Today, m/s Paul Gauguin is anchored off the shores of Taha'a, Society Islands, in French Polynesia. Our target destination is the tiny Motu Mahana, which has been set up for a day at the beach exclusively for guests of the m/s Paul Gauguin. However, since the tenders do not start operating until 10:30am, we have plenty of time to sit in on a Q&A session with Canadian chef, restaurateur and author, Vikram Vij. Chef Vij gave a brief talk about his culinary success, sharing his philosophy and answering questions from the audience. Chef Vij has a huge personality and we really enjoyed his session. We are looking forward to his cooking demo on Wednesday!
After the Q&A with Chef Vij, we waste no time getting to Deck 3 to board the first tender to the island. The tender drops guests off about 50 yards from the beach, in knee-high, crystal clear water. Our aqua socks came in very handy as we made our way to the beach, where we were greeted by waiters offering cups of fruit punch.
A floating inner tube has been decorated and converted into a swim-up bar and filled with bottles of rum, vodka, gin, and a variety of mixers. The floating bar would be visited by one of us at least one too many times before our day at the beach is over.
We quickly find a couple of loungers right on the shore with a great view of m/s Paul Gauguin in the distance. We drop all of our snorkeling gear on the loungers and head off to do a little exploring of the tiny motu.
We noticed a few little stalls set up along the beach with locals selling souvenirs. Rickee has been wanting a Pareo and several of the colorful wraps are gently swaying in the breeze, calling her name. As she shops for a Pareo, I sneak back to the bar for a delicious, and potent, rum punch.
Our objective in coming to Motu Mahana was to kayak the clear, calm waters surrounding the island, and perhaps even enjoy some snorkeling. That was our objective before my third rum punch. At one point, I even sent Rickee back out to the floating bar to get me another rum punch!
A couple of Les Gauguines were demonstrating how to crack open a coconut and all of the products that can be made using the meat, water and oil of the coconut.
Of course, during Rickee's shopping, the coconut demonstration, etc., one thing remained consistent: my left hand was never far from a cup of the delicious rum punch. By the time the beach BBQ started, I was doing good to make it to the buffet line which, by the way, was filled with a variety of salads, veggies, BBQ chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs and fish. After lunch, it was pretty apparent I was in no shape to get into the water. As it turns out, I was so out of it, I forgot to get pictures of the beach BBQ!
So what did we learn today? One: The visit to Motu Mahana is one of the highlights of the 7-night Tahiti & Society Islands cruise, and two: I should never get near rum again. We caught a tender back to the ship where I attempted to sleep off my overindulgence. By the time for the sailaway party, I was back in full force. We visited the pool bar for a cocktail as m/s Paul Gauguin sailed away from Taha'a and toward Bora Bora.
For dinner this evening, we decided to try L'Etoile, the ship's main dining room. We were fortunate to get a nice table for two. The restaurant was busy, but not packed. Rickee had a salad for her main course and I tried the Thai Wok with shrimp and scallops.
After dinner, we made our way to the Grand Salon for the evening show, "Unforgettable Divas," performed by our Cruise Director, Claudine Carle. The one-woman show featured several singing styles of international divas. Ms. Carle is obviously very talented and, by the end of the show, everyone was on the dance floor. The show ended with a rousing round of applause.
After the show, we head back to the stateroom and to bed. Tomorrow will be a busy day as we visit Bora Bora!