Tahiti (Nui and Iti)

This is the eighth and final in a series of posts, each one about an island we visited on our grand tour of French Polynesia. (The first post was about Mo’orea, the second was about Rangiroa, the third was about Fakarava, the fourth was about Hiva Oa, the fifth was about Nuku Hiva and also included a “status check” on the trip so far, the sixth was about Raiatea and Taha’a, and the seventh was about Maupiti.)

Read more: Tahiti (Nui and Iti)

Right off the bat, let me clear up a common misconception – Tahiti is not a country, it’s an island. It’s the largest island, by far, of the approximately 120 islands in the country of French Polynesia. Its main city, Pape’ete, is by far the largest city in French Polynesia. But it’s understandable that so many people think Tahiti is a country – the native language spoken in most of French Polynesia is Tahitian; most people visiting French Polynesia will fly into the international airport on Tahiti; it’s not unusual to see French Polynesia referred to as Tahiti et ses îles (Tahiti and her islands). I guess “Tahiti” is a lot more concise than “French Polynesia”, but just keep in mind that they’re not the same thing. There’s more: Tahiti is a bit odd-shaped (see picture below), with a little nub that sticks out on the southeast part, looking like a separate island, and they even have a name for it – Tahiti Iti – that makes it sound like it’s a separate island. (“Iti” means “small” in Tahitian.) But it’s not a separate island, as the two chunks are connected by an isthmus (look it up). To sum up: Tahiti is the name of an island that looks like two islands, but isn’t; the little part is called Tahiti Iti and the big part is called Tahiti Nui (“big Tahiti”) or just Tahiti. And many people think it’s a country, but it isn’t.

Anyway … Tahiti was the last island we visited on our grand tour of French Polynesia. In the earlier parts of our trip, we had been to Tahiti a couple of times, because it’s the hub for all of Air Tahiti’s flights, and on a couple of occasions, we had to spend the night there between flights to and from other islands. So we knew it was “the big city”, and was going to be very different from the rest of the islands, and honestly, I was prepared to not like it. (We heard that from several people who live on the other islands – that they sometimes have to go to Tahiti, but they really don’t like it. Also, I’m getting more and more curmudgeonly with every passing day.) But we had a great time there, and met some wonderful people, and did some really fun things, so lemme tell you about it!

You may recall that we stayed in a few places on this trip that weren’t exactly Five Star accommodations. A couple would have been One Star, and one of them was a Black Hole. But on Tahiti, we did a Home Exchange and stayed in a modern apartment with a gorgeous view of the reef, ocean, and the island of Mo’orea in the distance. For the first time on this trip, we had all the comforts of home and not a single thing to wish for in our accommodations. As a bonus, our hosts, Chloe and Thierry, were fantastic and could not have made us feel more welcome. (More on that later.)

The view from our Home Exchange apartment, with Mo’orea in the distance

(A brief aside: for the past year, we’ve been using a website called HomeExchange.com to find places to stay in the US and other countries. We’ve used it in Scotland, Ireland, Bonaire, and French Polynesia, and later this year we’ll be using it to stay in Oregon and Mexico. I’ll do a separate blog post about it soon, but if you like to travel, I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out!)

Captain Ju and two Giant Spider Conchs (which were release unharmed)

Our first adventure was an all-day boat excursion around Tahiti Iti, with Captain Julien and five other guests. He took us around the lagoon (the area between the island and the fringing coral reef) and showed us a fish farm that consists of four big circular nets suspended in a deep part of the lagoon where they’re raising batfish for sale to local restaurants. He took us to a shallow sandy area where we found some of the giant spider conchs, which we brought up, got a good look at, and tossed back (they’re a protected species). We snorkeled on and around a coral head that rises at least 60 feet straight up from the bottom, where we saw several pipefish, a giant oyster, and an octopus! It would have been a perfect place for us to practice our freediving, but “Captain Ju” had a lot more to show us, so we couldn’t stay long. We swam in a clear, cold, fresh water river that emptied into the lagoon and had fresh poisson cru au lait de coco, which is our favorite new dish from this trip. And we saw Teahupoo, which surfers will recognize as one of the greatest big wave surf spots in the world, and the site of the surfing competition in the 2024 Olympics. (But the swell was small that day, so we didn’t get to see any giant waves.) It was a great way to kick off our ten days on Tahiti!

It’s not often that you get to snorkel to a waterfall!

A couple days later, our Home Exchange hosts, Chloe and Thierry, invited us on a hike with them and three of their friends, to see a waterfall and hopefully some of the rare Tahiti Monarch (a.k.a. Tahiti Flycatcher), a seriously endangered bird that lives only on Tahiti. The valley where we hiked is off limits for most people, but Thierry literally co-wrote the book on the birds of French Polynesia, as well as the book on the fish of French Polynesia, the whales of French Polynesia, and the very first scuba diving guide to French Polynesia! So we got a pass for the hike, which ended at a really nice waterfall, where we found a juvenile Tahiti Petrel stranded on the ground. This seabird can’t launch from the ground, and this one was probably a new flyer who got confused in the canyon and ended up on the ground. He wasn’t injured, but was quite weak, so we wrapped him up in a big scarf and got him to the local bird rescue organization, where he was fed, rested, and released a few days later. By the way, we did see a few Tahiti Monarchs, of which there are only a hundred or so still alive, but they’re just little black birds, and don’t make a great picture.

He was tired and hungry, and no doubt wondering what he’d gotten himself into!

Chloe and Thierry invited us to their home for cocktails a few days later, and after driving up, and up, and up for what seemed like a half hour, we finally reached their incredibly cool hillside home that has an even better view of the reef, the ocean, and Mo’orea than their apartment that we stayed in. It was over drinks that evening that we learned about their long history in French Polynesia (about 40 years), and about Thierry’s books, and about the whales. Approximately 30 years ago, humpback whales started coming to the waters around Tahiti and Mo’orea in increasingly larger numbers each summer, to bear their calves in the warm, safe ocean there. Thierry was running dive charters then, and was possibly the first to start getting in the water with the whales. Now, whale watching and whale swimming (snorkels only – no scuba gear) brings thousands of people to Tahiti each year. Thierry and Chloe still go out three or four times a week during the peak part of the season (mid-September to mid-October), when an estimated 2,000 humpback whales show up! Chloe desribed being in the water with a giant whale’s eye just a few feet away, clearly curious, but gentle as can be, as “one of those things that changes you”. So guess who’s planning a return visit to Tahiti! (No, not this year, and 2024 is supposed to be “The Year We Stay Home”, so maybe 2025?)

