Sorry for the delay on this post but due to the time differences, major internet upload speeds (I had to get up at 4 AM to post this) and not getting around to it because of all the pleasantries in between, hopefully the images will make up for it.
Yesterday we awoke to a glorious morning, the sun rising over the mountains of Papeete harbor and it was sooooo nice to have a dock because we have been tendering to shore all through French Polynesia.
Steve Powell, if you are reading this, you will know what I’m referring to when I say the French influence of renting a car: leaving the ship to find your scheduled pickup spot (everyone pointing in opposite directions), getting to the airport, filling out the rental forms, and then finding the car in the lot is always a maze of wonder that I think should be free if you can locate it. LOL.
Our rental car—We found it!
Our route began in downtown Papeete, which was charming and reflective of being in the South of France where the main boulevards are lined with street lamps and lush plantings. As the traffic and bustle of Papeete fell behind, the highway narrowed and the sprawl gave way to private residences tucked in along the coast, most just huts, all with spectacular views. Our first off-road venture was down a gravel road I thought would lead us to the beach, but dead ended into a narrow residence access road filled with wild hens. We could not turn around. It did afford Meredith the opportunity to practice on the manual shift, of which I reminded her when we get back on the highway that 4th & 5th gears were optional…… her look was precious.
Farther down the coast, parks and beaches were too many to take in. We did stop at Grottes de Maraa, a beautiful walking trail through tropical plantings and several stops where the cliff walls were arboretums of ferns and flowers.
Eventually we arrived at the southwestern end of the island, Teahupoo–where the world’s most iconic wave (left) breaks and the barrel sucks the water off the reef to fuel it.
Teahupoo is a charming, sleepy little village where the road ends and a foot trail out to the point affords you a view. we ate lunch at the only restaurant (This Is Living) and delivered a sandwich to Coco, our water taxi captain. The ride out to the reef was epic.
This is Living – the only show in town
Just above the reef
It was time to head back to Papeete and return the car. We headed north and took the eastern route along the coast and stopped at various overlooks and surf sites that were strung like pearls around every bend. A surfer’s true paradise.
All good things must come to an end and so must our day driving around the island of Tahiti.
Papeete traffic. The lights are not timed… well they are for gridlock.
Tahiti will remain on my list of island returns, if to do nothing but surf. This evening we set sail for the island of Raitea and continue this adventure.