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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Magical cruise from Tahiti to the Tuamotus

On July 18, the amazing little cruise ship Paul Gauguin sets sail from Papeete, Tahiti, to the Tuamotu Islands -- once known to sailing ship captains as the Dangerous Islands, and now one of the remotest destinations possible.

And I will be on board as one of the lecturers.

I have explored the Tuamotus before, and recommend it as one of life's adventures.  On Fakarava (now a UNESCO-classified Nature Reserve where experienced divers can descend up to 130 feet to visit a world inhabited by gray sharks, schools of colorful fish, and untouched coral) there is an amazing church, originally founded in 1850.  Inside, it is all mother-of-pearl and blue.

And then there is Rangiroa, the largest of the Tuamotus.  Rangiroa (rung-ee-roh-ah) is one of the biggest atolls in the world, with a lagoon so vast that it could fit the entire island of Tahiti inside of it. While visitors coming directly from Bora Bora or Tahiti will probably find Rangi (as it’s known to its friends) to be a low-key, middle-of-nowhere sort of a place, this is the big city for folks coming from anywhere else in the archipelago. With paved roads, a few stores, a couple of resorts, plentiful internet and gourmet restaurants, there’s really everything here you need – and in the Tuamotus, that’s a really big deal!

Other islands visited include one of my favorites, Huahine, which is an undiscovered tropical jewel. Here, you can buy the best vanilla in the world, and explore ancient marae.

And then there is iconic Moorea, with its amazing mountainscape.  If you want to stay in the Tahitian Islands before or after your cruise, Moorea is strongly recommended.

The Paul Gauguin people have their own private island, Motu Mahana.  You have to swim ashore from the tender, and then swim out to the floating bar for drink to accompany your BBQ on the beach, but what the hell, if you would rather stay on board the lovely little ship, there is amazing food and service there, too.  And you have the lovely little ship almost to yourself ... except for the captain, who once served me my salad meal!

And Bora Bora.  Who needs explaining about Bora Bora?  One of the hugely iconic islands in the Pacific.  Personally, I like the pareu dyeing trip.  And I really rather like the village, where the shops that sell black pearls are more like world-class art galleries.

And then there is the ship itself.

As you can see, it is small.  It is like sharing a luxury yacht with just 200-300 other guests.

Designed specifically to glide through the shallow seas of the South Pacific, The Gauguin is the flagship of Paul Gauguin Cruises and a small-ship cruiser’s dream. She delivers travelers to intimate ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships, all the while providing an onboard experience that is nothing short of luxurious. Guests aboard our luxury cruises enjoy spacious suites and staterooms (more than 70% with private balconies), an onboard watersports marina, three dining venues, an extensive spa, and five-star service. Life onboard also reflects the beauty and rich cultural heritage of the islands she calls upon, with a warm, friendly feel, informal setting, and even a beloved troupe of Gauguines and Gauguins—local Tahitians who serve as cruise staff, entertainers, and storytellers.
The food is amazing.  The staff are even better.  Highly recommended.
And the flights to and from Los Angeles are included, along with transfers to the port.

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