Chloe and Thierry’s back deck, with Mo’orea off in the distance

Regular Readers will recall that we got to experience a little bit of the annual celebration called Heiva when we were on the tiny island of Maupiti – traditional dancing and percussion, feats of strength and skill, etc. We were fortunate to be on Tahiti when its Heiva began, and we were even more fortunate to score two tickets for opening night. What we should have learned from Maupiti’s opening night is that Polynesians love ceremony, and that involves a lot of talking. A. LOT. OF. TALKING. When we arrived at our seats for the opening night ceremonies, we wondered why so many seats were empty – it was a sold-out event. 90 minutes later, after all nine judges and 48 other luminaries (no kidding – I counted) had been introduced, and the appropriate ceremonies performed, the seats started to fill up. But not completely, because the first performance was a group of at least 50 men and women from one of the islands competing in Traditional Chanting – a form of singing that was at times melodious, at times cacophonous, mostly monotonous, and at all times unintelligble to us, since we don’t speak Tahitian. It also takes them at least five minutes to get ready for, and then explain each song, so it was kind of a long 30 minutes.

But finally, they made their exit, and it was time for … another group of at least 50 men and women from another of the islands performing the exact same songs in the same Traditional Chant competition. Oh boy. So much chanting.

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on!

Eventually, though – two and a half hours after the 6:00 start of the Opening Ceremonies – we got what we came for – the dancing! Over 100 dancers, mostly young and tremendously fit, all in amazing traditional costumes, took the floor and put on a show. I’ve never seen hips and knees move like that! They did three numbers, each in different costumes, separated by performances by solo or very small group dances, so it never stopped (the Chanters could learn something from them), and it was all fantastic. Not only the dancing, but also the percussion group that provided the beat. At least 20 of them, all in their own amazing costumes, pounding out the beat on drums, hollowed-out logs, nose pipes (yep!), and other traditional instruments. We were not allowed to take pictures or video, but if you want to get an idea of what we saw, this is the official video of one number from one of the dance groups, that shows pretty much what we saw: click here.

We did three scuba dives while we were on Tahiti, and we snorkeled at one of the public beaches. The first dive featured giant coral cliffs and so many turtles you had to get out of their way, the second showed us yet another species of nudibranch new to us, and on the snorkel, we finally found a big, perfect, gorgeous cowrie shell that we’d been searching for the entire trip. (But there was a dude still living in it, so we let him go.)

At last, a big, perfect cowrie!

I’ve written about the pearls and the carvings in earlier posts, and while we picked up a few small items along the way, we saved all of our serious shopping for Tahiti, because we knew we could find a lot of everything there. And since it was our last stop, we wouldn’t be lugging stuff around from island to island. (Never has the word “luggage” been more appropriate, as our two wheel-less duffle bags were at the full allowed weight the entire trip, and we lugged them around at least once a week since mid-April.) We had decided to bring home just a few things for us – a few pearls, a few carvings, and a few sets of the very tropical bedding like we had on the beds in most of our stays. Because Heiva was in town, there were two extra marketplaces set up for people from many other islands to sell their crafts; carvings from the Marquesas, woven goods from the Astrals, pearls from lots of islands, shell jewelry from every island, etc., etc. So we spent a lot of time shopping, and talking to the people selling, because in many instances they were the people who had made the items. Wanna see what we got? Well, I’m gonna show you. Not everything, but the highlights:

A tiki necklace carved from bone, from the Marquesas, for me
Black pearl necklace of pearls we selected individually, for Fran
A very tattooed tiki from the Marquesas, for the house

At the beginning of this post, I said that I had been prepared to not like Tahiti, but as you can tell by now, I liked it quite a lot. We both did. And although it’s very different from every other island in many ways, the farther you get out of the city, the more it looks and feels like the other islands. The reef, lagoon, ocean, mountains, and valleys are as beautiful on Tahiti as any other island. The people are, for the most part, just as friendly as anywhere else. And when you need a dose of city life, or just need something that’s hard to get elsewhere, you can probably find it on Tahiti. So when you’re planning your trip to French Polynesia, don’t necessarily skip Tahiti – you just might like it!

Here’s a link to a whole bunch of pictures and videos we took on Tahiti: click here.

And that, Dear Reader, is the last of the posts about this grand adventure of ours. I hope you enjoyed them all! We’re now back home after 108 days and 23 different beds since we left April 1, and it’s feeling really nice to be home. We have a bit more travel planned for the second half of 2023, although nothing nearly so ambitious as what we just did – in fact, I won’t be surprised if we never take such a prolonged trip again. It was a lot. But we’re so glad we took this one, and so glad that you’ve followed along at home! Maruuru!

Flowers for Maddie

Fran and I are in the final few days of a trip of a lifetime – we spent two weeks in the Galapagos Islands, followed by nine weeks on eight islands in French Polynesia. The longer the trip has gone on, the more I find myself thinking of Maddie. If you don’t know, Maddie was my daughter, who died in 2017 at the tender age of 22. You can read about that here if you like. In that post, I wrote “One of these days, when the feelings aren’t so raw, I may write more about Maddie…”, and today, finally, is that day.

Read more: Flowers for Maddie

Why now? Because I think she would have absolutely loved French Polynesia, and the things we were able to do on this trip, and she would have been right there with us, in the thick of all of it, soaking it all up, and smiling that smile of hers that, although rare, was pretty damned special when you got to see it. She would have loved the people – their outward friendliness, the way they embrace their incredibly gorgeous surroundings, their uncomplicated approach to life.

This kind of scene would have melted her heart

She would have loved the adventure – in particular, I’m thinking of the most challenging “hike” we did up a very steep, sometimes scary peak on Maupiti. She would have bounded up those rocks as if gravity held no sway over her, and when she reached the top, she would have been dancing all over the highest rocks (very unlike her father!), trying to get the best views all around the island.

She would have been up there in no time, wondering why I was taking all day

We rode horses one day, and while I’ve never been particularly comfortable around them, she did “horse camp” at Flat Rock YMCA Camp two summers, and loved it. (There’s actually an endowment there in her name now, to help someone attend who might not otherwise be able to.) She’d have hopped on that horse and our guide might not have caught her!

Although she was absolutely not interested in jewelry other than the most simple kinds, I think she would have been fascinated by the pearls, because they are a product of nature. Yes, humans help the process along, but the end result – the part that can almost take your breath away when you see a perfect one – comes 100% from that oyster, doing its oyster thing.

