At Sea from Aitutaki, Cook Islands to Ra’iatea, French Polynesia, 6/5/2018, National Geographic Orion
National Geographic Orion
French Polynesia & Pacific Islands
Perfect cruising conditions on this last sea day with blue skies and calm seas. Throughout the day the expedition staff offered presentations on marine life and local culture. There was time to honor the 60 crew members from nine countries (48 alone from the Philippines) who put so much effort in making our voyage safe and enjoyable. Not only do they work very hard, but they also spend part of their free time with rehearsals to demonstrate their hidden talents in the very popular crew show.
Born with the travel bug in a small German town, Isa escaped provincial monotony at the age of 20—working for five years on cargo ships allowed her to travel off the beaten path. After several stays in Indonesia she became a secretary at the Foreign ...
National Geographic Orion anchored in the calm waters of a remote Polynesian paradise. Swaying palm trees and fragrant Alexandrian laurels shaded an idyllic white sand beach on Alofi Island, overlooking the alluring azure seas. In the space of one day, we enjoyed the sights of dazzling reef fish, abundant and native birdlife, fun with kayaks and standup paddleboards, and a traditional feast prepared with warmth and hospitality by our friendly hosts. All this colorful majesty was captured brilliantly by our talented videographer, Eric Wehrmeister, who chronicled the adventures with aerial quadcopters, capturing the memories of a lifetime.
Today, we enjoyed the stunning island of Taveuni, both above and below the water. In the morning, it was all about the rainforest and waterfalls. A gorgeous hike led to an incredible viewpoint and a massive waterfall. The water was refreshing, and a nice jump into the pool was enjoyed by many. In the afternoon, it was all about the ocean. Whether by snorkeling, diving, or tours in the glass-bottomed Zodiac, we experienced a beautiful reef with clouds of fish. Sunny skies and calm seas made it a perfect afternoon. Soon, however, it was time to head off and say goodbye, or “moce,” to Fiji.
The first day of our expedition in Fiji was spent at the island of Beqa. In the morning, we visited a small village and were expertly guided by some of the locals. It was fascinating to experience life in a small village and view the local crafts for sale, including tapa cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and various intrinsic wood carvings. In the afternoon, we returned to Lawaki Beach House, a small resort. We were welcomed with the amazing singing of a colorful community choir. This was followed by a beautiful performance by members of neighboring villages on the grassy area in front of the resort. First, women performed a series of dances accompanied by music and singing. Then, six men came out and gave a spectacular performance depicting their origin in the islands and their defense of them. This was certainly a very dynamic performance that included a mock battle. After the men performed, everyone joined in the singing and dancing and had a lot of fun. It was great to see guests, staff, villagers, and children all join hands and dance in a conga line! After a short break, we moved to a different part of the shaded lawn to wait for the firewalkers. Tropical rain came and went as a group of men came out to remove huge logs from a fire that had been burning all day. They wedged the burning logs out with long pokers, revealing the hot rocks below and eventually arranging them to be walked upon. Then the real action began as one after another, the men walked slowly across the rocks, yelling ‘Bula’ every time. It was a mesmerizing performance. After each man walked across, the crowd erupted in applause.