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Mount Orohena

Mount Orohena


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A mix of rum, absinthe, lime, simple syrup, bitters, and mint leaves, the Mount Orohena comes from the Eastern Standard restaurant in Boston. Great for any season, this rum cocktail is strong, refreshing, and an aquired taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 Ounces Eastern Standard House-Blended Rum
  • 1 Ounce spiced simple syrup
  • 6 drops of Absinthe
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 3 lime wedges
  • 5 mint leaves

Directions

Muddle lime and mint, add liquids, dry shake, tea strain into a crushed iced coupe, garnish with a mint sprig.

Nutritional Facts

Servings1

Calories Per Serving218

Folate equivalent (total)3µg1%


Around The World

And, of course, we have added a selection of OUR pictures in various places.

If this is your first visit to our blog, welcome. Start with the tour of our ship then progress through each voyage, 1 through 8, and the final summary. All of the blogs are posted in November 2011.

If you are returning to our blog, we just reorganized our blogs to put them in the same sequence as our voyage. Sorry, if that confuses anyone. All of the blogs are posted in November 2011.

This was an absolutely fabulous cruise. We had so much fun, saw so many places and people, and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And, we have had a good time putting all of this blog together so that we can share our memories.

Hope you enjoy our cruise as much as we did.

Video Index

Country Index

AUSTRALIA
Adelaide 3
Brisbane 4
Cairns 4
Darwin 4
Geelong 3
Hobart 3
Kangaroo Island 3
Melbourne 3
Sydney 3,4
Tasman Sea 3
Thursday Island 4

FRENCH POLYNESIA
Bora Bora 2
Moorea 1
Papeete 1,2
Raiatea 2
Rangiroa 1

Rome 8
Sorrento 8
Taormina 8

VIETNAM
Ha Long Bay 5
Hanoi 5
Saigon 5

Silver Spirit Ship Tour

It's lots of work going through all of our photos - looking at them all, deciding which ones to keep or delete, editing to make them look better, making movies or slide shows, etc. Lots of work but also fun as we re-live our adventures.

To start, we thought you would like to hear (and see) more about our cruise ship. So, we are giving you a tour. Enjoy! If you just want a video tour, go to the bottom.

SILVER SPIRIT is the newest and largest of the 6-ship fleet owned and operated by Silversea. These elite and intimate ships are specifically designed for fewer guests, featuring more space and the highest levels of personalized service. Silversea is in the 'luxury cruise ship' category providing cruises to over 700 ports in more than 100 countries around the world. The cruises are 'all-inclusive', meaning that everything is included from all meals, all beverages, 24-hour room service, a personal butler and house keeper, and laundry. Silver Spirit was built in 2009, with an overall length of 642' and an 86' beam, she holds 540 passengers with approximately 390 crew (approximately 2/3 from the Philippines, the other 1/3 from eastern Europe or elsewhere - more than 24 nationalities). Passengers receive 'personalized' service everywhere aboard the ship even name recognition by all crew (the crew are continually tested so they would know every passenger's name). Almost all of the suites have private verandas

Our home for our 4-month World Cruise was Veranda Suite #912 located on the Pool Deck (forward of the pool) 376 sq feet (roughly 10' by 37'). The suite's cabin space had a curtain divider between sleeping and living space private veranda with two lounge chairs with ottomans and small table full bath with separate shower and tub (never used the tub) and vacuum flush toilet (make sure you are not sitting on the toilet when you flush it) walkin closet with small dresser and personal safe. The space was comfortable, tight in some areas (between foot of bed & vanity and the closet was tight and you should see the contortions the butler made carrying in a large tray for room service) 2 flat-screen TVs built behind the mirrows in-suite bar and refrigerator stocked with beverages of our choice Queen bed with selection of 9 pillow types and fresh linens daily living area with sofa, tables, and desk space wireless internet access (in our suite and all around the ship) lots of cabinets and shelves excellent lighting air conditioning or heat alarm clock with iPod station, fresh fruit and flowers luxury accommodations.

SHIP LAYOUT
Deck 3 - access ports for boat tenders, crew quarters
Deck 4 - The Restaurant, Seshin Restaurant, Le Champagne Restaurant
Deck 5 - Reception, The Bar, Shore Concierge, The Theatre (Show Lounge)
Deck 6 - The Spa, The Fitness Center
Deck 7 - The Library, Stars Super Club, La Terraza Restaurant (buffet for breakfast and lunch)
Deck 8 - Boutiques, Casino, Connoisseur Cigar Lounge
Deck 9 - Pool, Pool Grill, Card/Game Room, Panorama Lounge
Deck 10 - Hot Rocks restaurant, jogging track, Bridge and crew quarters
Deck 11 - Observation Lounge


CREW
Captain Angelo Corsaro has been with Silversea since 1993 and, as the most senior master, he has commanded every ship in the fleet. He was part of the team for the final construction of Silver Spirit and was honored to be the Silver Spirit's Master for her maiden voyage in 2010 and for our World Cruise 2011. Angelo is Italian, has a great personality, and knows how to work hise crew and please the passengers. The Silver Spirit was always 'on time' when under his command. Captain Corsaro commanded Silver Spirit from Los Angeles to Auckland then again from Dubai to Southampton.
Captain Marco Sangiacomo joined Silversea in 2000 as Second Officer and has worked his way through numerous positions until appointed Captain in 2004 and has served as Master aboard all of the vessels in the fleet. A nice Italian man, friendly, played lots of jokes with Fernando (the Cruise Director), and had lots of stories to tell. Captain Sangiacomo commanded the Silver Spirit from Auckland to Dubai.
Fernando de Oliveira (Portugese) is Silversea's Senior Cruise Director has been with Silversea since 1994 with 20 years experience prior to that with other cruise lines he has been aboard all of the vessels of the fleet. This man was everywhere and involved in everything he kept the passengers entertained with his laughter and humor he made announcements all day long with the latest activities played the part of King Neptune for Equator Crossing parties is a wonderful man who knew every passenger's name.
Soraira de Sant'anna is an International Hostess who has been with Silversea since 2007. She is Brazilian and speaks seven languages so, she is great with passengers from all around the world. A very pretty lady who is pleasant and socialable. A great salsa dancer.
Carla de Almeida is an International Hostess who has worked in the cruise industry since 2003. Also from Brazil, she speaks seven languages, she greets every passenger with her friendly voice and a hug.
Norman Rafelson was our Hotel Director who was in charge of all Guest Services (meaning he was the leader of all crew, other than navigation staff). An American from New Jersey, he worked around the world in the hotel industry before joining Silversea. He was the person to talk to to arrange events or make comments about the crew.