Nature made that pearl! Nature!

She was a drummer, from fourth grade on, and I don’t think there was much that gave her more pleasure than putting on her headphones and sitting down at her electronic drum kit and playing. She never liked to play for others – it was a private joy of hers – but I think she would have absolutely dug the drumming here! We haven’t seen as much of it as we hoped, but in the last few weeks, now that it’s Heiva season (their annual festival, held on many of the islands), we’ve gotten some, and it’s captivating.

She was too shy to ask to sit in – but she could have held her own with these guys!

She would have been absolutely transfixed by the tattoos! She was a big fan of the tattoo – I think she had more than a dozen, and all but one of them were plain black ink, like all of the tattoos in Polynesia. In fact, I can’t hardly imagine that she would have come here without getting one – a big one! – in honor of the cultural and historical significance of tattoos among Polynesians – and because she would have thought that it was really fucking cool!

Maddie and this dude would have BONDED!

She would have loved the diving and snorkeling we’ve done here, seeing new and amazing fish literally every time we’re in the water. (Although I’m not sure how she would have reacted to the hundreds of sharks in the South Pass at Fakarava. Knowing her – scared at first, and then totally into the experience, once she realized they weren’t going to eat her.)

But what she would have loved the most – and those of you at Posh Petals reading this, I think you can appreciate this more than anyone – are the plants and the flowers. In the last few years of her way-too-short life, she discovered a love of plants and flowers. And man, are there some plants and flowers here!!! Wow, wow, wow and ohmygod! There are flowers here that defy description. There are flowers here that don’t even seem real. There are flowers here with colors that you can’t hardly imagine being used in a flower. There are plants here with giant leaves, and leaves that physically respond when you touch them, and plants that create vanilla! And the plants and flowers are such an important part of life here – they’re used to decorate everything, not only on special occasions, but ESPECIALLY on special occasions. People – women, men, kids – wear a flower tucked behind an ear, or stuck in the hair, for no reason at all. So in honor of Maddie, here are some of the most beautiful flowers we’ve seen on this trip, and at the end is a link to a Google Photos album of every cool plant and flower from this trip. Enjoy! I know she would have.

A petite orchid
Crazy hibiscus
These grow wild all over Nuku Hiva
Reminds me of an octopus!
Like fireworks!
Even a simple wildflower made her happy. These flowers would have thrilled her!

Here is the link to the photo album with all the cool flowers and plants we’ve seen on this trip: click here.


This is the seventh in a series of posts, each one about an island we’re visiting while on our grand tour of French Polynesia. (The first post was about Mo’orea, the second was about Rangiroa, the third was about Fakarava, the fourth was about Hiva Oa, the fifth was about Nuku Hiva and also included a “status check” on the trip so far, and the sixth was about Raiatea and Taha’a.)

Maupiti is the farthest west of all the inhabited islands of French Polynesia, although not by much. It sits just 35 miles west of its far more famous sister island, Bora Bora, and 195 miles WNW of the main island of Tahiti. (To put that into perspective, Nuku Hiva, the island we visited a few weeks ago, is 860 miles from Tahiti.)

Read more: Maupiti

Early in this trip, as we told people all the islands we’d be visiting, at least two of them told us Maupiti was their favorite, and it was because of the incredibly laid-back vibe of the place. In 2004, the local population of about 1,200 voted “No” to a hotel chain building a resort there, preferring to maintain the slow pace. There is only one pass from the ocean into the lagoon, and it’s widely regarded as one of the most dangerous in all of French Polynesia, so not many sailboaters go there. None of the restaurants are open for dinner. So if you go, be prepared to slow down the pace of life while you’re there.

The only pass into the Maupiti lagoon – one of the most dangerous in French Polynesia

But we really liked it! Not enough to unseat Raiatea from the #1 spot on our list of islands in FP where we would choose to live for two years – but if we ever return to FP, you can bet we’ll spend a week on Maupiti.

We hiked to the top of the tallest peak, about 1,200 feet up. It was not only the most challenging hike we’ve done on this trip, but the most challenging we’ve ever done together, and for me, at least, probably the most challenging I’ve ever done. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the top, and almost as long to get back down, because the last 1/3 of the trail involves actual climbing of rocks, with each step considered very carefully, and made only after both hands had found good purchase on a rock or tree or root. But the view from the top was worth it! On the day we did it, conditions were good enough that we could easily see Bora Bora 35 miles away, but we could also see Taha’a, and Raiatea, 60 miles away.

I’m not sure which was scarier – going up, or coming back down!
But the view from the top was worth it!

We happened to be there for the start of their annual festival, called Heiva (means “community gathering”), which runs for about four weeks. It includes traditional dancing, a volleyball tournament, a triathlon, a bicycle race, and of course, tautai puputi, tautai pito, tautai puito, hira’a tarao (vahine), patia fa (tane-vahine), and a lot of other things on the calendar, which is all in Tahitian, and which we missed because they all happened after we left. We think they do a lot of carrying of things in races: carrying big stones, carrying fruit, carrying wives (all true, by the way). We did get to witness the traditonal dancing on opening night, by two local groups (one group of kids and one of mostly middle-age women), and a few groups from some of the other islands. It wasn’t a competition, just an exhibition, and it was really fun to watch. The costumes alone would have made it worthwhile.

So fun! Watch one of the videos in the link at the end to hear the music.

We stayed in an airbnb owned and operated by “John” (Jean, really), who speaks very little English, to match our almost non-existent French, but we made it work. We had half of his house, totally separate and private, with a full kitchen, living room, nice big bathroom with plenty of hot water in the shower (much appreciated considering how much time we spent diving and snorkeling), and three beds to choose from. No A/C, but plenty of fans, and like all of the other islands we’ve visited here that have a mountain in the middle, that’s all you need, because after the sun goes down, the temperature drops into the comfortable sleeping range. His sister and dad also live in his side of the house, but neither of them speak any English, so our conversations with them were limited to a cheerful exchange of “Ia Orana!” whenever we’d see them.

Our view from the balcony at John’s airbnb

While all of the above made for a really good week, I have to say that the real highlight for us was MANTA RAYS!!!!! Prior to this trip, we had never been in the water – scuba diving nor snorkeling – with manta rays, and they had been in the top three on our wish list of critters to dive with. (The other two being whale sharks and any sort of whale.) We saw one, very briefly, on a snorkel in Galapagos, and another, very briefly, on a scuba dive on Rangiroa. But we didn’t get a real manta ray encounter until Maupiti.

