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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Papeete{tahiti}


Papeete is the capital of Tahiti, the largest island, nicknamed "the island of love". It is a visitor's first port of call because of the International Airport which is located here. Moorea is the sister island some seventeen kilometres north west of Papeete. Here the tranquil of Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay lap at its majestic volcanic peaks which thrust into the sky. Bora Bora is 240 kilometres north-west of Tahiti and is in the Society Islands, as is Huahine Island, which comprises two islands joined by a narrow isthmus and enclosed by a protective necklace of coral. Rangiroa with its 42 mile long turquoise lagoon in the largest atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago, and Tikehau atoll in the same archipelago is an almost circular atoll with an interior lagoon, twenty-six kilometres across and a safe pass for small boats through the coral reef. Tahiti is a multi-racial mix of Polynesians of Maohi (Maori) extraction, Europeans, Asians and mixed races. A handsome people, they are noted for their hospitality, friendliness and easy going nature. They speak French and Tahitians which are the two official languages, but English is spoken in the hotels and shops. Lush vegetation grows high above the lagoons and bays and floral scents permeate the tropical air. A myriad of tropical flowers grow throughout the Tahitian islands. The national flower is the Tiare, a heavily scented gardenia which forms the basis of the traditional lei necklaces. You can visit Point Venus where Captain Cook camped to observe the transit of the Planet Venus in 1769, visit the Faarumai waterfalls, and at Taravao on the strategic isthmus joining the two Tahitis, wander through an old fort built by the French in 1844. Don't miss the Gauguin Museum which is set in exotic botanical gardens and the fruit, vegetable and flower market in central Papeete. Tahiti, the largest of the isles in French Polynesia is a place for beginners or rusty divers who wish to brush up on their skills. Tahiti's dive sites offer an average of 30 metres visibility along with masses of coloured fish life, canyons and caves. Hand feed the moray eels or even dive the wrecks of an ocean schooner or seaplane. Dive operators here are Tahiti Plongee, Yacht Club of Tahiti Diving Centre, Tahiti Aquatique and Ta'itua.

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