| Home | Itinerary | PICTURES |

Polynesia
back to "Hawaii" (click pictures below to view) on to "New Zealand"

Crossing the Equator is quite an important event onboard ship. King Neptune came aboard and slathered fresh fish over each of the first-timers, called polliwogs, before throwing them into the pool. We hold a certificate signed by the Captain and King Neptune that we were appropriately initiated. Tahiti and Morea are located as distant from any continent as one can get; 4000 miles in either direction to L.A. or Australia. With the exception of native fruits, almost everything else is imported. (Gas is $5.00 per gallon.) Being French possessions, their language is French (perhaps Tahitian at home) and their currency is Francs, not Euros, interestingly enough. The islands are volcanic craters formed millions of years ago, but its people are quite recent, having come by canoe from Indonesia. Anthropologists have timed their arrival to each island in the South Pacific by linguistic analyses. It seems that the Polynesian language evolved as they reached islands increasingly more remote from Indochina. Since the language of Hawaii and Tahiti retain certain similarities it is thought that folks settled these islands simultaneously, about 1000 AD. When man first arrived, the island flora was limited to ferns and orchids which mean that all of the colorful abundant foliage growing there today was imported. The same is true of native fauna, all of which were introduced by immigrants. In order to control a rat population that had inadvertently been introduced to Tahiti, a European hawk was brought over. Unfortunately, native birds were easier prey for the hawks, so they completely annihilated the native bird population and the rats continued to flourish. When will we learn? Tahiti is very developed with a westernized city, Papeete, which looks like a typical Caribbean Island city. Across the water though is Lt. Cable's view of Bali Hai in all its mystical wonder. Bali Hai is one of the volcanic crater mountains on Morea, which remains the prototype of what we expect a romantic Polynesian island to be. Only 15,000 people live here in modest homes along a paved road which encircles the shoreline. White sandy beaches with waving palms sprawl in all directions. Braking waves, punctuated with distant surfers, encircle this "South Pacific" paradise. We attended several native dance events done by local dance teams. As you know, these dance forms were prohibited by the Christian missionaries, and were sadly becoming lost. Fortunately, a new interest in cultural preservation has occurred and these dances are increasingly being revived and revered in their rich heritage.

 

Cook's Bay in Morea King Neptune Equator Ritual
Morea Culture Farewell to Bali Hai Approaching the Tahitian Shoreline
Tendering to Shore Tahitian Gods Tahitian Lighthouse

Polynesia

Home