RESTAURANTS
The wine selection was great. Many wines from around the world. The head sommilier selected complimentary wines each day but you could always select something else if you preferred. Or, the Connoisseur's List had a large selection of wines for purchase.

The Restaurant Sparkling with silver, crystal and candlelight, The Restaurant encircles its guests with sophisticated elegance and impeccable service. Contemporary, international cuisine is created by talented chefs, and daily menus feature a series of signature dishes created exclusively for Silversea by Relais & Châteaux. When a 'guest chef' is aboard, the menu offers tastes for that particular region. This is the main dining room seating 400 passengers which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with new menus everyday or you can order anything that you want open seating no reservations necessary.
The Restaurant is next to the galley. At times, they offer a "galley lunch" where the buffet is set up inside the galley you walk through filling your plate a waiter then takes your plate and guides you to your table interesting concept.
We had breakfast here several times and the place was nearly empty.
The lunch menu changed daily. There was always a recommended menu but you could also select a la carte items here are a few samples:
Appetizers - Candied Cherry Tomato Timbale, Gratinated Mussels, Voi-au-Vent
Intermezzo - Chilled Argula Cream, Tagliatelle al Pomodoro, Farmhouse Salad, Rosemary Focaccia
Entrees - Basted Tom Turkey, Pan-fried Fresh Perch, Shepherd's Pie
Dinners were delicious. There was a recommended menu but you could also select a la carte
Appetizers - Stuffed Artichoke, Caviar and Blinis, Tiger Prawns
Intermezzo - Mushroom Consomme, Spinach & Strawberry Salad, Herb Parmesan Cannelloni
Entrees - Lobster Vermicelli, Filet Mignon, Highland Venison, Polenta with Mushrooms

La Terrazza A divine selection of Italy’s best cuisine is served à la carte in La Terrazza. Authentic recipes and the freshest ingredients come together with flair and passion — a flavourful expression of Silversea’s distinctive Italian heritage that embraces the principals of Slow Food — fresh, sustainable and locally grown. Slow Food is an eco-gastronomic concept that began at a grass roots level in reaction to “Fast Food” and is dedicated to proper land stewardship while preserving cultural food traditions. For example, La Terrazza uses buffalo mozzarella from Naples, organic balsamic vinegar and olive oil from Umbria, and air-dried ham out of Parma. The Emilia-Romagna region also produces Silversea's 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano, while the pasta is made daily right on board. La Terrazza is open for casual, buffet-style breakfast and lunch with indoor or al fresco dining on the outdoor terrace. During the evening, La Terrazza transforms into an à la carte traditional Italian restaurant. The wait staff is always friendly, efficient, and gracious. Seating is limited to 100 passengers for dinner so reservations are recommended.
Breakfast buffet offered anything you wanted from cereal, fresh fruit, hot dishes, smoked salmon, pastries
Lunch buffet was a selection of salad makings, deli meats & chesses, hot dishes, sushi, breads, desserts
Dinner menus changed daily were a la carte Italian specialties.

Pool Grill Casual and convenient, meals and cocktails are served with soft ocean breezes. Poolside menu options feature healthy CruiseLite selections at breakfast, with light fare for lunch including grilled meats and fresh-from-the-oven pizza on some occasions, special buffet lunches are offered. As the stars begin to peek out from a darkening sky, the top deck of the Pool Bar & Grill is transformed into The Grill – an intimate al fresco eatery featuring a fun, interactive Black Rock Grill experience -- a preheated volcanic rock is brought to your table, allowing you to cook such delicacies as steak, veal, pork, lamb, salmon, fish or prawns or lobster exactly to your liking right at your own table. And what a table it is. A white linen tablecloth laden with delectable morsels, and every seat with an unmatched ocean view. The Fix Duo played live music for listening or dancing (although a little too loud). A popular spot for dinner with seating for 40 passengers, so reservations are necessary.
We enjoyed dinner at The Grill many times, particularly on 'formal' nights when we didn't want to dress up as the dress code for The Grill was always 'casual'. When the weather was cold, there were heaters. If it was raining, the tables were under cover. When the weather was perfect, the fresh air was refreshing.

Stars Supper Club The warm and inviting Art Deco-inspired decor of this dining venue elegantly recalls the supper clubs of the 1930s. Trendsetting menus offer a modern twist, showcasing regional and seasonal delicacies to be enjoyed in a succession of small courses, tapa style. Arrive early for cocktails and stay late as the mood is transformed by live music, dancing and nightclub-style entertainment. Reservations are required as there is seating for 40 passengers.
A great place for a late dinner and good live music. The tapa style dishes were tasty.

Le Champagne The only Wine Restaurant by Relais & Châteaux at sea can be found aboard the ships of Silversea. Indulge in an evening where fine wines are complemented by a set tasting menu of regionally inspired dishes in an intimate, elegant setting for only 24 passengers. An extraordinary six-course delectable gourmet experience (changes nightly) celebrating the world’s most distinguished wine regions. $200 per guest fee with exclusive wines $30 per guest fee with no wines.
We never tried this place. It appeared to be almost empty most nights.

