Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Nothing sings “Pearl of the Pacific” more flamboyantly than
a pearl crown. Photographed at Tahiti’s Pearl Museum.
Broken boat parts and a little rampant consumer spending lured us to Tahiti, French Polynesia, population ~ ¼ million.  Plus, the Pape’ete-Mo’orea Pacific Puddle Jump party affordably offered a brilliant quickie Polynesian culture experience, and cruiser reunion.

Our first sunset in Tahiti; heckuva a welcome!
Tahiti’s (covered) open-air market…
traffic” at the tail end of the afternoon.
Honestly, our expectations of Tahiti, particularly Pape’ete, were low.  The normally funny Maartin Troost of Headhunters at my Doorstep was quite disparaging of Tahiti in his moody memoir.  Even Lonely Planet’sTahiti and French Polynesia leads with the disclaimer “…Tahiti isn’t the white sand island of your holiday brochure…” They add capital of French Polynesia’s “Pape’ete is really just a medium-sized town…”
Not just purple – indigo – cooked potatoes and pink pit-roasted
bananas, fresh leeks and green onions, fluorescent orange
fresh turmeric … just a few open-air market ingredients (and
jambons” — smoked bacon bits from the grocer).
We knew we’d open our wallet and pay to stay in a marina for at least several days to get our long list of Tahiti tasks done.  We usually anchor, which costs us nothing.
We were pleasantly surprised, if not downright tickled. 
Soaring vibrant green mountains.  Healthy coral reefs filled with fish, even in the commercial areas.  Brand spankin’ new everything in Pape ‘ete’s downtown marina with barefoot-worthy docks.  The visitor’s center, and parks on each side of the marina are litter free.  Lovely fragrant island-fresh flower arrangements, bloom-draped ears, and leis.    Out-rigger canoes, joggers, cyclists… Pape’ete practically bursts with fresh energy.  Virtually no one panhandling.  Well lighted streets and boulevards.  Even for ultra-safety “stranger-danger” paranoids like me, it feels safe to wander around after dark.  At every crosswalk, even freeway rush hour cards stop, consistently for pedestrians.  I swear, I will get that on video for a future post.

Pearls most men would prefer to proudly adorn
their trophy wife.  Photographed at
Tahiti’s Pearl Museum.

The palms along the ocean side
boardwalk are so new, they are all
cabled to stabilize their
settling-in process.

Uke trio at Pacific Puddle Jump Pape’ete shindig.
We even stumbled over a last bit of a Heiva performance practice, celebrating traditional Polynesian songs, dance and attire.  Watch for upcoming Polynesian dance video clip posts, too.
Downtown Pape’ete Tahiti marina,
all lit up for the night.
Location Location
We’re currently moored in over 40’ of water here in the heart of downtown Tahiti at the newly redone downtown marina (S17.32.393 W139.34.219) for their opening special of >$20/night. There are still lots of backtracking backtracking goodies coming soon, on Galapagos, Marquesas, and our all-too-brief time in Fakarava, Tuamotus and Mo’orea.