We’ve waited a long time to see this!

The first was while scuba diving with Maupiti Diving, the only dive operator on the island. Teddy, the owner, speaks English more than good enough to take us diving. Another of the divers that day is French but lives in Spain, so we were able to communicate with her in Spanish fairly well. (Much, much better than we were able to communicate with anyone in French!) We were scheduled for two dives, but the aforementioned pass between the lagoon and the ocean was really rough, so we did only the lagoon dive. But that was OK with us, because the lagoon dive is really the manta ray dive. It starts on the mooring ball between the two manta “cleaning stations”, and you visit them both, hoping to catch one or more rays getting their daily cleaning.

Circling back to the cleaning station (the coral head)

In case you’re not familiar with a “cleaning station”, it’s a place in the ocean where one or more small fish live and offer “cleaning services” to bigger fish, turtles, sharks, etc. The big fish come and hang out, and open their mouths, and sit still, while the little fish swim inside their mouths and clean the big fish’s teeth, tongue, gills, gill plates, and any parts of their exterior that need cleaning. Of course, the little fish aren’t using brushes and soap – they’re actually eating tiny parasites and bits of algae. The first time I heard about this, I was sure I was having my leg pulled, but then I saw it, and have since seen it hundreds of times, and it’s really quite amazing.

Hovering over the cleaning station with gills wide open

There are multiple cleaning stations in the Maupiti lagoon that are frequented by manta rays, and we dove on two of them. And there was a manta ray on one of them! We dove to the bottom and laid on the sand, about 25 feet from the coral head where the cleaning takes place, and just watched it happen. The rays very, very slowly flap their wings and swim around in small, slow circles, so the cleaners can do their job. On this first dive, we saw one ray get cleaned for about 5 minutes before it swam off. But we were stoked! We finally got a real manta ray encounter!

The next day, we did the same thing, but were rewarded with a much longer encounter – at least 15 minutes with a ray on one cleaning station, which then swam to another one nearby, where we got to watch it for another five minutes. When it left, it swam right by Fran, who got a great video of it, which you can see by clicking here.

Fran and our first really close manta ray encounter (click above to see the video she took)

On our last day on Maupiti, we did an all-day excursion with John, which started with him finding a manta swimming leisurely along the sand in 10 feet of crystal clear water, so we snorkeled along above it for several minutes. Then I dove down to get a closer photo, which spooked it and off it went. But John found another one almost immediately, so we followed and filmed it for several more minutes. But then, John put us on the cleaning station he knows about, and there were two mantas getting their daily hygiene, and then there were three! The water wasn’t as clear in that spot, but we were in no more than 15 feet of water, and they were above the corals, so no more than about 8 feet deep, almost directly under us. We hung out there for at least 20 minutes, in awe of their grace in the water, and so very thankful to finally have this opportunity. We got back in the boat only after we started to get cold, with cameras full of photos and videos, which you can see in the link at the end of this post.

I think we can finally say we’ve seen manta rays!

The rest of John’s excursion included snorkeling in a gorgeous coral garden with gin-clear water and only about four feet deep at most. Tons of healthy coral, and that always means hundreds of beautiful tropical fish. John plucked a giant clam from the bottom and served it up raw with a little lime juice. Not a lot of flavor, and quite chewy, like conch if you’ve ever had that in the Bahamas. He took us to his “camp” – a big plot of land on one of the motus (small islands) that surround most of the main island. He harvests coconuts into copra there, and his dad grows vanilla there. He also makes “Tahitian beer” there: water, sugar, and bananas in a big plastic barrel for about a month, which ferments into an alcoholic beverage that I would describe as “unpretentious but robust, earthy, with a hint of banana, and enough alcohol to knock you on your ass if you drink very much of it.”

Moonshine, Maupiti style!

We ended that day at John’s sister’s plot of land on another motu. She had prepared an island feast for us – grilled fish, tuna sashimi, grilled lobster, and poisson cru au lait du coco, served with rice, boiled manioc (aka tapioca) root, the ubiquitous frites (french fries), and ripe red banana for dessert. We got a tour of her chicken coop, where she has about 300 hens for egg production, which she sells to the local grocery stores. And she taught us how to weave coconut palm fronds into serving trays. We’ve done a lot of excursions on this trip that follow a similar model – take people snorkeling, feed them some local food, show them some local craft-making, etc. – and this one with John was as good as any of them, anywhere. Maybe it’s because Fran and I were his only passengers, maybe it’s because he was so enthusiastic about everything he showed us, or maybe it’s because of the MANTA RAYS – I can’t say for sure. But if you ever go to Maupiti, you really should stay with John and do his excursion – it will be as authentic a glimpse of traditional French Polynesian life as you’re likely to get anywhere.

A feast on the beach!

We packed a lot into our six days on Maupiti. Click here to see all the pictures and videos!

Raiatea and Taha’a

This is the sixth in a series of posts, each one about an island we’re visiting while on our grand tour of French Polynesia. (The first post was about Mo’orea, the second was about Rangiroa, the third was about Fakarava, the fourth was about Hiva Oa, and the fifth was about Nuku Hiva and also included a “status check” on the trip so far.)

We’re back in the Society Islands, the group of islands in French Polynesia that includes the two most famous ones, Tahiti and Bora Bora. (We actually spent the night last night on Bora Bora: it was our ferry stop between Raiatea and Maupiti, which is where we are now. We had an expensive dinner on the waterfront – we were so close to the water I thought our waiter might fall into the lagoon – but that’s all the time we’re spending on Bora Bora. Too touristy and too expensive!) Raiatea and Taha’a are interesting because they share a large lagoon (defined by a fringe reef). In the photo below, the turquoise “border” is the fringe reef, and the dark blue between the green and the turquoise is the deep water in the lagoon. At one point on our boat tour around Taha’a, we went from 18 feet deep to 180 feet deep in about 3 seconds, as we left the turquoise and passed into the dark blue.