Seishin is the Japanese word for 'spirit'. Innovative Asian fusion cuisine, Kobe beef and spider lobster vie for the attention of your tastebuds in this cosy, stylish venue. Seishin features a large, round chef's table as its centerpiece for 12 passengers. Settle in to the surrounding tables for another 12 passengers and watch the chef at work sculpting fresh sushi and sashimi. The varied menu ranges from exquisite a la carte specialities to a nine-course degustation dinner. $200 per guest fee with exclusive wines $80 per guest fee with saki wines $30 per guest fee with no wines.
We never tried Seishin as we do not care for sushi.


THE BARS
The Bar is located in the Reception lobby area and invites guests to socialize throughout the day over specialty coffees, tapas, and complimentary cocktails with pre-dinner dancing music and light music throughout the evening. We enjoyed Eric O'Bach who played many old standards and had a good voice. We requested a few songs early on and always played those requested songs whenever he saw us in The Bar.
Observation Lounge and Bar is the ideal place for scenic days at sea this vantage point far forward and high atop the ship is perfect for that “king of the world” feeling. There is a coffee bar in the early morning, Friends of Bill W gatherings, and canapes & drinks for sunset. We spent almost every early evening with our friends here - sunsets, port departures, or meet before dinner.
Panorama Lounge is specially designed to provide an uninterrupted view of the day’s destination from the comfort of the ship’s interior. This is an ideal place to unwind, enjoy afternoon tea, listen to the pianist and watch the setting sun. The drinks are complimentary the music live and inviting enjoy dancing to a range of musical styles for every taste from standards to the latest club mixes. Outside, the open-air patio with comfortable seating and sun beds for two are covered by a retractable awning. We loved the sunbeds!
Pool Bar is open all day providing waiter or self service throughout the pool deck.
Connoisseur’s Corner offers exceptional cognacs along with a premium selection of cigars for purchase.

DRESS ATTIRE
Formal
Ladies - evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or dress pantsuits
Men - tuxedo, dinner jackets, or dark suits with tie
Informal
Ladies - dresses or pantsuits
Men - jackets (tie optional)
Casual
Ladies - dresses or pants and blouses
Men - sport shirts and slacks

ENTERTAINMENT
Enjoy a broad spectrum of entertainment — from full-scale production shows and classical soloists, to cultural entertainment, and feature films. A variety of live music is played throughout the day and throughout the ship. Request your favorite songs in The Bar or dance the night away in the Panorama Lounge where the music varies from classic tunes to today’s popular hits.
The production shows were "cute", not necessarily Broadway quality, but OK (once). The dancers were young, good at what they do, having fun they also performed small shows on the pool deck for special occasions. The 'permanent' performers, Silver Spirit Trio (3 musicians from Romania), The Fix Duo (Asian couple with electric piano and songs sung using a computer the give the lady the lyrics), Eric O'Bach (Philippino singer pianist), Amadeus (Polish pianist).

ACTIVITIES
Fitness Centre is equipped with free weights, weight machines, state-of-the-art treadmills, elliptical trainers and recumbent and upright bicycles classes in aerobics, yoga, Pilates and circuit training are led by the onboard fitness trainer and are always complimentary. Personal training, body composition analysis and specialty classes are available at an additional charge. The area was tight quickly got overheated when more than 6 people were in the area was busy in the morning but empty the rest of the day.
The Spa Relax, rejuvenate and renew all your senses. At 8,300 square feet, The Spa is a sanctuary of pure bliss, featuring floor-to ceiling windows, nine treatment rooms, indoor/outdoor relaxation areas, and an outdoor whirlpool. Indulge in a wide range of invigorating therapies including facials, body wraps and massages. The ceramic-tiled Thermal Suite is an exclusive spa area furnished with heated lounge chairs. With its connecting private Hammam (Turkish bath) Chamber, it serves as the setting for the Private Hammam Experience, one of several unique Silver Spirit treatments. Appointments for chargeable services. Men’s and women’s saunas and steam rooms are perfect for relaxing before your spa treatment or after your workout. And an outdoor relaxation area offers bar service so you can enjoy a complimentary fruit smoothie, champagne or cocktail while soaking in the expansive spa whirlpool.
Beauty Salon provides a full range of salon services for both men and women including hairstyling, manicures and pedicures. Appointments for these chargeable services.
Boutiques featuring designer collections and duty-free shopping, the onboard Boutiques offer a selection of jewellery, fashions, perfumes and Silversea logo items. Shops are closed while in port and on occasion due to local government regulations. Toiletries and convenience items are also available for purchase.
Casino Roulette, blackjack and slot machines are available in The Casino for guests 18 years or older. If you are a novice, come to the champagne reception and learn all the games offered aboard. Gaming lessons are offered.
Library has an extensive selection of hardcover books, magazines, reference materials and newspapers, as well as audio listening stations. Passengers can participate in 'book exchange. Full internet work stations are available for passengers to Email friends and family back home or surf the web for a nominal fee. CD burners, headphones, digital camera media readers, and complimentary black and white laser printing are also available.
Show Lounge Applaud a broad spectrum of entertainment — from full-scale production shows and classical soloists, to cultural entertainment and feature films. Throughout your voyage, the Show Lounge also presents port talks, enrichment lectures and a variety of special events.
Other Options An Ocean Of Options - Afternoon Tea Bingo Board Games Bridge Tours Card Games Culinary Demonstrations Dance Classes Destination Seminars Enrichment Lectures Exercise Classes Galley Tours Golf Putting Matinee Movies Power Walks Shuffleboard Team Trivia Towel Folding Lessons Water Volleyball Wine Tastings. There was always something to do.


VIDEO --
Here is a link to Picasa for a video of our Ship Tour. Just click on the link and it goes directly to Picasa and starts the video. You may want to STOP the video, let it load some, move the cursor back to the start, click for FULL SCREEN (at the far right), then PLAY.
We hope that you enjoy our tour.

