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Hawaii, American Samoa, French Polynesia

Patty in the South PacificPatty enjoying the South Pacific island of Pago Pago

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On the way to our first stop in Hawaii we need to introduce our fellow cruisers. Patty and Vanessa pose in front of a 'green screen' and the result is predictably scary. Then there are Steve and Ilene, who Craig has been talking to for years, but we met for the first time on this cruise. Finally, Analisa and Don joined us at our dinner table - they are in their mid-90s and still cruising much of the year.

Quite a varied group of cruisers for this, our longest sea voyage yet.

Patty & Vanessa - Bon VoyageSteve & IleneAnalisa & Don

The Islands of Hawaii

Kilauea Volcano

The first stop was on the 'Big Island' and we took a bicycle trip atop the volcano Mt. Kileaua. What we didn't know was that it would erupt a few days after we were here and was closed off to all general traffic. This is a 'shield volcano', which means it doesn't erupt like St. Helens, but spews more lava in massive flows - doing less human damage, but covering more area and destroying more property than more explosive volcanos. These are the volcanos that built all the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Volcano Observatory atop Mt. KileauaCraig & Patty at Mt. Kileaua

Our bike tour took us through roads that have been destroyed by previous eruptions and are not accessable by car, areas venting pure steam, and through a long lava tube. We even rode through a rain forest growing on the shoulders of Mt. Kileaua - not sure how much might still be there.

Kileaua vent on bike rideCraig & Patty in lava tubeRain forest on bike ride

Honolulu

Aloah Tower in Honolulu

We have been to Honolulu several times and find it the least interesting city in Hawaii. It is too similar to other cities in Southern California. For this reason we decided to spend the day shopping and walking over to the Aloha Tower - a lighthouse and one of the landmarks of the State of Hawaii.

Iao Valley State Park, Maui

Steve in Banyon trees in LahainaArriving in Lahaina, Craig and Steve stopped at the Banyon tree grove in the center of town. This grove came from a single Banyon tree, growing and rerooting itself. Steve simply couldn't help himself and just had to 'hug a tree'.

Iao Valley State Park signIao Needle

One of the most famous places on Maui is the Iao Needle. On this rainy day it isn't nearly as spectatcular, but this was the place Maui warriors used to lookout over the valley and watch their enemies' movements. It was also the capture of this peak that signified the conquering of Maui by King Kamehameha I in 1795.Iao Vally officesSteve in front of Iao Needle

After hiking to the top of the visitor trails, we have this picture of Steve in front of the Iao Needlw.

Even in the rain, the colors and textures of the plants and geology around this area are georgous.

Nāwiliwili Bay, Kauai

Patty & Craig in Nawiliwili Bay Harbor

Watching a large cruise ship make the multiple turns necessary to get into Nāwiliwili Bay is amazing, but doesn't lend itself to photography.

Nawiliwili Bay

Since we have spent quite a bit of time on Kauai - last August we spent a week there - we took very few pictures this time.

Crossing the Equator

Crossing the Equator - before

For passengers crossing the equator by sea the first time, there is always a ritual. On a cruise ship it is far less onerous than on private or military ships, but there is a ritual all the same.

Crossing the Equator - after

For the Emerald Princess, passengers volunteering were seated on deck, run through a verbal hazing, then pelted with tubs of liquid food. It was hiliarous and very messy, but there are always a number of people ready to step up to the challange.

Following the passengers, all crew members crossing for the first time are also subjected to this treatment.

American Samoa

Pago Pago

Approaching American SamoaApproaching American Samoa is a fabulous sight. This was our first time in the South Pacific and Craig got up early to observe the ships entry into Pago Pago.

Pago Pago harbor - with Steve
Craig stanking near the town of Leone

Craig and Patty took a tour around the western part of the island. The picture of Patty between palm trees at the top of this page was taken shortly after we left Pago Pago. This picture of Craig shows him standing on the western part of the island near the town of Leone. This was the primary area hit by a large earthquake and tsunami in 2009 and a memorial reminds us of all who died then.

Upon returning, we met up with Ilene and Steve and decided to walk to a highly recommended resturant, Sadie's Inn. The promised 15 minute walk was a bit farther than expected, but the food was very good - as advertised.

Sadie's InnEmerald Princess in port

Walking back we saw this very pretty view of the Emerald Princess in the harbor. Once back on the ship the next picture is of the harbor area we had just walked through. Finally there is a particularly memorable view of our exit from the Pago Pago harbor.

Harbor view from Emerald PrincessExiting Pago Pago harbor

Crossing the Ocean

In the two days between Pago Pago and Bora Bora, Craig, Patty, Ilene, and Steve all visited the Crown Grill for for a dinner we will long remember - highly recommended.

A new entertainer had boarded in Pago Pago and was staying only until Bora Bora, so we made sure to catch his two shows. Patty immediately fell in love with both Will Martin and with his voice. Of course the necessary CDs were purchased and we all think he will be on the Las Vegas circuit, rather than the cruise circuit very quickly.

the Crown GrillPatty & Will Martin

French Polynesia

Bora Bora

First Day
Approaching Bora BoraIsland tour vehicle

Bora Bora is another island Craig wanted to watch grow on the horizon, the ship approached. It has a classic outline of an old volcano slowly sinking into the sea.

