Day at Sea, en Route to the Tuamotus

May 06, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

Today is one that guests and expedition staff very much looked forward to after five busy and fabulous days in the Marquesas Islands. A whole day at sea! Only surrounded by deep blue waters. The green hills of the “Land of Men,” the indigenous name of the Marquesas, are already a hundred miles behind us, but the laughter of the children in Hapatoni village are still ringing in our ears, their smiling faces engraved in our memories—and most importantly in our SIM cards.  To make the best of these pictures, David Cothran gave choice advice in his presentation about photo post-processing.

Shortly after, Chris Cook shed light on the incredible creatures which are part animal, part plant, and part rock at the same time: corals!

After lunchtime the outdoor café became quiet, the lounge and library deserted, empty hallways everywhere. (Siesta time.) The swell and waves of Moana Nui, the Pacific Ocean, rocked the guests gently into sweet midday dreams.

And suddenly the most magical of phrases from our hotel manager came out from the PA system to wake the entire vessel: ICE CREAM! It wasn’t long before a crowd stood in line for the favorite flavors of the day: vanilla and pistachio, of course sprinkled with chocolate chips and almonds. With these goodies in our bellies, we listened to our naturalist Elise who told the story of the infamous Captain William Bligh. After the mutiny on the HMS Bounty, eight Englishmen under the command of Fletcher Christian kidnapped 12 Tahitian women and 6 Tahitian men. They sailed away in the hopes of finding a hiding place. Lonely Pitcairn Island was found and settled. Still today, 50 descendants of these mutineers and their Tahitian consorts are living on this tiny and remote speck of land.

Our Tahitian guest dancers presented the importance of dance and chants in French Polynesia. Graceful Poemoana started with a beautiful Aparima, and Mareikura showed clips from the most important festival in Tahiti, the Heiva.

The Pristine Seas Cocktail Party followed with a briefing on tomorrow’s affairs. This interesting and most relaxing day ended with a highlight: the famous Orion Crew Show. An evening of song, dance, and general merriment. A big MAURUURU to our crew from the Philippines. Without them, our tour wouldn’t even exist!

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About the Author

Heidy Baumgartner-Lesage

Cultural Specialist

Originally from Lucerne, Switzerland, archaeological restorer and conservator Heidy has lived in Tahiti since 1986, working with the local Department of Archaeology in excavations throughout French Polynesia and as a freelance tour guide and lecturer. 

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