If clicking on the link does not work, just copy and paste --- highlight the link data, RIGHT CLICK, select COPY, put your cursor in your internet search box, RIGHT CLICK, select PASTE and the video should start automatically.
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If you really want to see more stuff about the Silver Spirit, you can always go to www.silversea.com

NOW, "Stay Tuned In" as we will start posting more details, photos, videos shortly for each voyage of our cruise.


20 Pictures Proving You Should Take a Vacation in Tahiti

You need a vacation, and not just any vacation. No. You need an unforgettable vacation that’s truly one of a kind. You need to travel someplace remote, someplace exotic, someplace that offers way more of an experience than even the most fun Caribbean island. You need to go to Tahiti.

Tahiti is like no other place in the world. It’s home to amazingly lush tropical forests that are strewn across mountainous geography. Here you can do a great many things. You can choose, as so many others due, to say in an amazing overwater bungalow, which means you’re literally never more than a step or two from the ocean. You can also head inland to check out the island’s stunning waterfalls, or you can visit some of the island’s historic landmarks. And that’s just the basics!

All in all, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to another planet when you’re on the island of Tahiti. Don’t believe us? Well, then come check out these 20 pictures of the island. They’ll absolutely prove why it is that you should take your next vacation here!


Departure Gate: Tahiti (South Coast)

Polynesia: A place associated with many things, from classic “desert” islands through coconuts and the development of navigation, to traditional tattoos. Polynesians are a people of the sea, out of which they developed their society and gained notoriety, and their land is one of traditions where despite globalization you still find the true polynesian spirit in the eyes of locals. It is a place that lays claim to being the birthplace of surfing as we know it. Amidst all of these associations, one thing is certain: there is no shortage of quality waves.

Despite having the prefix French, less than 10% of French Polynesia’s inhabitants originate from France so French Polynesia is still very much Polynesia. The archipelago is spread along roughly 2000km (1,200mi) of Pacific Ocean and consists of over 100 main islands (not including islets and atolls), which in turn are separated into administrative subdivisions: Marquesas Islands, Society Islands (Windward Islands and Leeward Islands), Tuamotu Archipelago, Gambier Islands, Austral Islands and Bass Islands.

Tahiti is part of the Windward group of the Society Islands, together with Moorea, Maiao and other smaller islets. It is the largest and highest island in French Polynesia, as well as the most populated. It has nearly 200km of coastline surrounded by a wall of reef, punctuated by passes that create the magical formula for perfect waves. Swells have an unobstructed approach to the southern part of the island, and when they meet its many passes and shallow reefs the result is powerful and perfectly shaped waves. The island is divided in Tahiti Nui (“big Tahiti”) and Tahiti Iti (“small Tahiti”), with a narrow strip of land connecting both parts. With mountainous terrain in the centre (highest point Mount Orohena, 2200m) the landscape is covered by steep rainforests that seem to rise straight out of the ocean, ceding only a small amount of space to villages, rivers and beaches. In the wet season (December-March) the best swells come from the north, reducing the potential of good waves at the spots in the south. But from May to August the south coast (and Tahiti in general) gets its best swells, usually generated by low pressure systems originating in Antartica and off the coast of New Zealand.

Regardless of how you get to Tahiti, your port of arrival will be Papeete. Being the only city in Tahiti (and in French Polynesia), it’s the location of all the conveniences of modern life. Even though Tahiti is a rather well-developed place (especially considering its location), outside of Papeete you’ll find mostly villages and the occasional small town. Fortunately for travellers and locals, there’s a coastal road that circumnavigates and connects both Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, so moving around is easy.

Only 10km away from Papeete’s city centre (even closer if you arrive by plane at Faa’ International Airport) is the legendary left of Taapuna. Even before Teahupo’o became famous around the world, Taapuna already had the respect of the locals, for a good reason. This wave is more popular among bodyboarders due to the difficulty of its take off and the need for a speed-of-light pop up. Plus, the throwing lip and shallow water over razor sharp reef add to the challenge of standing on a craft. To get to the wave you’ll need to either paddle for 20 minutes from the car park (just off the main road), or get a boat ride with local fishermen or fellow surfers. If the swell is good there are many boats moored in the channel, so it’s easy to catch a ride back.

Once out, you’ll notice the wave has three different sections, which vary depending on the swell and its intensity. It’d be wise to work your way up towards the outer – and thus hollower – section in order to get a feel for the wave. Beginners shouldn’t venture out to this spot, even if the swell is small, as Taapuna’s unpredictability never rests. Its consistency and quality is both a blessing and a curse, because when paired with its proximity to Papeete the result is that it attracts crowds. Westerly swells work best and tides are not a major factor. It’s one of those waves where you’ll either get the best barrel of your life, or the worst wipe-out.

About 20km south of Taapuna, following the coastal road, you’ll reach the spot of Maraa, shortly after passing the town of Taverea. The pass is clearly visible from the road, but the wave itself is not that accessible, meaning there’s the need for either a boat ride or another 20min paddle across the lagoon. The left of Maraa is as hollow, fast, powerful and shallow as Taapuna, only less crowded. Experience in fast, hollow surf is required in order to make the take off and keep up with the speed of the wave. It’s not worth attempting to surf it on low tide, or if the swell is smaller than 3ft, since the sharp reef will be far too exposed. A 6ft, W/SW/S swell mixed with E/NE winds would be the ideal conditions, but the spot can hold up to 10ft pulses. Once again, it’s wise to sit for a while and watch the wave in order to understand its sections and make the most of its long walls. Make sure to paddle out with your most reliable short-board or step-up (preferably one with a little more rocker, designed for tube riding).

