27th January 2013
Three days after putting Pitcairn island astern of us and 1,190 miles later, we are docked in Papeete, Tahiti. It is hot and humid, 29⁰C/89⁰F. We are fortunate, for the past 4 days the island has not seen sun, instead experiencing rain and thunderstorms, yet today, despite the occasional cooling shower, the weather is nice. We are berthed a short walk from the town, with its French influence, many of the shops display their names in French, our pilot was French, the Naval ships in the base are French too; now, if I could just find a Boulangerie with those wonderful French croissants and coffee……….
Our guests get to put their feet on dry land after days at sea, the last 3 of which have been quite pleasant; only yesterday did it ‘turn’, with increased winds and rain showers. Today, being a Sunday, a number of the stores and shops are closed, nevertheless there is still plenty to do and see. It is not a ‘day of rest’ for the officers and crew though, Sundays don’t exist for us. We have stores to load, fuel bunkers to take and maintenance to continue. All our HAL ships regularly exercise their crews in Emergency procedures and today is no exception for us. A fire drill, followed by a General Emergency drill and, as if that wasn’t enough, we abandoned ship! Not literally of course, however boats were swung out and launched with their crews, (they probably enjoyed the ‘pottle’ around the harbour too), liferafts were inflated and their crews exercised, all in the tepid heat. As always, they conduct themselves with enthusiasm and a smile, I am very fortunate.
Our next destination, the island of Moorea, is all but a stone’s throw away, one can see it quite clearly from the harbour here.
Many guests took a ferry there today, will stay overnight in an hotel, (or one of the bungalows ‘on stilts’ that one sees in the exotic travel brochures); they will then return to the Amsterdam tomorrow evening, having enjoyed their time on the idyllic island with its white-sand beaches. Wish that we could join them!
Ciao, (or should it be ‘a bientot’)?
Jonathan Mercer is Amsterdam’s captain.