February 20, 2018
A beautiful day in Raiatea and we transferred to the airport at 10 am. One of our longest island hopping flights of 1 hour to Papeete, Tahiti. Our noon arrival gave us some time to taxi into town to see the open air market. But first we had a problem to try to fix. Pete left his iPad in Raiatea. We both looked in the closet, but neither of us saw it in it’s dark case on the dark wood shelf. I used Skype to call Lauren at the Raiatea Lodge front desk and he found it in the room and put it on the evening flight with one of the other guests coming to Papeete. Pete met the plane at 6:25 pm and three of the people from the crazy boat trip the day before showed up with the goods. Yayyy, and a huge thank you to Lauren for his help in getting our problem solved. I have to highly recommend the Raiatea Lodge for outstanding service, not only with the iPad incident, but throughout our stay.
Lots of fun poking around looking at all the fruits, vegetables, lotions, potions, local crafts, pearls and more. The flowers above have been made into the beautiful hair crowns the ladies wear. Walking through town I saw a great dress in a shop, had to stop and try it on, but fortunately it didn’t fit. My luggage is bulging and I don’t know where I would have put it.
Since we were downtown we thought we’d check out the cathedral built by the first Bishop of Tahiti. It was completed in 1875 after two decades of off and on construction due to financial problems. Since the initial construction the building has undergone 3 restorations with few of the original features left. The building has evolved from a traditional European style to more of a Polynesian style.
We were again at the Airport Hotel since we had an early flight out to the Marquises. This time they put us on the 4th floor, unfortunately the elevator only goes to the 3rd floor. I’m not sure what the deal is, except the 4th floor might be an addition or getting an elevator for 4 floors was too expensive. A very strange arrangement. Back to our favorite and closest Chinese restaurant, Oceans. John had left his hat there about 10 days ago on our last trip to town, as expected it wasn’t to be found. But we did score free drinks for the loss.
February 21, 2018
A 7 am pick up for the airport. We climbed the stairs and the hill twice yesterday and decided we were definitely taking a taxi to the airport. There was some confusion as to how long our flight to Nuku Hiva would be, as our itinerary showed it as 7 hours. That seemed a little excessive since we were only flying about a 1000 miles Northeast of Tahiti. After pulling out the original reservation we found the flight to be 3 1/2 hours with a half hour time change, so 3 hours. On our way John spotted two atoll circles in the Pacific. These wonderous structures are made of coral built up on the rim of a sunken volcanic crater. The trick is for the coral and sand to accumulate faster than the storms and waves can wash it away.
What a change Nuku Hiva is from the Society Islands. Instead of lush tropical growth, we found California like brown hillsides, with pine forest intermixed with Umbrella trees, and other unidentifiable vegetation. Also there were few dogs, but lots of free range horses and cattle. Our accommodations, The Pearl Lodge was located on the other side of the island from the airport. It’s a little more than an hour to traverse the island climbing to just short of 4000 feet. The higher we climbed the more trees and plants were growing. Sun and heat, a little chorus of Hallelujah ran through my head.
The little village Taiohae of 1800 people on the bay is the Capital of the Marquises. The Pearl Lodge is located on the right hand arm of the bay and consists of individual bay view bungalows with a main lobby and restaurant. We checked Trip Advisor and there was one other restaurant in Taiohae recommended.