Saturday, 24 November 2012

The South Pacific Part 1

We are back from the South Pacific. Anyone reading the sequence of blog entries here should be keenly aware that no new additions were made during our journey. Turned out that the iPad was not a good choice to bring along for doing these things. I should have packed a laptop. Even so, when would I have gotten a chance to report any more details here?

Our journey began easy enough. After preparing in Ohio we flew to Los Angeles and were joined by our daughter and son-in-law (Alexandria and Matt). We then flew overnight to Fiji loosing a day as the plane flew over the International Dateline.

Landing just before dawn in Fiji we quickly cleared customs and proceeded to the First Landings resort. The resort was a quick drive from the airport and is located where the first Fijians are reputed to have landed on the island. Situated near the ports and a beautiful marina the resort has a fine swimming pool plus lush gardens. The villas are exceptionally nice with private pools and yards. It was a great place to revitalize after a long flight from the USA.

Our next stop was the luxury cruise ship Paul Gauguin. With a passenger capacity of 330 or so and a crew numbering almost the same the ship set sail to the west and south towards New Caledonia. On board lectures (even one by me) were well attended with about half the passengers claiming to have never seen a total solar eclipse before. Other passengers reported seeing several in the past. It was the normal for an eclipse cruise - an eclectic collection of people all interested in one thing, seeing an eclipse of the Sun.

Luxury cruising is always fun for those that can do it. It is important to realize that the vessel is moving almost every night (and some days) making those prone to motion illness vulnerable. The Paul Gauguin is one of the nicest ships we have ever had the privilege to be on. The service is above the board, top level, and sincerely friendly. The crew quickly learns your name and forever have a friendly greeting. And the food is excellent. On board we were joined by other daughter Melissa and our long time friend Nancy. Everyone was excited for this once in a lifetime journey until the ship started to move.

Motion sickness coupled with long distance travel is not pleasant. Modern medicine has several solutions and it was not long before everyone was enjoying the beauty of the sea and luxury cruise travel.

On our way to the eclipse site we stopped at an island off the coast of New Caledonia that is known as the Isle de Pines. A rocky coast line with tall pine trees shooting up next to coconut trees. More on that later as I get some pictures ready to share.