Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

South Pacific - French Polynesia

This week I will show off some of the flowers I saw blooming on Bora Bora.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

South Pacific - French Polynesia

Bora Bora is an island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The island, located about 230 kilometres (143 miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the centre of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 metres (2,385 feet). Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts. (More on this later). The major settlement, Vaitape, is on the western side of the main island, opposite the main channel into the lagoon. Here is a view of Vaitape from our anchorage in the lagoon.
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

South Pacific - French Polynesia

Our first stop in French Polynesia (Tahiti) was the island Bora Bora. But before we went ashore we needed our morning cappuccinos.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

South Pacific - French Polynesia

We had a very blue and smooth two day crossing from the Cook Islands to French Polynesia.

Monday, January 20, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

Another spectacular South Pacific sunset as we sailed away from the Cook Islands.

Friday, January 17, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

Here is Ellie with Alex (the guide that we hired for the day).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

For sun worshipers they have some very fine beaches.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

The 15 islands that make up the Cook Islands were settled by migrants from nearby islands in what is now French Polynesia and from Samoa in the 13th century. According to the oral traditions of both the Cook Islands and New Zealand Maori people, who share very similar languages, New Zealand was originally settled by canoe voyagers from Rarotonga. Hundreds of ocean-going vaka [canoes] are thought to have landed in New Zealand from about 1000AD - both from Rarotonga and from other islands around the Pacific region. Rarotonga is the last Pacific Island on the sailing route to New Zealand and the island would have been where the canoes replenished their supplies before making the final leg of their epic voyages. Given the well-documented navigational and sailing skills of the early ocean-going voyagers and the strength and agility of their double-hulled craft, it is quite likely that there were also some return journeys, according to some anthropologists. The most legendary migration from Rarotonga took place in 1350 when seven vakas are reputed to have set sail from Avana Harbour to make the arduous voyage to New Zealand. This carving commemorates these 7 canoes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

The Cook Islands' capital of Avarua can be seen on foot, as this picturesque little South Seas town winds for only a mile or so along the curving waterfront between Avarua and Avatiu, its two harbors. Shown here is the Sir Geoffrey Henry National Cultural Centre (also known as Te Puna Korero), the country's showplace, built in time for the 1992 South Pacific Festival of the Arts.




Monday, January 13, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

The Cook Islanders take their religion seriously. Here is a picture of the Takamoa Mission House in Avarua, built by missionaries between 1837 and 1842 and believed to be second oldest building in the South Pacific. Takamoa Theological College is the second oldest institution in the Pacific region, which was established in 1839.  This was due to the great dedication of the early missionaries to the Cook Islands namely, Aaron Buzacott and Charles Pittman of the London Missionary Society. More than a thousand pastors, church leaders as well as evangelists have been produced at Takamoa, and they were sent throughout the Pacific Region to evangelize to those who were lost in heathenism (their words). This plaque list some of the missionaries they sent.

 

Friday, January 10, 2014

South Pacific - Cook Islands

The 15 islands of the Cooks lie halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii in the South Pacific, scattered like fragrant frangipani petals floating across 2.2 million square kilometres of a seductive, sensual ocean. Boasting rare beauty, an idyllic climate, warm welcoming people with the widest white smiles and a pace of life unsurpassed for peace: the Cook Islands is an Island Paradise. The main island is Rarotonga which is shown here as we came into port.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

South Pacific - Kingdom of Tonga

It was time to leave Tonga and the South Pacific gave us another beautiful sunset.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

South Pacific - Kingdom of Tonga

This Palm tree was an odd one. Its trunk split a couple of times. They say it's the only tree in Tonga to have done this.


Monday, January 6, 2014

South Pacific - Kingdom of Tonga

These Tongan children were singing for donations for their school.

Friday, January 3, 2014

South Pacific - Kingdom of Tonga

In Houma, just 15 km from Tonga's capital Nuku’alofa, the Mapu'a A Vaea blowholes make for a stunningly spectacular natural phenomenon. Walking along the beach, suddenly a sequence of geysers rises before us. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Ocean water moves through tunnels in the coral reef, finally surging up and whistling as they go. When waves crash into the reef at high tide, the jets cascade almost 30 metres into the air. Hundreds of blowholes line a five-kilometre stretch of Tongatapu's rugged Pacific coastline. It is said that the Kings of Tonga would come here to meditate.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

South Pacific - Kingdom of Tonga

Abel Jensen Tasman landed here on January 21st 1643 (as shown in this picture) bringing Christianity to Tonga.  Today everyday life is heavily influenced by Polynesian traditions and especially by the Christian faith; for example, all commerce and entertainment activities cease from midnight on Saturday until midnight on Sunday, and the constitution declares the Sabbath sacred forever. As of 2006 somewhat more than a third of Tongans adhered to the Methodist tradition with Catholic and Mormon populations equaling another third of the adherents. A minority of worshipers form them Free Church of Tonga. The official figures from the latest government census of 2006 show that about 98% of the population are affiliated with a Christian church or sect. Tonga is one of the few countries that have successfully resisted European colonization, and it has never lost its sovereignty to a foreign power.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

South Pacific - Kingdom of Tonga


 
Tongatapu – ‘Sacred South’ – is the sleepy southern starting point for visitors exploring the authentic Polynesian vibe of the Kingdom of Tonga.  The Tongan capital is Nuku’alofa. The harbourside town is the centre of Tongan commerce and government, and also the residence of the Royal Family in the South Pacific’s only monarchy. Along its waterfront you’ll find the elegant Royal Palace which was built in 1867 and is displayed in this image.