The ferociousness of the waves cool as you reach the spot of Papara (or Taharuu), 10km SE of Maraa. The beach of Taharuu has a large parking area, with a cafe, toilets and free outdoor showers. It can be best described as a river-mouth/black sand beach-break ,with pebbles on the bottom and even the occasional patch of reef. This is the most popular beach break in Tahiti and is suitable for all levels of surfers, allowing both right and left rides, on most stages of tide. Due to the influence of the river that flows down from the mountains, the bottom is constantly changing and so are the peaks, which makes it a hard wave to read and usually not a very long ride. It is a great option when the swell drops or when it’s too big at the reefs. But regardless, you’re likely to be accompanied by many other surfers, especially if the swell is coming straight from the south and the breeze is running down the mountains, south bound and offshore. This is the ideal spot for periods of smaller swell and/or if you need to rest your arms without staying out of the water.

As you get to the town of Taravao (the connecting point between Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti) there’s the possibility of following the road eastwards along the north coast, or heading down the south coast, towards Teahupo’o.

Going south, almost half-way between Taravao and Teahupo’o, there’s the spot of Vairao. This incredibly consistent and uncrowded wave lives on the shadows of its neighbour’s fame, but deserves recognition. The downside (as with most passes in Tahiti) is inaccessibility. It’s a rather long paddle from the village of Vairao, but if the charts are glowing light blue or green (anything higher than 3ft) coming from the SW/S it’s worth the mission. The south corner of the reef pass (where the left-hand breaks) turns sharply back on itself, forming a bay of coral and causing the swell to wrap around it, producing longer waves.

Similar to its Tahiti Nui’s sisters, Vairao is a hollow, fast and long wall that demands respect. Not only is the wave hard to master, but as the tide changes there’s often a strong current that pulls you away from the channel and thus deeper into the peak. That being said, both the wave and the current are more organised on mid-high tide and anything bigger than 12ft becomes risky, even for experienced surfers. Definitely bring a fast short-board that you are confident will hold into the wall on take off. Consider a gun if the swell picks up.

Last but by no means least, is the spot that needs no introductions.

Teahupo’o is the end of the southern coastal road, but the beginning of an extraordinary experience. “The pile of heads”, as it’s literally translated, can oddly enough be quite gentle at times but then makes up for its momentary quietude with serious walls of water and heavy lips. Locals say the wave has teeth and most dare not disagree.

Teahupo’o is a great example of how the bathymetry of the sea bed and reef influences the shape of the wave the level of the saltwater lagoon is tormented when a swell approaches the wall of reef (a mountain-shaped undersea formation that drops drastically from near the surface to 150ft deep) sucking the water off the impact zone, often down to a mere 3ft deep and placing the surfer below sea level, face-to-face with a floor of sharp coral and a wall of water that is 2-3 times bigger than the back of the wave. It is an amazing spectacle to behold, even if not experienced first hand.

Little needs to be said about Teahupo’o’s features, and even less about its hazards. It is without a doubt an “experts only” wave, even if the swell is not that big and the wave seems rideable. It starts working at 3ft and holds swells in excess of 16ft, predominantly from the south. Besides the daunting beauty of its waves, Teahupo’o is a charming village set in picturesque surroundings, worth seeing at sunrise or sunset. Should you consider going for a paddle bring a gun/semi-gun to make sure you’re not outrun by the wave. It is easily accessible when the swell is good since there are boats going back and forth from shore, but is a long 30 minute paddle otherwise.

After some time in Tahiti it’s possible to understand why the place has such a positive reputation. It’s not only the great waves, warm water, sunny weather, good food or intriguing traditions that make you not want to leave there’s an almost utopian pace to life that is rare in our modern society, and that when combined with these features and the generosity of the locals, elevates Tahiti’s status to “paradise”.

Where: Fly to Fa’a’ International Airport (PPT) and hire a car/motorbike to drive around the island.

When: April to September or May to August for even more consistent swells.

Why: Long, barreling walls of crystal clear warm water, with picturesque settings and amazing culture and people.

How: A couple of short-boards for smaller days and manoeuvrability, and guns/semi-guns for tube riding and fast reef breaks.

Our thanks to Nick Stokes for sharing with us a selection of his incredible and until-now unseen photographs from Tahiti.


SWEET

What a great find this was! 100% Meunier brings a roundness and a beautiful fruitiness to this champagne, accompanied by luscious bubbles and toastiness.

Baron Albert Champagne L’universeille Brut NV

A classic champagne-blend that brings out a lovely toastiness and fresh acidity. Perfect as an aperitif or to enjoy with seafood.

Deliri ancestral, muscandia 2019

This Spanish Cava has strong floral and citrus notes. It's dry, but has a fresh fruitiness - a very enjoyable wine.

White wine

Gut von beiden, chardonnay trocken 2019

This German Chardonnay has a nutty, well-balanced body with a fresh and lively acidity.

12 cl 8€ / 16 cl 10€ / bottle 44€

Notas frutales, la trucha albariño 2018

A trendy wine from the Spanish west coast. You can taste the saltiness that comes from the soil where the grapes where grown - a beautiful lightweight and mineral wine.

12 cl 8€ / 16 cl 11,5€ / bottle 45€

Weinrieder, Grüner Veltliner Klassik 2018

A classic with a twist. The taste brings pear, white pepper and minerality - you can almost taste the Austrian mountains.

12 cl 6€ / 16 cl 8,5€ / bottle 33€

Karl May, Riesling Classic 2019

A well-balanced Riesling where acidity, freshness and fruitiness meet. This is a good one.

12 cl 6€ / 16 cl 8€ / bottle 32€

Bera Vittorio e Figli, Arcese 2018

A slightly fizzy white wine that has a beautiful richness whilst being fresh and dry. It’s a bit of something special.

Cecilia Beretta, brognoligo soave 2019

A beautiful blend from northeast Italy that has acidity and notes of citrus and tropical fruits.

Niepoort-kettern jojo mosel “Orange juice” 2018

When you want to try a different Riesling - this one will surprise you with its fresh, earthy taste.

