Friday, September 18, 2009

Four weeks of fun in the sun (part2)

Several days in French Polynesia was a feast for the senses - vibrant colours, intense light and peace and quiet.

Onwards into the second half of the trip and we were headed towards the Samoa's - American and Western. More snorkelling and more forays into the countryside and views of totally different cultures left us feeling in awe.

Fiji next stop! Firstly Savu Savu. Time well spent wandering through town produced some wonderful printed cottons of quilting quality. What can a girl do, but buy, buy, buy. Speaking of buying, pearls are right up there. All throughout French Polynesia, Cook Is and now Fiji, black pearls are readily available at unbelievably cheap prices. Needless to say, I'v added to the jewelary collection.

Next port - Suva. We were lucky to be in Suva as the Police and Army were to have their first combined passing out parade. A police officer on the dock directed us to the parade ground. Everywhere we've been we've been lucky to find very helpful locals who've made out time in port memorable. So despite the rain, we managed to get some photos of this history making event.

We hired a car here as we'd arranged to take some gifts to an orphanage in Nasauri. The instructions we'd been given to get to the orphange were excellant and we quickly found ourselves being treated to morning tea with the Deaconess.

After leaving the orphanage we travelled south of Suva in the hope of catching the firewalking display at Pacific Harbour, unfortunately on the day we were in Suva, there was only one display and it had been in the morning - RATS!! Nevermind, Pacific Harbour was worth the visit if only for the wonderful curry at lunch.

What turned out to be our last port, Nadi, was next. This was another shopping stop for us - time to pick up our final gifts for those back home. We avoided the taxis and used the local transport (converted Tarago vans)

Dravuni Is unfortunately was aborted due to impending bad weather on the way home (which never eventuated) which would have meant arriving back in Sydney up to 7 hours late.

All too soon we were entering Sydney Harbour in the pre-dawn cool. Once again it was back to jackets and winter clothes and the warm and balmy days at sea were a dim memory.

Four weeks of fun in the sun (part 1)

We had a ball!!

No cooking, no housework it was an absolutely fabulous four weeks on the cruise.

First stop was Noumea. Since it was Sunday, and very little was open, we took the HOP-ON-HOP-OFF bus around town. When we reached the aquarium, we couldn't resist a visit.

The corals and fish displays were superb, and the time went quickly.

Continuing the ride we ended up back in the centre of town and close to the our ship (Pacific Dawn) in time for a late lunch. There was just enough time after lunch to finish the bus route, before sailing on towards Tonga.

A couple of days at sea, saw us land at Nuakolofa (never can get that spelling). We'd prebooked a tour of the island that would include some snorkelling, blowholes, historic sites and some general sightseeing.

After a wonderful day of sightseeing it was back to the ship and set sail to another Tongan port of Va'vau. This time we simply wandered around the town, taking in the sites, including the local Catholic Church, nestled high on the hill above the town.

Next stop (and a couple of days of rough weather at sea) was Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. Rugged mountains occuppying the centre of the island made for some spectacular scenery. Unfortunately, the stormy seas meant we were way behind schedule and only had 4 hours to explore and take in the island.

Moving right along, and a couple of more days at sea saw us reach French Polynesia - Tahiti, Raiatea, Moorea and Bora Bora .....paradise on earth!!! Never did I think I would ever swim with sharks, nor feed stingrays, but we had the opportunity and privilege to do both - truly amazing and humbling.