Our final tender port of the 2015 World Cruise. On entering the lagoon we splashed the anchor, swinging around the pick, a short distance offshore from the main Bora Bora island. Although only a short 2 hours, our tour today was very similar to yesterday, being a scenic drive around the island, with a few stops at points of interest.
This post will cover the voyage down the Tahiti Coast, some photographs of the area surrounding the berth and our tour. Today’s tour comprised a scenic drive around the island’s ring road, which is about 50 miles around and included a number of stops at points of interest, viewpoints and some lunch. To summarise our experience today, Tahiti is one of the many volcanic, tropical islands, which we found is highly developed, as almost the entire road around the island has homes and/or businesses. We also noted that the majority of residences can best be described as functional living, as we didn’t drive by any mega homes and/or highly manicured lawns.
As mentioned in a previous post, today was most definitely role reversal, as rather than the pax and crew pouring ashore, the local residents came out to visit the ship. Probably for the best, as I doubt Pitcairn Island could handle a sudden influx of 3,000 people. In this post I will start with the approach to the island in a healthy gale, show a few photographs of the resident’s boat coming alongside and unloading their ware, the onboard market place on Deck #12 and finally the scenic cruise around the island. I hope you enjoy.
Returning from our ship’s tour about 14:15, we still had 4 hours until the last tender was scheduled to depart the dock, so lots of time for some additional exploring. Judi didn’t want to go for a hike, so she spent some time browsing the ample supply of local junk on display around the harbour. With no interest in the looking at the same stuff we saw a few days ago, I set off along the waterfront road, with no plan other than walking for a couple of hours to wherever the road took me.
Easter Island 09:00 to 17:00
Yes, we beat the odds, as the weather cooperated. In the almost initial millpond, Sea Princess anchored just offshore, transporting everyone ashore to Easter Island, using the ship’s tender service. We booked one of the sold out tours that visited Vinapu, a Moai site still awaiting restoration, Ahu Akivi with 7 standing Moai and Orongo Village, the ceremonial village that hosted the birdman contest with the winner’s tribe ruling the island for the next year. With getting ashore a very remote possibility, this was one of the highlights for both of us and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
San Martin, Peru – 07:00 to 17:00
Today we booked a scenic cruise to Islas Ballestas, an off-shore marine wildlife sanctuary, with amazing rock formations that is known locally as the Galapagos of Peru. We were looking forward to seeing an abundance of birds, seals, fish and possibly even a bonus of some whales, but alas it was not to be. Sitting in the Princess Theatre, waiting for our tour and bus to be called, we received the news that the tour operator cancelled the tour for safety reasons, due to high waves. Rather than send us all packing, with a refund, the Shore-Ex Manager quickly arranged an alternative tour – a visit to Paracas National Park. Sounded interesting, so we accepted the offer.
Callao, Peru – 07:00 to 23:59
This is a continuation of the Lima Tour and covers the visit to Pachacamac Ruins and the almost adjacent Hacienda Mamacona. After the quick, but definitely exceptional visit to the museum we were wondering if any of the final two stops could equal or beat the museum. Well, in Judi’s eyes the horses will always be number 1.
Callao/Lima, Peru – 07:00 to 23:59
Today’s tour titled, “Pachacamac Ruins and Peruvian Prancing Horses”, included a visit to the National Museum of Archaeology, the Pachacamac Ruins and Hacienda Mamacona for a horse show followed by a buffet lunch. A full 8-hour day, with the highlight for Judi being similar to Iceland – the horses. Enroute to the Hacienda our guide even mentioned he could possibly arrange for a ride on a horse, which would have been Judi’s highlight of the cruise.
The third and final section of the Panama Canal is descending through Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks and then navigating through the exit channel into the Pacific Ocean, passing under the Bridge of the Americas and passing the amazing skyline of Panama City. An excellent end to a spectacular day.
The Panama Canal is really 3 separate sections, with the middle being the transit through the man-made Gatun Lake and Culebra Cut. Navigating through Gatun Lake is a scenic 15 mile passage through a fresh water lake with numerous islands, which were the hills before the land was flooded. This is followed by the 8 mile Culebra Cut, which is the section of canal that was excavated through the Continental Divide.