This is the 7th post of a trip to Tahiti, which started on May 10/2022 (here)
and Day 1- of the Aranui Cruise to the Marquesses
Our Destination on this cruise was the Tahitian Marqessas Island of the South Pacific.
A cruise on the Aranui freighter ship, which we booked in 2020 had to be postpone for 2 years, due to the raging Corona pandemic.
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The Cruise Route - Itinerary May 21-June 1/2022
Day 1 – (Saturday) Departure from Papeete (Tahiti)
When the 4 of us boarded the Aranui-5 at mid-day off the Papeete docks, the freighter’s front of the ship was already loaded with merchandise containers to be disseminated at 6 Polynesian islands, situated 1000 miles away, off the mainland's Tahiti shore.
By 4:00 pm, and after a Covid-negative, through check up was verified, and all boarding passengers were assigned to their due cabins, with the helpful assistance of a wonderful on board team, the Aranui 5 pulled up its anchor off the Papeete's dock, and started its 11 days voyage on the Pacific.
It followed the east coast of Tahiti for an hour and then set sail for the Tuamotu archipalgo (The other 4 archipelagos here)
In the meantime, we got settled in the comfortable beautifully designed suite reserved for us, and enjoyed the welcome Pizza and juices offered to also all other
105 passengers who boarded this expedition voyage with us.
This number is less then half of the amount the Aranui usually attracts, and 2 years in advance wait, during non-Corona normal times
The 9 levels freighter which was constructed in 2014-15, offers 108 cabins to max of 295 passengers and is served by 105 crew members in normal times.
The majority of this voyage passengers were 2/3 French speaking, with a small group of 10 German and 16 English speakers.
Since the pandemic spread in the world the Aranui has sailed, when possible, with only 100 to 160 passengers.
And our voyage which can carry up to 1700 tones of cargo, was staffed by only 90 crew members
A welcoming Marquesses traditional dance performance of what seemed to be a Polynesian warier angry men manifestation, open the long week entertainment, and took place on the main pool's deck.
With their customary authentic wear, and scary vocal threats , the men asserted their tribal machoism and territorial dominance.
Joining also by delicate Tahitian flower girls, the power assertion dance was preformed, to a music beat of several tambourine drums.
As to “calm” down the passengers who got "excited" by the Polynesian dance's dominance threatening gestures, a voyage safety drill, had followed up.
All passengers were huddled up by the on-board team into the ship’s exterior corridors, while wrestling with buckling up the orange life guard belts, doing their best to follow on the safety instructions demonstrated, in-case of unexpected calamity. on sea.
If not the gentle rocking lull of the ship’s sailing , then the Happy Hours drinks, before dinner time, definitely, soothed down, the shaken passengers, after the unusual marine boarding welcome experience of that afternoon.
The food prepared by the experienced on board chef and his team, adhering to French cooking standard was alarmingly excellent and more then plenty.
As a precaution, it was recommended to climb up and down the steps of the 7 floors, opened to passengers' use, instead of using the elevator, as to shade off the extra calories gained, at the 3 full meals provided daily, along with 2 bottles of wine per a table, at each meal, Since the Gym has been closed (due to Covid..) and the pool, though attractive, was too small for serious laps, the step climbing was the main strategy left.
Amazing Sun Set on the first eve
To be continued...