9×8 bits

Bits being the operative word. I have opened the box containing numbered packs containing in total over 1.750 pieces as well as a 377 pages manual.

I am already stuck with page 1. There should be a manual on how to understand the manual.

And I thought this would be a relaxing pastime.

The video I found on the met might help a bit understanding the logic:

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Always on the lookout for new comic books

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Lego Technic

May 7th

I never thought I would consider, at my age, purchasing a Lego set. Then as I was setting up my computers to be able to follow the WEC (World Endurance Championship) season, the first race in Portimao -Portugal is today, I came across this add.

It is a monster scale model with over 1700 parts to be assembled. That shoud keep me busy for a while and it should at the recommended price.

It is not available before May 1st and I am seriously considering pre-ordering it

May 17th

A couple of weeks later, in other words this morning May 17th, the postman brought a packet sent from Denmark…

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Here we go!

Had a very pleasant and fast road trip to Barcelona. Now sitting at the airport with time to spare, especially since a 1 hour delay has just been announced.

View of Barcelona in the background
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First beach day

Following the now established early May tradition, the season at the beach was opened today with a lunch at O’Pieds Nus in Canet en Roussillon.

Followed by a very pleasant nap. The water is still too cold to my liking. We shall wait a few more weeks before going swimming.

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Polynesia – Conclusion

After thoughts

I am extremely glad I went, the time spent planning ahead was really worth it. Everything ran according to plan. It was also extremely well budgeted. I suppose our day to day experience in a previous working life had something to do with it.

I agree that Polynesia is as close as one can get to paradise. It is of course another way of life, “island life” so to speak where nature has priority over anything else. I am convinced it takes a lot of getting used to but I can understand people abandoning everything and settle in such an environment. I doubt it is everyone’s cup of tea.

I only visited islands in the western Leeward Islands. There are 115 to go in the other four archipelago. The main and largest island of Tahiti with the capital Papeete is like any major town and even major town in the south of France with its French supermarkets and DIY shops (Carrefour, Leclerc etc etc). The nature and the ever changing colours of the sky and sea are of course very different.

The largest and most impressive difference for me in an extremely positive way is the people. Welcoming and friendly to an extent I have encountered nowhere else before.

All the other islands are very much smaller, all within their fantastic looking lagoons. As a rule they are extremely clean and well kept with a luxurious vegetation and exotic plants. A possible exception is Bora Bora. Due to the relatively large tourism industry the island is not as tidy and clean as the others visited. However the views from the air and the lagoon itself is simply out of this world.

The flora on the islands and the variety of fishes in all the emerald lagoons is incredible.

We have been told by some locals that the good news is that the coral is growing. This is excellent.

The same people told us and actually showed us that the water is rising and some of the smaller motus (small islands around the lagoons) are disappearing and lost half of their size in the past 10 years. This is a disaster.

From a political point of view there is a strong independents’ party wanting to pull away from France. We saw quite a few of the “independent flag” on houses and cars. Polynesia is certainly not very rich, I really wonder what would happen without the financial support from France who ensure the infrastructure (roads, hospitals, etc) is maintained and from what I have seen to quite a high standard.

The team

Some souvenirs

Sun sets on board the catamaran were always something very special

(Click the pics below for short videos)

The sharks

My very first time with sharks. Quite a special feeling

Coral gardens

This incredible feeling of floating in the current which pushes you through this gigantic aquarium

The Lagoons

It is almost impossible to relate the real colours with photos and videos

The flora

Wherever you go, it is lush green with exotic flowers and fruits growing everywhere.

The views

We walked to the top of the Magic Mountain in Moorea for the 360 degrees view

From the air

Brilliant views of the lagoons and islands when you fly over them.

The Rays

The majestic rays. Quite an experience to swim near them. They are so impressive.

The Beaches

This one on Moorea was particularly satisfying and needed after the climb shortly before on top of the “Magic Mountain”

The Catamaran

Smooth and relaxing. The ideal way to discover the surrounding lagoons.


All photos have been uploaded in myCloud at this location day by day. Now begins the editing and discarding task.

The trip

I am still working on the day to day summary / travel blog

I intend to make a paper photo album (carnet de voyage) to keep memories alive


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French Polynesia

All posts are drafts to be completed when home

🛩️ The journey – Getting there

🐠 Day 1 – March 17th – Tahiti

🐠 Day 2 – March 18th – Tahiti

🐠 Day 3 – March 19th – Tahiti & Moorea

🐠 Day 4 – March 20th – Moorea

🛩️ Day 5 – March 21st – Moorea & Huahine

⛵️Day 6 – March 22nd – Huahine – Catamaran.

🪸Day 7 – March 23rd – Huahine – Raiatea (Catamaran)

🪸Day 8 – March 24th – Catamaran Raiatea & Taha’a

🪸Day 9 – March 25th – Catamaran – Taha’a & Raiatea

🐟 Day 10 – March 26th – Raiatea

🐟 Day 11 – March 27th – Raistea

🛩️ Day 12 – March 28th – Raiatea & Bora Bora

🦈 Day 13 – March 29th – Bora Bora

🪸Day 14 – March 30th – Bora Bora

🛩️ Day 15 – March 31st – Bora Nora – Maupiti

🪸Day 16 – April 1st – Maupiti

🛩️ Day 17 – April 2nd – Maupiti – Papeete

✈️ The return Journey

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Polynesia – The Journey back

Day 1

Our 777 to Los Angeles

7:40 am scheduled departure. I have been up a couple of hours after a not so good night. I shall find sleep on the plane for sure.

