Posted by: maureenc | May 31, 2017

Papeete Tahiti


After passing from Cook Strait into the south  Pacific Ocean,  weather conditions deteriorated as our course steered the Radiance between two tropical lows/Depressions. By the second day, our speed dropped from  22 knot down to about from 17.5 knot per hour .

Occasionally during a lull in the waves, Radiance would sneak up to 19k. and some passengers decided they were more comfortable staying in their bunks rather than struggle up  to Deck eleven to the Windjammer café for meals.

The swimming pools were emptied, no “rock wall climbing” or use of the 1/4 basketball court or mini golf or the running track was permitted, and even the sun lounges were tied down to prevent them sliding over the decks.

Passengers in the lower decks (4 and  5 in particular) were complaining about the “crashing” and “banging” that was so obvious during the night. Apparently the anchor chains and other equipment rattling around caused some people to have sleepless nights. As I always include  ear- plug  in my packing, noise didn’t bother me. Also we were on Deck Eight where there was very little noise, although my travel partner complained about the bed “jumping about”.

By day five of cruising the sea had moderated and early day six, with a glorious sunrise over the mountains of Tahiti we looked forward to the day ahead

Sunrise over Tahiti   as seen from our balcony

Then the Pilot ship came and snuggled up to Radiance and allowed the Pilot to board.

Pilot has been landed on Radiance, Papeete

Then the Tugs arrived to hustle Radiance into the port of Papeete. As all this was occurring it was interesting to watch air liners departing from the runway that jutted out into the bay.

Tugs, Papeete

I was most disappointed to learn that the Paul Gaugin Museum in Papeete had been closed some two years previously and all his works had been sent to mainland France. Whether they will ever return to Tahiti remains to be seen. As there was no works of Gaugin to savour, we lined up for a short morning tour to visit the home/museum of James Norman Hall, who with Charles Nordhoff was co author of the novel “Mutiny on the Bounty” which is the title of the 1932 novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, based on the mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh, commanding officer of the Bounty in 1789. It has been made into several films and a musical.

Until I visited the house, I was ignorant of the people involved and the modern day “history” of the mutiny.

Busts of James Norman Hall and Charles Nordoff: co-authors of Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy: showing decorations won whilst  aviators for both French and US air squadrons in WW1

In the gardens of the home, we saw examples of the breadfruit trees which Bligh attempted to take back to England, and gorgeous flowering Mussaenda.


Mussaenda blooms

James Norman Hall home (Arue)

AS we continued our visit by tour bus, the courier explained that there were only two main roads joining the areas of the island of Tahiti and how badly the roads became “car parks” during peak travel times. She spoke of how she left home four hours before she was due to do the pick up at the wharf……….the joys of living and working Paradise??


After leaving the gardens surrounding the home the tour bus wound its way to Venus Point

after pulling in firstly by a hilltop lookout for a quick look at the surrounding bays and reef enclosed atolls.

Perfect blue sea:Tahiti

Memorial to Captain James Cook visiting Tahiti to view the transit of Venus in 176

Before we arrived in the park area where the memorials to Captain Cook’s landing in 1769 or the memorial to Bligh of the Bounty were, we passed market stalls selling pareos and muumuu type gowns, as well as shell necklaces and shell “jewellery”.

Bounty memorial

Ship’s Company HMS BOUNTY


Just out from the beach were outrigger type light canoes resting on frames  to suspend the canoes above water level. I never did determine what degree of tidal movement there was around Papeete. Maybe the cradles were to prevent

 the boats from damage on rocky shelly beaches. I just don’t  know the answer.

When we finally arrived back near the ship, we decided to have lunch on board and then head into the city and check out the Municipal Markets in the city centre.

As it was mid afternoon many stall holders had decided to close: whether for the day or for a siesta we didn’t find out. To say we were disappointed with what we found was an understatement!

I had been told that along with the usual “touristy” clothes we should be able to purchase silk fabrics; even in the fabric and clothing shops along Colette street we found only coarsely printed Tahitian styled (read Hibiscus printed) fabrics. The fabric shops were so heavily stacked with bolts of fabric I was reluctant to remove any for a closer look.

Eventually we met with a delightful French gentleman and his lovely wife who were happy to tolerate my strangled French and talk with us and tell us more about their home and business. Both Margaret and I purchased goods from them and left with lighter purses.




  1. That sounds like some wild weather you had! Tahiti sounds lovely but what a disappointment not to see nay Gaugins!


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