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Travel: Aranui Voyage- Pacific Sailing On-Board, May, 30/2022

This is the 17th post of a trip to Tahiti, which started on May 10/2022 (here)

Day 10 -(Monday) - Aranui Cruise from the Marquesses back.

Sun-Rise sail on the Pacific ocean

Sailing the South Pacific toward the Tuamotu Islands (another one of the 5 French Polynesian's Archipelago) was spend on board,

It was a long day and night sailing to reach the next island destination - Rangiroa

The day on board, slowly passed by being mainly preoccupied with excessive dinning, and in between listening to fascinating lectures or participating in activities like sea-shell beads stringing, and Polynesian Hula dancing class

The special pre-orderd lobster meal by the pool deck were amazing.

With Muena our favorite Aranui restaurant's operator and talentent Tatoo artist

Learning more on the Aranui Freight Operational mechanism

Bento - a brazen Marquesan Guide beyond the retired age, a previously sea-man whot worked on the Aranui’ freight loading/unloading job for 30 years, shared his story.

Starting in 1986 as a sea-man, he then in 2017 moved to work with passengers, and has done so for the past 5 years. instead of retiring.

Sharing from experience, details on the freight operational side of the Aranui. he told that when he joined, years ago, the current mechanical technology didn’t exist, and all the freight work was done with physical might and the use of his mussels and back, as to lift, carry, load and unload the transported cargo.

Yet he loved his job, the freedom of travel, and the beauty of the islands, that came with this excruciating physically hard job, he conducted for Aranui 1, 2, 3 and now 5.

There is no Aranui 4 as in Chinese tradition #4 is an unlucky number, and since the Aranui owners used to be 4 Chinese brothers (one passed away) one resides in San Francisco and the other 2 in Tahiti, the Chinese tradition dictate the numerical categories.

Some Dry Details

The Arnui can carry up to 3000 ton of cargo which takes a 3 days to load at the Papeete harbor.

The company is convinced that mixing cargo transportation with visiting passengers is the best formula for the Aranui business strategy.

During the past 2 Corona years, when passengers stopped sailing the company lost 700k in revenues

Aranui has 4 designated area for containers loading space, and the size of the island determine the usage allocation of the space.

Measured to standard, Red painted baskets are designated to carry fresh goods like fruits/Vegetables or products needing refrigeration

While the Green painted baskets are designated carry dry goods rice , sugar and


The Red and Green Baskets

Construction materials and vehicles are transmitted on special platforms.

Shipment of 1 CM( Cube Meter) of non food = 100$

Shipment of Frozen Food =0.50c per kilo

Shipment of packed drinks = 160 per 1-CM

Shipment of a Truck/Heavy equipment (Papette to Island and visa versa) = 7000$

Shipment of a car (Papeete-island and visa versa) = 1800

Shipment of car between the islands =500$

The on board large Crane can carry up to 35 Tons and the smaller one up to 27. Sometime both simultaneously are being used to load or unload heavier cargo

Up to 27 Tons can be loaded onto a barge to transport merchandise to shore.

Not having working banking wiring system on the islands, means that Aranui’s special employees, can be spotted at each of the arrival docks, carrying throughout the voyage silver suitcases full of cash, (like in James Bond movie) to make payments and collect,

for the commercial exchanges made with the locals, at each individual island.

150$ is paid for 1 kilo of Copra, the main island’s export product, which is loaded to sucks of 35 kilos each..

Another popular island's commodity is Noni juice, known for its medicinal proprieties, The healthy liquid is being transported in barrels 200 liters each, costing 0.60 c per litter

after it is produced in Tahiti by Morinda company, multi-level marketing company based in American Fork USA- Utah and manufacturing facilities in Tahiti,

Tahiti Noni Fruit and Oil

Polynesian way-finding techniques

Later in the afternoon, Oliver Potte - the guest lecture gave his third and final

fascinating lecture on the "Polynesian Navigation Ancient Methods"

sailing the Pacific Ocean where they discovered and travel between the numerous islands, using the ROA and POE way-finding system

Also these 2 documentaries are great to watch

Nomad of the Wind”. A BBC Doco

In Summary:

The Austronesian (Polynesian) a 4000 year culture, were seafaring who used outrigger canoes or double-hulled canoes. Although they had no writing they were excellent navigators .

In 1500 Magellan or later Cook did not know how to find the islands of the Polynesian Archipelago, while around 1000 the Polynesians, clans of the Austronesian culture left the area of Taiwan and navigated exactly to their target - the Marquesas islands .

The South Pacific Ocean covers 1/3 of the world - how did they do it ?

Their maps were not North South but at the starting point of their routes in the beginning of the voyage .

Around the equator many of the important navigation stars are vertically in the sky and lying on ones back in the boat make it possible to follow ones trajectories and get within 100 miles radius of the desired target .

The particular “micro" navigation is based on environmental clues such as :

Sea- water swell - how many times in a given time and in what side of the boat the waves hit it .

Bird species - each bird species can fly a maximum distance range from a base island. So by watching a particular flying bird, a distance from a targeted island can be assessed .

Cloud Reflection - reflection of the the clouds and color of the sky ,the pollen on the water, the type of fish related to sea depth , were all indicators that enabled an exact arrival at a desired target .

Mental maps of that knowledge were relayed via stories from generation to generation. .

Happy hour that evening, was quiet relaxing... after a long on-board day of lectures, workshop on shell Bracelet stringing, and 4 hours of Polynesian Brunch eating...

To be continued....


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