Montagny 1er cru “vigne du soleil” 2018

This elegant, oaked Chardonnay has a deep, lingering taste that brings out fresh minerality and notes of vanilla.

Domaine gross riesling gueberschwihr 2019

A dry and crisp Riesling from Alsace, that surprises with its acidity. We really like this one!

La spinetta vermentino 2019

This beauty comes from Tuscany and has a light body with a delicate taste of citrus and herbs.

Fattoria la zerbina, bianco di ceparano 2019

This Albana from northern Italy was a new find for us. This light, yet well-balanced wine has notes of tropical fruits and a little minerality.

Weingut lidy, kerner feinherb 2019

A bit of sugar brings multidimensionality to this wine that has a gentle herbal and fruity taste.

Vincent caillè, gros-plant du pays nantais 2018

This wine from Loire brings verdant and citrus notes - paired with a pretty acidity, this wine has quite a distinctive and pleasant aftertaste.

Carpinus, tokaj harslevelu 2016

A unique wine from Hungary that has a lightness that can support even spicy foods. Notes of lime and elderflower paired with a fresh acidity make this wine well-balanced.

Annabel de Chateau Puybarbe 2019

This beautiful rose is light, dry and has a gentle taste of raspberry.

La spinetta, rosé di casanova 2019

A special rose, where Sangiovese surprises you with soft tannins and a rich, fresh and fruity taste.

Red wine

Pascal Bouchard, Pinot Noir ”Louis” 2019

An excellent, effortless and lightweight Pinot Noir that brings aromas of cherry and cranberry.

12 cl 6€ / 16 cl 8€ / bottle 32€

La Spinetta, Il Nero Di Casanova 2016

A medium bodied wine with even tannins. In this wine the notes of blueberry and blackberry stand out with a hint of spiciness.

12 cl 9€ / 16 cl 12,50€ / bottle 50€

Laurence & Remí dufaitre, prèmices cuvèe 2017

A beautiful wine from Beaujolais. In this medium bodied wine you can find a bit of spiciness and red fruit. The soft tannins are in balance with the complexity of the wine.

12 cl 9,5€ / 16 cl 13,5€ / bottle 57€

Pasqua, Cecilia Beretta come me 2016 magnum

From Veneto, Italy - a medium bodied wine with soft tannins and notes of blackberry and cherries. A little sweetness fits beautifully with this Corvina & Merlot- blend.

12 cl 7,5€ / 16 cl 10€ / bottle 85€

Bera Vittorio e Figli, La Verrane 2018

A fizzy, Lambrusco-like, light red wine with hints of blackcurrant. For someone who wants to try something different.

Bodegas 1808 valcavada 2017

A smooth Tempranillo from Rioja that brings a modern edge to this classic wine. You can find spicy aromas and notes of liquorice. .

Karl may, pinot noir 2019

This German Pinot Noir has a balanced acidity and a taste of juicy berries paired with light tannins.

Clos triguedina malbec du clos 2017

A deep red, medium bodied French Malbec that compared to its Argentinian cousin, brings spicy notes and rich, soft tannins.

Paolo manzone, barolo serralunga 2016

A gorgeous, full bodied, generous Nebbiolo, that is a timeless classic. This wine has strong tannins paired with a warm, rustic and leathery aroma.

Matteo corregia, barbera d’alba 2017

A family-owned winery brings us this amazing dry, medium bodied Barbera. The soft tannins go beautifully with the taste of ripe berries.

Isolabella della croce augusta nizza 2015

This Barbera comes from the Italian coast and has a charming, rich berry taste. Perfectly balanced tannins!

Monteraponi, chianti classico 2016

Pure balance in a glass. The elegant tannins work with the acidity of the wine and the rich taste has notes of currant, cherry and even tobacco.

Sweet wines

Chateau haut-bergeron l’ilot 2016

This rich tropical wine is a perfect companion for our sweet dishes.

Niepoort Ruby Port

Our light and soft Port wine goes beautifully with desserts and cheeses, but is also a pleasure on its own.


Culture

Polynesian culture is a legacy of their Ma'ohi ancestors. Let us be your guide to some of the traditions.

  • In Tahiti, everyone speaks informally. (If speaking French, use "tu" rather than "vous").
  • Music, dance, flowers, surfing and tattoos, that's Polynesia.
  • Tahitians are extremely generous, spontaneous, friendly and very hospitable to travelers.
  • The Tahitian language, or more precisely the Reo Maohi, has only 17 letters in its alphabet.
  • "U" is pronounced "oo", "E" is "A", and the "R" is rolled.


Dick’s has destroyed $5M worth of guns, its CEO says

Dick’s Sporting Goods has destroyed $5 million of the chain’s gun inventory, its CEO said.

After finding out that Dick’s had sold the Parkland shooter a shotgun, CEO Edward Stack decided last year the company would no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21. Dick’s announced it would destroy its inventory of weapons, rather than allow them to be sold by another retailer.

Since then, about $5 million of the chain’s gun inventory of assault rifles has been turned into scrap metal, Stack said in an interview with CBS.

“All this about, you know, how we were anti-Second Amendment, you know, ‘we don’t believe in the Constitution,’ and none of that could be further from the truth,” he said in the interview. “We just didn’t want to sell the assault-style weapons that could inflict that kind of damage.”

The shooting

Stack is a hunter and gun owner who believes strongly in the Second Amendment. The company, which his father started as a fish-and-tackle shop in 1948, has sold guns since long before Stack started working there in 1977.

But the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, on February 14, 2018, changed that. 17 people were killed in the attack.

Though the gun sold to the shooter was not the AR-15-style rifle used in the shooting, Stack said he couldn’t stand being part of the narrative of mass shootings.

“We had a pit in our stomach,” he told CNN soon after the shooting. “We did everything by the book that we were supposed to do, from a legal standpoint, we followed everything we were supposed to do. And somehow this kid was still able to buy a gun from us.”