Raiatea (bottom) and Taha’a (top)
Read more: Raiatea and Taha’a

As I discovered and revealed in my last post about Nuku Hiva, my general happiness on a trip like this is heavily dependent on how much I like (or dislike) our accommodations. Let me say right up front, I loved where we stayed on Raiatea! It’s called Fare Oviri Lodge, and it has recently changed hands, after first opening about 11 years ago. The new owners have lived on Mo’orea for some time, and are now bringing this place up to snuff. It has three bungalow buildings – one is a really, nice, big one for a couple (it has a Jacuzzi), one is for a family with up to five kids, and one is split into two singles, each perfect for a couple. We were in one of those. Queen bed with plenty of space around it, room to unpack, a nice bathroom with walk-in shower and lots of hot water (very nice since we went scuba diving three of our days), and a very effective ceiling fan. (No A/C, so a good ceiling fan is essential.) The main lodge building is a big kitchen and dining room. If you want them to make breakfast for you, they will, and it’s excellent – or you can make your own. They don’t offer any other meals, but that was never a problem since we had a rental car and were in town every day for one reason or another, so we ate at a restaurant most nights, but used the kitchen to make dinner a couple nights.

Fantastic breakfast at Fare Oviri Lodge

Speaking of eating at restaurants, we got to spend time with our friends Max and Whitey again! Totally coincidentally, they had their boat on Raiatea for four of the same days we were there, and we had dinner with them twice. Didn’t get to dive with them – they had boat things to do – but it was fantastic hanging out with them – again – in French Polynesia!

One of the many great things about having dinner with them is that they speak English! Really well! (Although Whitey, being from Australia, gets a big kick out of asking the locals “Parlez-vous Australian?”) And since Fran is such a social critter (me, too, if the timing is right), we usually have a great time on trips having conversations with people we meet. But there are very few native English speakers visiting here, and most of the people who speak English as a second (or third) language aren’t conversational in it, so we’ve been Jonesin’ for some conversation. Max and Whitey helped fill that gap big time! And we might actually get to see them AGAIN, when we’re on Tahiti, which would be pretty incredible, and wonderful.

Raiatea is home to the second largest town in all of French Polynesia – Uturoa (population: about 3,700 in 2011) – which means it has pretty much everything you need, right there, in a store, on a shelf! This is most definitely NOT the case on any other island we’ve visited on this trip, so it was a bit of a luxury. Not that we need a lot of stuff, but we did need some little dessicate packets that keep our cameras dry in their underwater housings, and we walked into Gauguin Photo and they had them! We needed some beer that wasn’t Hinano, and we walked into The Bottle Shop and bought some Guiness Draft (the 16 oz. cans), some Duvel Belgian Strong, and a couple of craft beers made on Tahiti that weren’t half bad. So, you know… we were pretty happy to be in the big city of Uturoa for a bit!

We were on Raiatea and Taha’a for only five full days, and we did two dives on three of the days, which kept us pretty busy. Four of the dives were essentially the same – go outside the pass, hang a right until you come to the mooring balls, tie up, and dive the reef slope. (They call it the Miri Miri Dropoff.) It wasn’t spectacular, like some of our dives on Rangiroa and Fakarava, but the whole slope is covered in hard corals that are quite healthy, and there are tons of fish everywhere. With excellent visibility and virtually no current, we completely enjoyed all four of these “repeat” dives.

One of the fancier fish we’ve met here – a Flame Dart Fish, about 2″ long

Another dive was actually inside the lagoon, and right in front of the ruins of the very first resort to feature “over the water” bungalows. The resort opened in 1967 and they built three bungalows on the water, right at the edge of the shallow reef, before it drops off steeply. The resort has been abandoned for years, but one of the docks is still there, and we were quite suprised when the dive master said “when you get in the water, stay on the surface and swim to that dock – we’ll descend from there.” We weren’t 10 feet from the dock when he gave the “dive” signal, and down we went – almost straight down a wall, until we could see the wreck of the Nordby looming up from the bottom. It’s sitting mostly on its side, exactly where it sank in August 1900. We reached the deck at about 65 feet, and swam through the deck (all the wood rotted away long ago) and into the hull. The anchor is still there, right where it was stowed when the ship went down. Legend has it that the ship was scuttled on purpose so the owners could get the insurance money. It sat in place, slowly sinking, while they offloaded everything of value, and when it finally sank, they called Jake from State Farm with the bad news. The coolest thing for us about diving this wreck is that there are several species of nudibranch that live on it, and we found three of them, including one of the biggest, and most beautiful, of the hundreds that we’ve photographed before.

Three inches of gorgeous (at about 75 feet deep on the Nordby wreck)

One of our days was spent on an excursion to Taha’a. On a fast boat, it’s a quick trip to Taha’a, and we had a busy day: visit Pari Pari Rum Distillery at 9:00 a.m. (breakfast of champions!), snorkel the Coral Gardens, visit a pearl farm, have special Father’s Day lunch prepared in a “Tahitian oven” (dig a big hole in the ground, build a fire in it, put a bunch of food on the coals, cover and let sit overnight), and snorkel with a LOT of black tip reef sharks. I don’t have space to detail everything we did, but it was a fun day, and the weather was perfect to be on and in the water.

Sorting pearls at the pearl farm – we really wanted just five minutes with this pile!

Raiatea, like all the other islands we’ve visited that have a mountain (or mountains), is strikingly beautiful to drive around and to view from the sea. Our two 55 minute drives each day (to town, and back to our bungalow) gave us ample opportunity to see it in all lighting conditions, and there are multiple views on this island that will take your breath away. Views looking up at the sheer peaks, and looking out at the lagoon and surrounding reef – you want to have your camera ready on Raiatea!

The view on our daily commute to town

Each time we leave an island on this trip, we ask each other “If you had to choose one of the islands we’ve visited to live on for two years, which one would it be?” This morning, as we were traveling to Maupiti on the ferry, I think I presented a pretty good case to Fran for it to be Raiatea! (Not that we’re going to actually do that – nope, I really don’t want to have to learn French, and that would be a must for such an adventure.)

Here’s a link to all the best photos and videos from Raiatea and Taha’a: click here.

Bonaire Dive Trip

Fran and I just returned from a 10 day dive trip to Bonaire. My long-time friend and business parter, Joel, joined us for 8 of those days. We had a good time, with plenty of great diving, although Fran got strep throat about halfway through the week, and didn’t dive after that.

One aspect of this trip that’s interesting is that we did it using HomeExchange.com, a website I highly recommend you look into. We exchanged our house with a house in Bonaire, so Anke and John stayed here while we stayed there. (We also exchanged vehicles and boats, but that’s not normally part of a Home Exchange.) We’ve done several exchanges since June of last year, and will keep doing it – it’s a great way to visit some amazing places and not have to spend anything for you lodging.

