Wednesday, January 24, 2018

January 22nd – Paradise Regained in Tahiti

A lot of people are left disappointed by Tahiti. Inspired by the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty and the idyllic paintings of Gaugin, they come expecting this to be an unspoiled paradise.

However, the reality is that the capital, Papeete is a bit of a concrete jungle, and that the island suffers from all the traffic jams and litter problems of 21st century western life. That means that you really need to get out of the city to experience Tahiti at its best.

So, in the morning we did a tour that took us to the Tahiti Museum (which gave us a rather dry background of the island's geology, culture and history), then visited a black sand beach pounded by the crashing surf, then visited a lush garden, and finally called in at a dripping grotto near the coast. None of the sights were mind-blowing in their own right, but it was good to be reminded that this is a place that has natural beauty in spades.

But, if that was a gentle start to the day, our evening really was spectacular. We joined the first Silversea World Cruise Experience of 2018, that took us to the Marae Arahurahu for an evening of superb song and dance in a truly stirring setting. No expense had been spared in putting together a programme of mesmerising dance – dance that was incredibly high-energy, expertly choreographed and fluidly graceful at the same time. As night drew in, the fire dancing was amazing to behold – it had us on the edge of our seats in case they burnt themselves, but you were soon being entranced by the shapes of the twirling flaming batons being spun with tremendous skill and athleticism.

To a background of constant drums and music, and some lovely food too, it almost became sensory overload. I don't think that I've ever seen folkloric entertainment of this high quality.

This was cruising paradise!