Tahiti!!!

Wow!
We needed a day to settle on the earth after so many wonderful days at sea and wandering the islands.
Our hotel is right on the lagoon and we watch the sun rise and set over Mo’orea!
Today, we’re on a tour of Tahiti with a wonderful 65 year old “crazy fresh fruit salad Heinz 57 melting pot family” tour guide” named Angell…she just sang “Angels looking over me”!
So…a few notes from our tour:
All imported products arrive at 200% above the original coat and then shop owners profit increases products to 400%! If a family doesn’t have enough money, they can BBQ freshly caught fish for dinner, roast breadfruit, (Which are both delicious!) and collect fresh fruit! Pineapples were brought from Hawaii initially. The small sweet ones are now called Cosmosas. Here there are also 300 types of bananas!
There are 2000 islands, 1800 inhabited in the whole of French Polynesia, most folks live on Tahiti. Yes, most of the atolls or small islands around the area are privately owned.
The language is fairly easy to speak as only 13 letters are used and each vowel separately pronounced. Learning what each word means is a different story. Faa-valley. Faa’a means extended valley as in the town where the airport is located. Water basket is what Pape’ete translates to in English.
Our tour guide is French, German, Irish and Tahitian. “This is Tahiti! Go with the flow! We are all one family!”
Gas here is $9-11 per gallon! And you thought our prices were high??!!
There are 10 Christian religions in the country as the missionaries decided that one god was better than 3. Many of the churches have their own schools in addition to a public school system. Students have 6 weeks on then one week off, one month off at Christmas and 6 weeks off for summer! The school complex here is all grades including college. Bora Bora and Mo’orea have lower grades and students then travel here. Some travel daily and others stay the week before returning home for the weekend.
Recently, there was a cyclone in Tonga and Samoa (we saw this on the weather screen during our bridge tour) as well as a volcano in that area. This has affect the ocean here. The area also had a heavy downpour and several landslides occurred on the other side of the island. This is the rainy season!
We just passed a car that used Hawaiian shirts as seat covers for each of the 4 seats! And a van that had weeds growing in the engine-guess its not running!
There are so many fruits here! Sea grapes! Big pits, taste sweeter than crabapples. Noni fruit-look like small bright green avocados and used as a medicinal fruit for various ailments. Rombutons, they look like spiny plums. When peeled, they look and taste similar to lychee nuts. Luscious pomplemousse or giant green grapefruit! Sweet papaya, mangos! Walnuts and chestnuts!
Instead of burying your family members in your front law, on Tahiti, the government purchased land for public cemeteries. They are snug and very neatly kept, just like the ones in front yards.
We stopped by a black sand beach, quite a surprise to see. Tahiti is a “much younger” volcanic island than our other islands with white sand from coral. Coral hasn’t had a chance to develop in closer to the island here and thus, the parrot fish haven’t been as active creating the white sand as they digest the coral.
As we stopped at the blowhole, I notice small black leech shaped creatures jumping about on the wet exposed rocks. They are Cobo, a half lizard half fish!
The plants and flowers are gorgeous here as well! Mom and I have taken numerous pictures of them. Parrot beak flower, lobster claw, ylang-ylang, water lilies…
We also learned that here, bamboo grows 9 inches very 24 hours! Or perhaps that was one of our guide’s “little white lies!”
Maruru, thank you, thanks for your patience awaiting our last posts. The Internet connection was extremely expensive on the islands. Thanks to our hotel, we can post again.

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Good Morning from…

Bora Bora!!!
I can’t believe I’m actually here!
This has been one of my dream fantasies!
Whenever my kidlets would ask where I wanted to go for vacation, I’d say Tahiti and Bora Bora, never imagining I’d ever go!
Now here we are!
Wowow! Life is quite surprising and amazing!

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Easter Island

Wow! What a day!
Our connection is weak-all’s very well!
We’re on our way to BoraBora!
Much love!

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The candelabra geoglyph

I think I may have forgotten to post this amazing creation for you!