Unlike most of my previous posts, this one is going to be more pictures, and fewer words – since I know that’s what you all really want anyway! So here you go: Smartini Goes to Bonaire!

Continue reading “Bonaire Dive Trip”

May the Boat Cat

May was with us for more than 5 years. This is a celebration of that time.

Me: “Bennett, what’s this black cat doing in the house?”

Bennett: “Oh, that’s May. You know, from Mom’s house. Since Mom sold the house, she can’t keep May anymore. She’ll only be here until we can find another home for her.”

Me: “Yeah, I know who May is. Well, I guess she can stay here until we find her a good home.”

And so began our five year relationship with the best kitty ever. (You may think you have, or have had, a good kitty, and I won’t argue. But May was the BEST kitty ever.) We never found another home for her, because, to be blunt, she HATED other animals, and everyone we knew who would love to have her already had at least one other pet. After a few months of trying – and a few months of her sitting on my lap for what seemed like hours every day – one day I said to Fran “Well, I don’t suppose it would be horrible to have her on the boat.”

Feb 2016, a couple months after she moved in to the Indy house. Looking at this picture now, it should have been obvious that we were going to be her forever family.

So she came on the boat, and became “May the Boat Cat”. (Also known as MayMay, Maybelline, Sweet May, Maybelle, “our sweet little old lady cat”, The Princess, sometimes The Queen, and my personal favorite, Honey Bunny.) The first time she set foot on the boat, it took her all of about 6 seconds to settle in. We brought her in during a driving rainstorm, set her on the floor, ran back to the car for another load of stuff, and when we returned, there she was, stretched out on the carpet with a “yeah, this will do” air about her that never changed over five years.

Well, she didn’t love EVERY minute of boat life. There was that first time she made a long crossing – about 8 hours, from Florida to the Bahamas, March 1, 2018. It was a bit rough, and before too long, this pretty little black kitty looked positively green. By the end of the rough part of the day, she was stretched out on the cool clay in her litter box, with her tongue slightly hanging out, and drooling a little. Think of your worst New Year’s Day hangover.

But the next day, off we went for another 10 hours (on totally flat seas, thankfully), and she behaved as if the day before had never happened. And that’s pretty much how she was for most of the 4,000+ miles she was with us on Smartini: over a year in Florida, 8 months in the Bahamas, 4 months in Turks and Caicos, many months in the Virgin Islands, and all the way to Grenada and back, with a stop or two in every island nation along the way. Oh, sure, once in a while, when it was a little rough, she’d give us her famous stink-eye as if to say “You couldn’t have waited for a little nicer weather?”, but most of the time, she was just sleeping in one of her comfy spots, whether the boat was moving or not.

Perfectly at home on the water. With our almost-niece Abby, in Grenada.

She began life as Maddie and Bennett’s cat, at their mom’s house in Indianapolis, when Maddie was 7 and Bennet was 4. She was an indoor / outdoor cat there, and we would see her outside sometimes when we would pick up or drop off the kids, but for all those years, she was just a cat at someone else’s house. That changed in December 2015 when the exchange between Bennett and me, above, occurred. The change started slowly, but it wasn’t long before Fran and I grew very fond of this little old lady cat.

I am pleased to say that she loved me more than anyone else. I don’t know why, though. Fran did EVERYTHING for her – fed her, kept her litter box clean, cleaned up after her when she horked up a hairball, bought her toys, bought her favorite hangout (the “Treat Perch” – more on that later), and in the last year, would make tiny bites of whatever she was eating to satisfy May’s very-late-in-life interest in human food. But although May clearly loved Fran, she would get up from Fran’s lap and the petting she was receiving to come sit on me, as soon as I sat down, nine times out of ten. Fran was “the help”, and I was her human. I am so very lucky.

May made a lot of friends in her five years with us, but I don’t think anyone was a bigger fan than Benjy Ellis, who we met while cruising the Eastern Caribbean. He lives with his parents Jason and Kim on their sailing catamaran, Mimzy. Benjy would come onto Smartini for the express purpose of spending time with May, and she loved it!

Benjy and May. She loved her time with you, Benjy!

However, in a very, very close second place comes Zoe Fisher, who came all the way from Australia with her parents, Claire and Anthony, to spend a week with “May the Cat”. (Zoe thought that was her name, and called her that all week.)

This picture is from a 30 second video of Zoe playing with May with the “feather on a string”. May played, but she never moved from her spot, and really never did more than lift her head and forepaws. She was, shall we say, an “efficient” player.

We said, many times during her stay with us, that she had virtually none of the bad habits that many cats have, and that she did exactly what we both wanted from a cat – sit on our laps when we wanted her to, and let us pet her. She never insisted on that (although she would often suggest it!). She never knocked things over just because she could. She was fully clawed, but rarely scratched anything other than the carpet (which we hate anyway). Until a few months ago, she rarely made a sound – if she said “meow!”, you better see what was going on, because it was unusual. She didn’t have the loudest motor in the world, but she purred almost all the time when she was on your lap and/or being petted.

May “suggesting” that I should put the computer away and pet her.

She had a particular dislike of dogs, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising, but she did grow up with a dog (Maddie’s “Skip”). Just after we arrived in the Bahamas in March 2018, we met some people on another boat and invited them for dinner and dominoes one evening. They brought their little dog Bailey, who was very well behaved – didn’t even eat May’s food. We put May in our room while they were there, and all was well. The following morning, May was in our room meowing up a storm, which was VERY unusual for her. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong – she had food, she had water, what could it be? But Fran dumped out her water bowl and washed it, then refilled it and set it down. May drank like she had been in the desert for a month! Bailey must have drank some of her water, and May did NOT want to drink from the same bowl that a slobbery dog drank from! From that point on, we never talked to her about a dog without saying “slobbery dog”.

One minor flaw: she did have Bitchy Resting Face, or as we liked to call it, Stink Eye. As you can see in the picture below – a picture taken when she was perfectly happy, I can assure you – she could make you feel as if you had done something so horrible, so loathsome, that you didn’t deserve to be breathing the same air as her.

Stink eye!

During the five years that she was with us, she wasn’t with us all the time. She lived with Susan and Rami in Indianapolis for a few months in 2016. Susan was the one who discovered that May hated to sit on bare skin! She would put a thick towel on her lap in the middle of summer so The Princess could sit on her, and not be grossed out by Susan’s bare legs. May lived with Robin for several weeks when we lost Maddie. Robin learned first-hand how temperature-driven May was, in her very air conditioned apartment, when May would sleep right on her chest, staring into her face with a “does it have to be SO COLD in here?” posture.

