Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tahiti: Sure cure for the winter doldrums

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My desire to get out of the cold was fully realized in the trip to the French Polynesian Islands. From our first arrival in the tropical environment with temperatures ranging from 87 degrees daytime to 74 at night, we were able to shed the long-sleeved shirts for swimsuits. Sitting on the deck of a ship at night or on the veranda overlooking the ocean offered the comfort and tranquility I was looking for. Even the process of getting into the water could be done without the slightest discomfort. It took several hours of submersion while snorkeling before I became aware of being chilled, something the tropical sun could erase within a few minutes of getting out of the water and away from the sea breeze.

Beautiful scenery of oceans and lands left us breathless with each new view. The blue lagoons of the islands viewed from each angle of light and motion gave us an unending awe of creation. White sands beneath the shallow water changed the blue sky reflection of its surface to the faintest blue that darkened with the ever-deepening hues, ending in a dark, almost black-purple color for the deepest spots. Lightening of the palette occurred when the white froth of the waves spilled over, mixing the colorless atmosphere with the dense ocean currents.

Island forms ranged from 6,000-feet-high mountains that were irregular from jagged volcanic erosion to circular flat bodies of land called motus with land barely extending above the crunching ocean waves. While the land originally was volcanic rock, it was now consumed by greenery ranging from ferns to towering trees.

Many watersports were available on the trip, but I concentrated on my favorite of snorkeling, which I tried to take in on every island visited. Tropical fish seemed especially numerous and beautiful in Bora Bora as well as on Moorea. Worries over running into a shark were completely mitigated when we swam with 10 of them while feeding fish to all the wildlife.

Polynesian cuisine was a delicious surprise. Much of the foods have to be imported, but cooking with coconut milk makes everything tasty. Uncooked fish with lemon juice caught Linda's attention. All types of seafood kept us anticipating the next meal. Pineapple right out of the field was particularly sweet whether sliced or juiced.

Sharing the trip with Tommy and Paula Fullington doubled the fun and converted the far away foreign feeling into a community experience.

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