The decision

Stack told CBS the controversial decision cost his company about a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue.

Dick’s is not the only national chain to be grappling with gun sales.

Walmart announced in September that it would reduce its gun and ammunition sales significantly, also requesting that customers no longer open carry guns into their stores, even in states that allow open carry.

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Tikehau still an unspoiled retreat

There’s nothing quite so vibrantly, blindingly blue as the lagoon on Tikehau, an hour’s flight from Tahiti, in French Polynesia.

I’m deliciously alone, lying on the deck of my overwater bungalow at the Tikehau Pearl Resort, peering down through water as clear as glass and busier than any aquarium. When I climb down into the lagoon to float face down, a crowd of colorful iridescent fish crowd around me, bumping my hands and pecking at my face mask’s shiny rims.

The water is shallow close to the Pearl’s thatched main lodge. A breezy Polynesian-style retreat, it shelters beneath coconut palms on a sandy islet on this coral atoll, in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

From my perch on the deck, it’s peaceful watching the frigate birds overhead and listening to the waves crashing on the outer reef, a continuous low hum. Since Tikehau’s only “pass” through the reef is a narrow gap too perilous for anything larger than a fishing boat, it’s likely that Tikehau, where time seems to have stopped, will remain secluded and unspoiled. And how different it is from Tahiti and Bora Bora, in the neighboring Society Islands where my vacation began.

“Choices,” said Marie Garrigou, a spokesman for the Pearl Beach Resort hotels. “Choices is what visitors have here on Tahiti, or Bora Bora or Tikehau. There are a dozen ways to spend a vacation, from introducing your kids to Polynesian culture to mountain biking or kayaking. But mention Bora Bora and most people think honeymoon. We’d like to change that.”

After 10 days in French Polynesia, I knew what she meant. I didn’t know much about Tikehau when I added it to my itinerary, figuring that an atoll would be a change from two high islands. But I was lucky. Not only was it close to Tahiti — convenient for flying in and out from the airport at Papeete, Tahiti’s capital — but Tikehau is as different from Tahiti and Bora Bora as the two are from each other.

The magic on Tikehau was the empty islets, the silence, hot sunny days and the chance to be part of a group of six — not 60 — exploring Bird Island, a Galapagos-like sanctuary where two dozen sea birds eat, fly and build nests, completely unafraid of the visitors who pause to snap selfies with newly hatched chicks.

In contrast, Tahiti and Bora Bora’s steep, volcanic peaks and encircling lagoons beckoned with hiking, rock climbing, first-rate snorkeling, and those famous South Seas sunsets, the ones that paint the sky when the clouds gather over the peaks. And for explorers yearning for variety, the rest of French Polynesia was there, 115 more islands in five archipelagoes scattered over 2,123 square miles of Pacific Ocean.

The big-city thrill of the trip was my day in Papeete, a city alive with energy, shops and offices, a busy harbor filled with ships, narrow streets clogged with taxis and delivery trucks, and sidewalks crowded with sightseers, snack joints and fancy store windows displaying everything from women’s dresses to office equipment.

I’d contemplated mountain biking on the lower slopes of 7,352-foot Mount Orohena, highest mountain on Tahiti, and in the Society Islands, but after a closer inspection changed my mind. Instead, I joined a half-day cultural and waterfall truck tour guided by Teiva, (he uses just one name) a 12th-generation Tahitian who arrived in festival gear (boar’s tusk necklace, green pareo, pony tail and a huge smile).

Teiva’s family once owned the valley that was now parkland. Having played there as a child, he knows every creek and gully, he told us. Leaving sea level and a lush, flowery forest behind, we drove uphill on a narrow winding road, heading for the top of the valley. Then suddenly the forest parted to reveal rows of waterfalls pouring down each narrow gulley.

On Bora Bora, the vibe was all about the South Seas dream. And with a blue lagoon and two dozen deluxe resorts, hotels and guesthouses, the possibilities seemed endless. No matter where you stayed, you could find a on a beach, snorkel with the sharks or take a jeep trip up the mountain.

My bungalow at Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort on Tevairoa Motu (islet) made bamboo and thatch feel as elegant as a palace. The extra-long bathtub invited slow, pampering soaks, and there was a pool as well. Much larger than its sister resort on Tikehau, the Bora Bora Pearl occupied acres of beach and a palm grove. But as luxe as it was, low-key, traditional Polynesian hospitality was the modus operandi. And for those who wanted to experience a bit more, one-hour cultural activities were offered daily at 10:30 a.m., according to General Manager Sylvain Delanchy.

Born in France, Delanchy took the job on Bora Bora “to give Polynesia a try” and fell in love with the lifestyle. “Look at the flower wreaths that the waitresses wear around their hair,” he said. . What matters here is the culture,” he added. “Without it, it’s just another beach.”

Just because you can fill every minute with sports, cuisine and culture, doesn’t mean that a honeymoon, or even a wedding, wouldn’t be a dream come true. It would. If you’re planning to get hitched, any deluxe hotel on Bora Bora will make it happen. Assistants can arrange the flowers, organize a reception, order a wedding cake decorated with flowers and whales and can promise enough beds to accommodate all your relatives as well as your entire high school graduating class.

If you want a smaller wedding, choose Tikehau and book the entire Pearl Beach Resort, all 19 overwater bungalows, plus the restaurant. Fly your friends over from Papeete and treat them to snorkeling, scuba diving, picnicking, a trip to Bird Island and romantic evenings watching the stars come out.

And there’s another plus. Because Tikehau is self-sufficient (the resort’s “green” technology includes a desalinization plant, solar panels and refuse disposal tanks periodically shipped to treatment plants on Tahiti) your wedding will leave no footprints. But it will surely be the year’s most memorable.