With Susan. No bare skin in Indy in November!

We weren’t always on the boat, either. Paul and Denise flew all the way to George Town, Bahamas from Minnesota in May 2018 to spend a month on the boat with May, while we went to Italy. Brian The Pet Sitter cat-sat with her in Key West for a few weeks in November 2017. A woman (whose name escapes me – maybe because she let May escape the boat!) cat-sat with her for a few weeks in the US Virgin Islands in 2019. Peter the Turtle Man (manager of Nassau Harbour Club Marina) cat-sat with her for a few weeks in Nassau, Bahamas. (We paid one of the dock hands to do it, but Peter liked May so much, he came onboard twice a day to sit with her and give her treats.) In Grenada, Lamar cat-sat with her for a month in November 2019. In all these cases, it went like this: the sitter came onboard the first time and sat down, May hopped in their lap for petting and treates, and they were buddies. She was like that.

With Lamar, who came onboard twice every day for a month to look after Sweet May.

After she had lived on the boat for a bit, Fran noticed that there was nowhere May could sit and see outside. She searched online and found a window perch for a cat, and put it in one of the side windows, but May wasn’t interested. Fran was determined, and by then, May had already become quite a big fan of Friskies Party Mix and Temptations, so Fran used these treats to lure May into the perch. May quickly learned to love the perch, in part because it was a soft place to sleep in the sun, but also very much because she had a good chance of someone giving her a few treats if she sat there long enough and looked cute.

“Well, what are you waiting for? The treats are right there!”

Speaking of cute… if you aren’t a cat person, skip this paragraph, OK? You’ll want to vomit a little, probably. But when May would curl up in the Treat Perch, or in one of the chairs, or on the floor, or especially in your lap, in a perfect circle, with one paw over her nose, and her tail covering most of her face… she was SO DAMNED CUTE! But she never let us get a picture of that perfect moment – she would wake up and move just before we could snap the shot.

Could she be any cuter? And all she’s doing is sleeping. We never tired of seeing it.

You might wonder what it was like doing all the paperwork and jumping through all the hoops necessary to get a pet into all of those countries (18 in all). Well, you’d have to ask someone else, because we did it only once, and it was such a nightmare that we decided to simply not declare her again. And we didn’t. She never left the boat*, so it didn’t matter anyway. Many countries wouldn’t even ask on their forms. Some did, but didn’t follow-up with a question asked by an agent. Some did, and I would just lie. Sorry. Throw me in jail for cat smuggling.

(* She did hop off the boat several times in the marina in Turks and Caicos, but that was the one country into which we legally checked her in. She also escaped from the boat in the US Virgin Islands for a few days while we were gone, but there’s no special requirement for a US citizen to bring a pet into the US Virgin Islands. And yes, she did hop off the boat in San Salvador, Bahamas for just a few minutes, but our story in the Bahamas, if asked, was always going to be “We picked her on the dock in Freeport – she’s a Bahamian cat.”)

I mentioned that May was already 14 years old when she came to live with us, in December 2015. (Coincidentally, the same month we bought the boat.) Yes, she was an old lady: 19 in cat years is the equivalent of 94 in human years. But until literally yesterday, no one would have guessed her to be of such an advanced age. She didn’t look old. She didn’t act old. She had her sight and her hearing, and she was a good jumper (almost always in the case of jumping onto a lap sitting in a tall chair).

She had no trouble jumping into my lap on the tall captain’s chair. I bet she did it a hundred times.

Almost a year ago, right after the COVID situation started heating up, we were in the Virgin Islands, and May had pretty much stopped eating. We took her to the vet on St. Thomas, who did some blood work and determined that her kidneys were failing – a common malady among geriatric cats. But the vet showed us how to administer fluids “subcutaneously” (with a needle under her skin), and told us that some cats can live for many extra years with this treatment, to make up for what the kidneys have stopped doing. May, being the best kitty ever, took that needle under the skin and 200 ml of saline solution every four days since then, and almost never complained about it. Her appetite returned – and then some! For the first time ever, she started to act interested in what Fran and I were eating. Eager to get her to eat anything, we started giving her small bites of our chicken, beef, pork, fish – all of which she eagerly devoured – except the fish. That developed into her only bad habit – begging for food at the table. (Sorry, Chris – you saw her at her worst in this respect.) But hey, she was an old lady – let her have what she wants! (As Fran has said many times, “When I’m 94, I hope someone lets ME eat cake for dinner!”)

Cuddling with “the help” in one of the dozens of different beds we slept in this summer.

This summer, back in the US, and with the boat “hauled out” for hurricane season, we bought a used minivan and started touring the country. With our limited experience of having May in the car (she didn’t like it!), we would have liked to have left her with someone, but we couldn’t ask anyone to take on the “stick her with a needle and administer 200 ml of fluids every four days” routine. So Fran made a rolling version of the Treat Perch in the van, between the front seats, and off we all went! 15,000 miles, 34 states, at least 20 friends’ homes visited, and May was with us the whole time. Florida to Maine and back to Florida. Then off to Texas and Colorado and Nevada and California and Oregon and Idaho and Indiana and all the states in between. May would typically be restless and mouthy for the first hour or two each day on the road, but would eventually settle in and sleep like the dead for most of the last several hours. The only bad stretch was our one overnight, from Houston, TX to Fort Collins, CO. She never settled in, and was still unhappy and restless and mouthy when we finally pulled into a rest stop for a nap at 5:00 a.m. One of the longest nights of my life. But it was worth it to have her with us all summer.

Helping with the driving of the 15,000 miles to 34 states this summer.

Because of her hatred of other animals, and because many of the friends and family we visited have other animals, she was often relegated to the bedroom we were using. Which wasn’t bad – being an old lady cat, she slept all day anyway. But when our hosts had no pets, and she could have free reign of a house, she seemed to truly enjoy it. Her favorite place was Beth and Pat’s place in Maine – a large, two-story-plus-attic home built in the 1890’s. She would come down from the attic covered with cobwebs, and looking totally pleased with herself.

“Beth and Pat, your attic is now free of cobwebs!”

At Susan and Rami’s house in Indy, she really wanted to go outside, so we tried a little harness and leash. Yeah… that didn’t work out so well.

“I’ll just sit here until you take this ridiculous thing off of me.”

