Long time no see! I have been on my honeymoon, and have put about 9,000+ miles under my belt while doing so. (Not to mention some incredible meals and unbelievable honeymoon activities.)
We took a cruise to the South Pacific. To be exact we travelled to the Hawaiian Islands first, then Fanning Island, The Cook Islands, French Polynesia and The Marquesas Islands before returning to California. Whew!
I think since most of you know Hawaii I'll just include a photo and a painting. Then I will take you on a photo tour of the South Pacific I had never been to, and yes, it was everything you dream of and then some.**
There is a whale breaking the surface just in front of the closest boat. Maui.
Maui as I saw it.
Where were you on St. Patrick's Day? I was at the end of the arrow.
Approaching Fanning Island.
The tender awaiting it's turn to fill up and head to Fanning Island.
Fanning Island was a step back into time. Having no electricity means none of the conveninces we know in modern life. No grocery stores, no offices, no streets (much less street lights), no doctors, no dentists for the 1,300 people who live there. Their whole existence is on a piece of land 11 miles long and 7 miles wide. Los Angeles is 3,357 miles away and Honolulu is 1210 miles away. It is very remote, and you will feel it immediately.
Their main source of income is from seaweed farms and the next would be selling shell trinkets to the occassional cruiseship. The Japan Tsunami did about 40% damage to their farms, so the cruiseline decided to ask the passengers to contribute. Personally we bought colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners and paper to give to the tiny school. It was on their "want" list. Being an artist I was happy to shop for them on our last stop in Hawaii.
It was very eye opening. It makes me more aware of how we in the rest of the (so-called civilized) world obsess on the unimportant things.
Next up was crossing the equator. If you have never done it before they dub you a "slimey pollywog" and conduct an elaborate ceremony with King Neptune for all of the first time ship employees who are crossing. Bottom line is they get slimed (tinted egg whites) and have to kiss a huge dead fish. The passengers are treated to the spectacle and receive written proclamations of their crossing. (You also get a certificate for crossing the international date line which is a different day and you do it twice.)
Look closely and to the left of the guy in green pants is a huge fish being kissed, Seated far left is Neptune.
Just one of numerous sunsets in the South Pacific.
Then we were headed to Raitea, Cook Islands. The first glimpse of the downtown was amazing. The tender ride in was smooth and the promise of our first black pearls loomed.
An beautiful beach in Raitea.
The view from the ship of "downtown".
A car in the garage downtown.
Ps-s-s-st, wanna buy a Tahitian Pearl?
The weather was hot and muggy. At first the sun hid behind thick, wet clouds, but after welcoming showers the sun came screaming out, the kind sunglasses could barely tone down.
We sought out a place to eat some food other than what we had on the ship, and found a bustling restaurant where some of the greatest looking food to come out of a kitchen proved just as tasty. The name was deceiving, The Salsa Cafe. I drew it naturally.
**All photos and drawings by Sheila.
Next we were off to Bora Bora, but that will have to be in Part II.