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San Martin, Peru

Again, we woke to a slow entrance to the port about 5:30. What a surprise! This port was clearly the country cousin to Callao! No other big ships…no cranes…just us!
Our boat trip to Islas Ballestas, off the Paracus Peninsula, to see the wildlife of the “Galapagos of Peru” started very early as we leave the dock at 3:30 this afternoon.
Our guide was fantastic! The areas primary exports are salt to Canada and the US for road use!, vegetables and fertilizer-good old guano! White gold!
Water from underground rivers is used for irrigation of desert areas for agriculture.
The port is in the Paracus National Reserve. This is a natural reserve comprised of 335,000 hectares which also includes water areas.
Due to the Humboldt Current of very cold water, there is an abundance of algae and other microscopic sea life in area, which anchovies love and who in turn, birds and sea lions love!
The area is completely sand and desert, thus it’s name: Para-wind cas-sand. There are terrible sandstorms in August and September from only 9am-5pm. One can’t see more than 5 meters, many tours cancelled. Properties are surrounded by tall walls.
For those who love Flamingos, the Peruvian flag colors are for the red and white flamingos of Peru. Liberators decided to use those colors for the flag.
In 2007, a 7.9/3 minutes earthquake destroyed everything in this area. The epicenter was 35 km out in ocean. It was felt 150 meters and 600 of the 2000 in the town were killed by falling buildings or the 20 ft tsunami that followed. Much is still being rebuilt, the hotels were as first as tourism and fishing are the primary sources of income.
We saw the Candelabra geoglyph, quite an amazing sight. Absolutely huge and thanks to verrrry little rain fall and the depth of the markings, it still exists.
The Islas were amazing! more birds than you can possibly imagine! and the smell of white gold! Yuckk! Peru paid it’s origin debt by harvesting over 30-50 meters of guano from this area alone! About every 7 years, another “harvest” now for use as fertilizer in Peru, to the tune of $5.7 million. 1 kilo of guano in Peru is $1.
Pelicans use their poop mixed with feathers to build nest and incubate their eggs for 1 1/2 months. The birds preen themselves, fly off the islands to feed on anchovies and then return to the islands and…
Interestingly enough, the area only receives 30 minutes of rain a year and
anchovies (and asparagus which is grown here) are exported not are not eaten here! This the guano is not washed off the rocks!
We saw Red legged cormorants and Humbolt penguins, which are both monogamous species, in addition to more Pervian boobies, pelicans, Inca terns, and scores of sea lions!
The cliffs were covered with birds for as far as one could see. At one point, there seemed to be more than poppy seeds on a bagel! The sky was covered with
undulating ribbons of birds flying! More than Alfred could ever had imagined!
As we left the Islas, we passed under the Arch of Wishes…mine, a secret!
We’re getting ready to depart for Easter Island!
We will be on the ocean for 4 days and our next stop will be Easter Island. I doubt I will be posting while we’re at sea. Mom and I are having a wonderful adventure and I so hope you are enjoying it with us!

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So…where in the world are Kathryn and Patricia?

Here’s a map…xo

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Last picture…tonight!