We had two days in Bora Bora so we started the first day by hiring a driver to take the four of us - Patty, Craig, Ilene, and Steve - around the island. We thought we could see the highlights and then visit a couple of our favorites before nightfall.

Bloody MarysCatamaran and boaters

Our first stop was at Bloody Mary's, where we would later eat dinner. Second, we stopped at Matira Beach, where we got this fabulous picture of a catamaran and boaters.

Hotel Sofitelbackside viewcutting coconuts

The visit to Hotel Sofitel was our third stop and this picture was taken next to one of the infinity pools and with the rentable bungalows in the background. This was such a fabulous place Ilene and Steve chose to return here on the second day and take advantage of the facilities all day.

The trip around the island was only 22 miles and this view from the backside shows why this is a honeymooner's paradise.

A stop at a small farm meant we would be buying some of the local coconuts. Of course they were cut in front of us and had straws provided.

After returning to the harbor, we decided to ride out to Matira Beach for lunch, swim, and walk back to Bloody Marys for dinner - it was a great decision.

Resturant Matira Beach Lunch at Resturant Matira Beach

Here is the view from the Resturant Matira Beach - and here is where we sat looking out at this view. Our table had this flower centerpiece.

After lunch we all changed into bathingsuits and spent at least a couple of hours paddling around in these waters. Paddling because the water was only about three feet deep for as far as we could walk out into the ocean. Of course we didn't take any pictures of our swimming - cameras don't usually like water too much.

the gang on Matira Beachswimming in the beautiful South Pacific

After our afternoon in the water, we started walking back toward the ship. It was farther than we thought to Bloody Mary's - where we had dinner reservations - but we got this great evening view of the ship, just starting to light up in the night sky. When we got to the resturant, we walked across the street and took this picture of Ilene and Patty.

evening view of the Pacific PrincessIlene & Patty at evening

After dinner we took a cab back to the harbor, tendered to the ship, and retired for the night. Tomorrow would be another day in paradise.

Second Day

Underwater touring with Aqua Safari was our 2nd day tour. As we approached the boat - in about 20' of water - we could see the undersea helmets we were going to don for our 30 minute experience walking with the fishes.

Aqua Safari in Bora BoraAqua Safari helmetsCraig snorklingDropping people to the ocean floor

Because we were in the second group, Craig decided to get in some snorkling around the reef while the first group proweled the ocean bottom. He swam completely around the reef, boats, and 1st group of divers.

This picture shows one of us being lowered to the ocean floor.

Jumping 1 Jumping 2Patty with fish

Once down there we had an area roped off that included lots of sand and part of a coral rock formation. The picture of us examining the coral is on the initial vacations page, but here we show us jumping, catching each other, feeding a school of fish, and dancing on the ocean bottom.

Craig & Patty feeding the fishCraig & Patty dancing underwater

Tahiti

We took a tour of Tahiti travelling counterclockwise from Pape'ete. Our stops included the Ārahurahu Marae, where women and children weren't supposed to be allowed on the courtyard - a raised sacred place, ...

Tahiti god statueArahurahu Marae Courtyard
 Vaipah iFallsWater Gardens of VaipahiBanyon Tree

...the Water Gardens Of Vaipahi, and an estate where almost all the plants have some medicial value.

The Vaipahi Falls are in a beautiful, seculed place.

Within the gardens trees adapt to being rooted in stream water.

The Banyon trees - two types are shown in this picture - and all the plants below are grown because they have medicinal value.

Medicianial Plants

Moorea

Moorea view from the ship

Of all the islands we visited, Moorea was the most idylic. It is approximately 10 miles from Pape'ete and is like a beadroom community - i.e. it doesn't have the large stores or amenities found on Tahiti.

On this island we took a non-Princess private tour and had a fabulous time swiming with sharks and sting rays, investigating a small island, and taking lunch in the water.

Patty & Steve with stingrayCraig with stingraystingray & fish from underwaterIlene with stingray + Patty

As you can see, everyone got their turn with the stingrays, even the other fish, before we left the area for a secluded island. There were even a few small sharks swimming around, but no one tried to  pet them.

Patty & Steve riding in the bow

As we left the area, Patty and Steve crawled out on the bow of the boat, so we photographed them, of course.

Later, off the island, Ilene and Patty really took advantage of the warm water and shallow reefs.

Ilene & Patty paddling in the ocean
Patty coming ashore on the islandeating a meal on the oceanpreparing the meal

Patty did find time to investigate the island, before we left for our dinner location on another island.

Talk about seaside dining - we literally ate on tables set up in the ocean.

Our food was prepared, not cooked, on tables in the ocean, and our desert of coconuts was cracked, drunk, and carved out without leaving the water.

cutting coconut in the oceanSteve getting coconutMaking hats & ties from fronds
returning to the ship

Here is a picture of Patty & Craig on the pontoon and Patty on the return to ship trip.

Patty & Craig on boat pontoon

The Return Trip

Patty & VanessaChoir Concert - Analisa & Don

A passenger choir was formed and held two concerts. Both Steve and Don were in the choir and here we show Don in concert, with Analisa looking over the stairwell railing at the choir.

Paradise Tour - 2018