bora on Feb. 27th.  Then on March 3, 2019 we awoke to a Force 10 Whole Gale.  Force 10 is defined as 48-55 knots of wind which we had, and the Captain also reported gusts to 60 knots. 

Waves were 20 feet.  A bumpy ride.  In the photos, you are looking down at Deck 3, so the spray is 50 to 60 feet in the air.  Even the 745 foot Viking Sun shudders when you hit those.


The pools were drained, spa and gym closed, and everyone used handrails.  Food was still fine.

Day 59 Crossing the International Line March 2, 2019

On Days 57 and 58, we have been cruising the Pacific since departing Bora Bora on the evening of February 27th.

Today, on March 2, 2019we crossed the International Date Line


and were inducted into the Domain of the Golden Dragon, Ruler of the 180th Meridian.

One more excuse for a party.  Did enjoy the crossing.  Not something you do every day.

Day 56 Bora Bora February 27, 2019

We arrive at Bora Bora early in the morning on Feb. 27th, and the Captain scores us an excellent anchoring spot just off the shore tender dock.





In the morning we take a catamaran snorkeling tour.


It is a beautiful day with temps in the 80s and we cannot wait to get into the water.





As we travel to the snorkeling site everywhere you look is a postcard view. 




We also pass the Bloody Mary Bar, a local tourist trap.




The snorkeling was fine


and  just being in the water was great.







On the return trip I talked the Captain into letting me drive.  It was fun.  I sure enjoyed it.







Also on the trip back to the dock one of the crew members provided a Polynesian dance demonstration.

We took a break for lunch.  Bought a hat (what else) and a Christmas ornament.

We did have a chance to walk around the town.  This is the Protestant Church.  Took our treasures back to the boat, had lunch, changed cameras, and got ready for our afternoon tour.




We took the included shark and sting ray tour in the afternoon.   Second boat tour in one day.  Does not get better.   Our Captain was this total jokester Timi.


Here is Timi singing, playing, and driving our out-rigger boat with his feet.





Passed this small island that is for sale.  Price unknown.


Timi was going slowly while singing and playing to allow us to observe the bottom.  Very clear water with 5 foot depth.  The slow speed caused his engine to stall and he couldn’t get it started even after calling his buddy for help.  I asked if I could try, he said yes, and I started it immediately.  Timi and the 11 other passengers cheered.  Gee, I am having some fun now. 

Back to picture post card views and a little more speed to keep the engine happy.




We went to the shark and sting ray area where the captains provide chum to attract them.  Nice lemon sharks. 



Our captain was the 5th shark.




There were also many sting rays.  Our tour operator prefers that we stay on the boat so as to not accidentally step on a ray and suffer the barb.


Timi picked up a ray




so that we could see the barb and touch the sting ray if we wanted to do that.  Great fun seeing the animals.  Next was a picturesque boat ride back to the dock.



Beautiful place with many post card shots.




The over water bungalows are very popular.  This end unit has two bedrooms and



many of the units have private pools.




We also toured around to see the bays, shorelines, and views.  Really great tour.



Bora Bora was a fabulous stop.  An amazing Island Paradise.  Just as beautiful as when we vacationed here 2 decades ago.

Day 55 Exploring Tahiti February 26, 2019

Day 55, February 26th, we will be exploring Papeete, Tahiti and the area to the west, with separate morning and afternoon tours.  We are welcomed ashore by a Polynesian dance group.  Tourism is their number one industry and they gladly welcome us to their island. 

We take a walking tour with Vicky as our guide.  She is extremely nice and knowledgeable about the place where she was born.




We stop by the City Hall which is quite ornate




and the site of many wedding photos.



We check out the shopping districts.




We stop by the Market





with our friends Janice and John Barney.




Hey Allison, I have an oil for that.




Flowers are big at the Market.





Also black pearls are a specialty.




The guide made sure we saw the Catholic Church.




The streets tend to be narrow and busy.



Another mural like the one we saw yesterday.




Papeete is the Capitol of French Polynesia and we visited the Assembly Building and grounds.



There is a beautiful garden as part of the grounds.  This spring fed stream and pond area was once the exclusive bathing area for the queen.



Back to the Viking Sun for lunch and a shot of the charter and private boats in the harbor.



In the afternoon, we took the western tour which goes along the sea shore.  There were three main stops.  Along the way, we saw this coconut farm.  Note the metal rings on the trees to keep the rats out.



Our first stop was the Vaipahi Gardens where we saw waterfalls


and rare plant species,






huge rubber trees





and well-manicured gardens.




Many nice homes along the way.  The island seems prosperous.




The second stop was the Maraa Grotto




with three beautiful grottos and many ponds.




Chickens were everywhere.




The third stop was the Arahurahu Marae which is the site of a pre-Christian Polynesian Temple.  One can only guess what that guy was about to do.  😊



The Temple grounds are there but little of the former temple.




That wraps up Papeete.  Very interesting place to visit with great people and beautiful country side.

Day 54 Day at Sea with evening arrival to Papeete, Tahiti February 25, 2019

Long time at sea.  Days 49, 50, 51, 52, and 53 were totally at sea. 

Continuing beautiful deep blue water highlighted by the turquoise water and white foam we generate as we pass through.  We passed many small islands as we approached Papeete.


On Day 54, February 25, we arrived to the port at 5:00 pm.  Papeete,




Tahiti is a busy place with two other cruise ships already docked.




Very tight channel on the way in and the markers on the other side were just as close.  The red and green are backwards.  Must be French Polynesia.


But the natives appear to be friendly.  That proved to be the case as we walked around town.  Very friendly people and the shop keepers were polite and not aggressive to make a sale.


The Captain does a spin turn so that we dock stern-to. 




Easy get away.




View from the ship.  We are at the town center.


With six days at sea behind us we decided to go ashore to stretch our legs. 


Nice artwork. There are a number of these around town and periodically they hold contests to paint new ones. 



We walked as far as the Protestant Church. 

And returned to the ship via a port side park as it was getting dark.





We are the little guy in the center.