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Callao, Peru

We began our approach in the early morning light, past barren islands and rocks. We later learned on our small boat tour of Palomino Island, this was part of a long sand and solid rock mountain range formed by plate tectonic action. Thru the ages, sections of the range fell into the ocean. What remains now forms a natural seawall to protect Callao and Lima, thus allowing this port to be the most protected and productive of all in South America.
There is fairly decent size small boat anchorage just outside the port area with rock beaches and the opposite side of the entrance was a small fishing boat anchorage.
We were guided into the commercial port by a beautiful tug. As the ship did a 180 to dock stern first, a pelican sat calmly in the center of our arc as we backed into our slip-next to the huge car carrier, with hundreds of pigeons resting on her dock lines!
In the next berths over, several bulk carriers were unloading corn kernels! Truck, after truck, after truck! I find it hard to believe how much corn has been unloaded! The dust billows as the grain clamshell scoops dropped the corn into the truck beds! Popcorn anybody? (We docked at 7…it’s now about 5:30 and the ships are still!!! unloading.
Breakfast was on the back deck, overlooking the whole shipyard. Containers, large and small, as far as the eye can see! Forklifts in action, looking for, lifting, loading, unloading trucks! Saw one move two containers to get to one underneath them, load it onto a truck, and then restack the containers that were moved back into their original space! I would so love to know how the containers are organized and which to load into what ship!
Wow!
We watched a three huge!!!!! tire per container bin lifted off a truck bed. The tires were so huge they had to be turned diagonally to fit into their shipping container!
We decided to go onto the boat trip to see the Palomino and San Lorenzo Islands, where numerous bird species, Humboldt penguins and sea lions live. These are the desert islands mentioned before, all sand and rock, no water. The islands were used as burial grounds.
Palomino Island is considered the location of Peru’s “white gold”, guano (bird poop!) The islands are protected areas and guano is selectively “harvested”. Very white and verrrry smelly!
Our guide said there are 3000 varieties of potatoes in Peru, ceviche and guinea pigs are cultural delicacies. Peru has been awarded the best Culinary destination in the world for 2012-14. (No, I didn’t try the guinea pig.)
Next to us, this morning, a car carrier was unloading Suzuki, Nissans and Toyota. There are no car factories in Peru, so cars are imported from Brazil.
We passed the Humboldt research vessel used for Peru’s Antarctic explorations.
On the way to the islands, we passed several open small wooden boats. Several were harvesting scallops (minimum size: 3 inches), others had a diver below harvesting any kind of sea life they could find. Unfortunately, our guide said, there are no restrictions for fisherman. They also kill sea lions.
We saw all kinds of birds, oyster catchers and small cormorants, swarms of Peruvian boobie birds diving into the sea for their meals and huge pelicans!
Unfortunately, there are only about 1100 Humboldt penguins still in existence and they live on the island here in Callao. We saw babies, adolescents and adults. Very cute!
Then…the sea lions! The males live on a separate island from females, unless you are a male who lives with his 8-15 females on a designated spot on the first island!!!! The male colony is separated by…the nursery! So amazing! In the afternoon, more than 10 thousand sea lions will sun themselves on the islands. However, to know you is to love you, but boy, do you STINK!!!
The best part was diving in and swimming with the sea lions! They were so curious! Came right up to my toes! Swan about us, dove under, splashed us with their flippers, tickled our toes with their long whiskers and felt so smooth! Amazing experience! The water was very salty and “refreshing”!
Back to the ship for a shower, lunch and more watching the workings of the dock. We decided to go to the little tourist shop in the shipyard to check it out. Next to us was another car carrier. As I stopped to take a picture, one of the deckhands asked if we like to take a tour of the ship. Who am I to say no to something like that???? Mom and I were given a private tour of the ship! 11 decks, full of trucks, cars, all strapped down! We went all the way to the bridge!!!! For me, it was better than swimming with sea lions!!!
What an amazingly awesome day!

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Afterthoughts…

(Mom’s success note was the day for Ecudaor)
I realize I’m writing my notes with the eyes of a northamerican and it distresses me to feel like I’m writing as an elitist.
The country is doing the best it can at this time. It exports fish from another port and our guide said this city/country is not setup for tourists. It’s more of a commercial country.
Security is very tight. An area of the city was redeveloped to decrease the crime and encourage a sense of community. We passed a beautiful home for sale-$800,000! Police on scooters escorted us thru the artistic area along the riverfront where this home was located. Again surrounded by a motley collection of unoccupied new apartment complexes, unoccupied office buildings and old buildings.
Our guide has great confidence in his country, the art on the buildings and ceramic tiles are beautiful, given it’s past struggles with the French, independence from Columbia and recognizing and keeping the culture native/indigenous people in one way or another, we do wish this country the very best.

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She won First Prize!

Mom has attempted the golfing events each day they have been offered. Chipping onto the pool, putting in the atrium…However, the events have been called off due to strong wind, lack of interest or wild ship movements!
Mom decided to give it one more try! She played against several others who were determined players-three men and three women. Two were definitely very solid golfers!
She chipped from the grass not using the “pin thing”.
After three rounds of putting, MOM came out with a score of 10 for the FIRST prize! The really good fellow came over and shook her hand, the other confident woman hung her head and the other fellow simply left.
Go, Mom!

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