In early November, while visiting friends Dean and Kim in Idaho, Fran noticed that May was suddenly acting a little strange. Almost as if she couldn’t see everything that was going on around her, surprised when we would walk up to her to pet her. The next night, in a hotel room in Wyoming on our way to Fort Collins, CO, it got worse, and by the time we arrived in Fort Collins the following day, it was obvious – May had become totally blind! We were at Fran’s sister Ingrid’s house, and Ingrid has a house full of pets, so she has a great and long-term relationship with a local vet. She called, and we were able to get May in that same day. Yep, she was blind, alright. One of the problems with feline kidney failure is high blood pressure, which we didn’t know, but which May had. And one of the problems with high blood pressure in cats is “hypertensive retinopathy” – detached retinas caused by high blood pressure. They gave her some BP meds and sent us home, with at least the hope that the retinas would reattach and the vision return. Those were some sad hours, sitting with her, knowing that she must be totally confused about why her world was suddenly completely dark, and not knowing if it would ever be any better for her. There were tears shed, I don’t mind telling you. But the blood pressure DID come down, and the retinas DID reattach, and within 36 hours, she was seeing almost normally again! To say that we were happy would be the understatement of the year. We were overjoyed, knowing that our little old lady May was back to normal, and no longer suffering. Although through it all, she never made a sound, never reacted badly when we would pick her up – she just stared around the room, with eyes that wouldn’t see. It was one of the saddest things either of us have ever seen.

We arrived back in Florida after Thanksgiving, and still had to put the boat back together after the summer’s haulout. Our friend Chris offered his spare bedroom to us, and all three of us were happy to take him up on it. We ended up spending seven weeks there, enjoying Chris’s amazing cooking and hospitality, most of the time with May having the run of the house, which she enjoyed immensely. But she had picked up another slightly annoying habit of waking us up about 6:30 every morning to be fed. See, it’s really hard to give a cat a pill, but May needed a tiny little pill of BP medicine once per day. With advice from dear friends Curt and Sondra, we started giving May the cheap Publix canned food, and putting her little pill, all crushed up, into the food. (They have a 20+ year old cat who wouldn’t eat ANYTHING until they tried the Publx food, and now she eats 3 cans a day!) Well, May LOVED IT! So every morning, when her little kitty brain told her it was time for breakfast, she was on the bed, walking over both of us and letting us know, in no uncertain terms, that one of us needed to get up and fix her breakfast NOW! (Which we did, because, you know, she’s a little old lady.)

We were very comfortable at Chris’s house for the last seven weeks.

A week ago today, we finally got the boat back in the water, and two days later, we all moved back onboard. It took May a day to settle in, but she did, and for about three days, all was good. She was back in the Treat Perch a dozen times a day, sitting on our laps for petting in the evenings, and yelling for us to get her breakfast ready at 6:30 a.m.

And then yesterday, Fran noticed that May was acting a little weird, and in fact, saw her having what looked like a mini seizure, a couple of different times. Last evening, we saw it again, so this morning, we took her to the vet. (The aforementioned Curt is a vet in Melbourne, FL, about an hour up the road from where we are in Ft. Pierce.) After an exam and some blood work, Curt called with the bad news. Her kidneys were on the verge of total shutdown, and there was nothing we could do that would restore her to normal. She could have a blood transfusion, and hormone therapy, but even that would only prolong her life, not restore the quality of it. So an hour later, after a last long bit of cuddling and petting and telling her how much we loved her, we said our final “Bye, May”. And she went to sleep on my lap, where she had spent so many countless hours over the past 5 years, and we cried.

February 5, 2021

If you want to look at a couple hundred pictures of May, we’ve shared this Google Photos Album, May the Boat Cat. None of them are spectacular images, but we sure are enjoying looking at them today.

The Virgin Islands

Once again, Faithful Readers, I find myself apologizing for such a long wait for a new post. I can only imagine how many of you must wake up each morning and think “Today’s the day – a new post on Smartini Life – I just KNOW it!”. (I imagine that the number is zero.) At any rate, my apologies.

Arrival / Reunion Drinks with Whitey and Max

Smartini arrived in Charlotte Amalie, one of the largest settlements on the island of St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, on the afternoon of March 28, just two days ahead of our first guests, Steve and Challen. Friends of ours, Max (Maxine) and Whitey, who we met in Key West after Hurricane Irma, and who run the charter sailboat Nutmeg, were anchored there, so we joined them, anchoring on the West side of Water Island. We promptly put Killer in the water, picked them up from Nutmeg, and went ashore to Tickles, the bar/restaurant at Crown Bay Marina, and proceeded to celebrate our arrival in the Virgin Islands, and our reunion, as it had been over a year since we had last seen them.

Continue reading “The Virgin Islands”

Long Island, Conception, Cat Island and Eleuthera

In the middle of June, we had a two week stretch between guests to get from George Town on Great Exuma to Governor’s Harbour on Eleuthera. The weather was mostly favorable for travel, so we were able to spend all the time we wanted at each of those places. This post tells just a little bit about those two weeks, with a whole lotta pictures at the end of it.

Looking over Calabash Bay, Long Island

The North end of Long Island is about 53 nm from George Town, and that was our first stop. We had heard that Calabash Bay is very nice, with one of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Bahamas. We made it there easily in one day, and found (surprise!) a beautiful bay and beach, and a nice calm anchorage. Long Island is long (duh!) – about 80 miles – so one of the days we rented a car and drove about 2/3 of the way down it to Clarence Town. There, there are two churches that were designed and built by a man called Father Jerome – one church is Catholic, the other Protestant (Church of England). He was an interesting guy, but I won’t spend much Smartini Life time on him – if you’re interested, his real name was John Hawes. Near the end of his life, he built “The Hermitage” on Cat Island, of which there are a lot of pictures in the photo gallery at the end of this post.

Continue reading “Long Island, Conception, Cat Island and Eleuthera”

Visit Report: Bennett’s Spring Break

Visit report and photo gallery from Bennett’s 5 day visit

I always wait way too long to get Visit Reports out, so I’m going to make this one short and sweet, and TIMELY! We sent Bennett back to NY yesterday afternoon. All the pictures from his visit are in a gallery at the end of this short post.

Continue reading “Visit Report: Bennett’s Spring Break”

Picture Gallery from Christmas in the Bahamas

An assortment of pictures from the trip, that didn’t make it into the post about the trip. Some are just too good not to share!

You can scroll through them with the tiny arrows under the picture. You click on any one to make it bigger and start a slideshow. Hit the ESC key at any time to back up.

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