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.
(Click the pics below for short videos)
My very first time with sharks. Quite a special feeling
This incredible feeling of floating in the current which pushes you through this gigantic aquarium
It is almost impossible to relate the real colours with photos and videos
Wherever you go, it is lush green with exotic flowers and fruits growing everywhere.
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 majestic rays. Quite an experience to swim near them. They are so impressive.
This one on Moorea was particularly satisfying and needed after the climb shortly before on top of the “Magic Mountain”
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.
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