In the meantime, the lounge is quite pleasant and offers a good selection of snacks.

I have a feeling I might be comfortable enough for the next 8 hours.

Very nice flight, excellent service

Then hell broke loose. Landed in LAX and were faced with the long long immigration queue and long long wait for the shuttle to the hotel.

The hotel shuttle driver offered to take us to one of the local Mexican eatery and to pick us up when finished. After checking in and dropping our luggage in our rooms, we took his offer. I have to say that I have never been a fan of american eateries and fast food places (I refuse to call tehm restaurants).

Not the most refined place but the beer was fine and needed

One quick call and the driver was there to pick us up again to take us back to the hotel.

The next morning going out for a walk I discovered that next to the hotel was a Carvery which looked a bt more up market… I should have consulted my phone before we decided to take the driver’s offer.

Day 2

2:30 am and wide awake, making the most of the relatively fast Wifi to update files, download boarding passes etc etc

Breakfast at 9am after a few hours of deep sleep.

There are 6 hours to go before our flight and 3 before we depart for the airport so a walk around the block to get some fresh air is a good idea.

Airport shuttle booked for midday

Speedy check in, even more speedy security check

It gives us time to enjoy a nice drink in the lounge.

“One World” lounge

It is another Air France 777 (Business Class) which is taking us to Paris in just under 12 hours

I am going to enjoy the next 12 hours

Click pics for video

Taking off
First turn
Fantastic view

After another excellent flight and a few hours of deep sleep, we land in Paris late morning. We have a very tight connection for our next short hop to Toulouse, fortunately the flight is delayed an hour or so and we can relax.

We arrive home after the hour’s drive from to Toulouse mid-afternoon

End of a brilliant holiday

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Polynesia- Day 17

Flying back to Tahiti today

Walking to the Motu

Today is the final day, we decide to go to the beach and walk across the lagoon to one of the motu. We have been told this is possible and indeed it is.

This is where we have to walk back to. Did I mention that a couple of rays swam around us on the way. The warm water never got higher than our waste.

Bye Bye Maupiti

We catch a boat to take us back to the airport which is far more fun than any other airport transfer I have used in the past.

The plane lands, empties passengers and luggage, reloads and within 20 minutes we are in the air and 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. Wonderful service.

Great views of the island we just left

The flight to Papeete left early and arrived 30’ early meaning that we had to wait for our driver to the hotel. Hotel which is not far from the airport. We enjoy ur welcoming drink and the spacious and comfortable room (anything is comfortable after the one in Maupiti) but there is no time. We catch a lift to the port where we know a place and can enjoy the the sunset and a drink or two and a bite to eat.

And a few drinks to celebrate the last day

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Polynesia- Day 16

No telephone signal, an extremely weak internet so I guess any blog updates are impossible for the next couple of days.

Will try nevertheless (it took half the night to upload this photo).

Our captain round the lagoon for the morning. An extremely jolly man, extremely knowledgeable and typically Polynesian.

Some highlights for today

The Maupiti Pass

It is very clear on this photo that there is only one passage to enter the lagoon. It is one of the few, if not the only one, south facing entrance to the lagoon in the archipelago. The pass is also considered as one of the most dangerous in the South Pacific.

The Maupiti pass, called Onoiau, is located in the south of the lagoon and is oriented north-south. It is long and very narrow, which makes it subject to weather conditions. If the wind is too strong from the east or south-east – i.e. if it exceeds 15 knots – the swell that rises crashes into the entrance to the pass, making passage dangerous or even impossible.

Similarly, if there is a residual southerly swell, even without wind, it can interfere with the entrance. The recommended limit is 1m50 for the swell. Beyond that, it is better to wait before venturing towards the small island. Finally, you must also take into account the current in the channel, which is always outgoing, and can be more or less strong. In particular if there has been (or still is) a lot of wind and the lagoon has to be emptied of its excess water or depending on the tide.

Today it is extremely calm and no wind and the captain took us through the narrow passage. The view of the waves on each side was very impressive and I certainly would not approach them in bad weather or during high tides. Once we were through the captain proudly said “now we are in the ocean”.

The Manta Rays

I sit most of the time right at the front of the boat on the look out

And of course we do spot a few rays and immediately jump in the water. Quite a sight everytime. They are so majestic.

The Coral Garden

Similar to other islands, there is a specific spot called the “Coral Garden”. It is a paradise for snorkelling as the current simply carries you and all you have to do is admire the corals and the fish. It really feels like you are floating in an aquarium.

I have a lot of videos which I am still sortig out before linking them

The “Oven”

After the morning’s boat tour, the captain drops us off on one of the islet (motus) where every weekend the locals (popolation on the island is 1.450) and a few tourists gather for lunch and an afternoon of local music and dances.

Lunch is cooked in the ground and covered with branches and leaves. Vegetables, fish etc are cooked for hours. Tastes fine accompanied by a Tahiti beer.

We are treated to a boat trip round the island in the lagoon on the way back from the motu to our accommodation. That was not expected and was a the crown on a very pleasant day. it is less than a 5 minutes walk from the beach we are dropped off to the house.

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