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A Sweet And Scenic Journey Back In Time To Ancient Polynesia

Crystal reservoirs, cascading waterfalls and lush greenery dotted with colorful flowers and fruits. Maroto valley, also known as Papenoo valley, is located in the crater of a volcano in Tahiti’s hard-to-access interior and was what ancient Polynesian’s called home. Today I am getting to see it — somewhat through their eyes — as a day trip.

Rocky of Marama Tours is my guide for the day, and will be driving us through the difficult-to-reach interior in a 4ࡪ. Covered in tattoos relating to his heritage, he is a friendly man who loves telling stories of his grandmother.

“My grandma always taught me how to appreciate my ancestors,” he explains. “She taught me all about how to use plants for food and medicine.”

You can tell that despite living in modern times he still thinks of this as his home, especially as he is constantly stopping the vehicle to pick up trash others have thrown onto the ground.

He shakes his head in disgust. “Ancient Polynesians once had a deep respect for the land. Now we live in an age of consumerism and people have forgotten.”

Aside for the random pieces of litter the valley looks pristine and untouched. Every 10 feet there seems to be a lookout point awarding a postcard-worthy view, not to mention the bright orange African tulips, vibrant purple wild orchid, blazing sun yellow hibiscus and fiery red ginger that enhance the scenery. Once we’ve gotten enough photos — although you can never have enough landscape pictures — Rocky takes us to his favorite restaurant, Relais de la Maroto.

“It’s my favorite restaurant in the world!” he shouts excitedly. “You can enjoy a meal while inhaling fresh air and taking in the view of the valley.”

Rocky is right. Actually, his description was an understatement. Not only are you enjoying a view, you’re immersed in it as you sit on their outer deck surrounded by lush valley.

What I particularly love about the restaurant is it serves traditional French Polynesian cuisine — something unusually difficult to find in Tahiti — as well as Tahitian wines an beers.

Traditional meal at Relais de la Maroto

In French Polynesia locals try to have five specific trees in their yard — banana, breadfruit, lime, coconut and a choice between mango or papaya (or both) — as these create the foundation for a traditional Tahitian meal. Simply add some meat and coconut milk and you’re set. Today’s lunch reflects this traditional way of thinking with an entree of chicken marinated in coconut cream served with spinach and raw tuna marinated in lime and coconut milk as well as breadfruit crisps. With each bite, I’m reminded of how delicious living off the land can be as I taste my way to traditional Polynesia. Even before Top Chef and Anthony Bourdain ancient Polynesians were successfully combining simple ingredients to create flavorful meals.

We continue our tour of traditional Polynesian culture with a tribute to Rocky’s heritage by doing one of his favorite things: foraging. The dirt road is lined with bright wild strawberries ripe for the picking — and eating. The best spot for finding natural snacks, however is at Marae Fare Hape.

In Polynesia, marae refers to ancient temples where priests were allowed to call on gods to give them strength for work and fertility. This particular marae worshiped the god of the dog, which becomes clear when you see the long wooden sticks with carved dog heads attached.

Built in the 14th century, Fare Hape used to be a place where religious practices and spiritual ceremonies took place. Actually, today Polynesians from all over the world — Hawai, New Zealand, Tongo and beyond — travel here once a year by double canoe to share cultures. Due to its location in the center of a volcanic crater, the site was also believed to hold special religious power. A visit allows you to see what remains of the temple, which is in pretty decent shape as Haururu, a society of caretakers, have dedicated themselves to maintaining and educating about the site. The best part, however, is the abundance of natural foods growing near the ancient temple — guava, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, coconuts, grapefruit and more — providing a reminder of our land’s bounty and how ancient Polynesians lived off just that (as well as a healthy snack).

While jungle landscapes are beautiful and have much to offer, they come with one pitfall: mosquitos. As soon as Rocky sees me itching he stops the 4ࡪ, grabs a knife and hops out. I see him stand on the hood and begin picking potato-shaped bumpy green fruits.

“It’s noni,” he explains as he climbs down and cuts one in half. Feverishly, he begins rubbing the two ends together, causing juice to drip from the inside. “Rub the juice on your mosquito bites. It’ll stop the itch and by tonight they will be gone.”

I do as instructed, rubbing the fruit all over my inflamed bumps. Within a few minutes, the itching has subsided.

“How did you figure that out?” I ask, amazed.

Rocky smiles. “My grandmother.”

Of course. Did I really have to ask?

As we drive home, Rocky suddenly looks in the mirror and smiles. “For me the Maroto Valley is magic. You may go in feeling stressed, but you leave feeling at peace.”

Want more on French Polynesia? Check out this AFAR Wanderlist on the stunning destination.


The art of plaiting is found in various forms such as hats, bags baskets, mats etc. The French Polynesian women from the Austral Islands are noted as experts of this discipline that uses vegetal fibers from the screw pine, the coconut or the reed or a’eho.

The taste for observing and loving nature is revived in the sumptuous tifaifai or bed covers with hand-sewn vegetal or ethnic motifs. In Polynesian culture, the enthusiasm of the women for this typical element of the decoration of fares or Polynesian homes is evidence of real creativity and has given rise to the organization of an annual show of tifaifai. Artistic expression also finds an outlet in woodwork, the prerogative of the men.

They sculpt, according to their inspiration, and according to ancestral, diagrammatic or symbolic patterns in precious wood: tou or local palisander, miro or rosewood. The Marquesans excel in this domain and produce superb pieces of work, spears, puzzles and umete which are fruit bowls in which special meals can be served.

Certain craftsmen sometimes resort to volcanic rock, corals and even bones to fashion a thousand decorations and useful items such as penu or pestles. Finally the revival of mother of pearl really shows the iridescent effects of the polished insides of shells. Their ever-changing, fascinating shades have made them choice decorative items to beautify dance costumes or make sparkling jewels.

Tahitian Tattoo Artistry

Looking to truly immerse yourself in the art of Tahitian tattooing? Explore tattoo culture in French Polynesia.


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