My Birding Blogs

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tahiti Trip 2007 - Day 4 - Sun 05 Aug 2007 Papeete - Rangiroa

Checked out from Radisson Hotel at 9am and hopped into our pre-booked taxi to Faaa Domestic Airport - both International and domestic airport are sharing the same building. Note that there is only 20kg baggage limit for domestic flight if you are connecting from international flight within 7 days, scuba diver could have even more allowance. Otherwise the baggage limit is so miserable at 10kg for domestic travel. Knowing the limitation, we had left some large luggage at the hotel. Since we arrived early at the airport (luckily no traffic congestion in the city), we had decided to booked our rented car in advance at the Europcar Airport counter for our trip back in Tahiti three days later.

Arial view of Lagon Bleu - Blue Lagoon, "Lagoon within Lagoon", Rangiroa Atoll

The domestic flight took off on time. The lady officer at the departure hall checkpoint was curious of us and probably had never seen our Malaysian passports. She tried to read my name 'Lelaki' which actually means male gender in Malay. There was no allocated seating for the small domestic aircraft. My wife and I had to sit separately on the aisle seats and that made us miss the golden opportunity of taking photos from the air the islands of Moorea and Tetiaroa (Famous for late Hollywood star Marlon Brando). However I still managed to take some decent photo of Tetiaroa as well as Blue Lagoon of Rangiroa. It was an easy one hour flight in clear and sunny day. Norbert, our bungalow owner had already waited for us at the small airport of Rangiroa. With him was his very cute five year old son Brian. After putting down our luggage at the bungalow, Norbert drove us to the Pizzeria nearby. Our first day was free and easy.

View from our bungalow - Traditional Polynesian Hut

Rangiroa is the 2nd largest lagoon atoll in the world. It consists of 200+ flat motu (islets) which make up the chain of the atoll. The turquoise blue lagoon is so beautiful that you have to see it to believe it. Norbert also drove us to the nearby 'main' town of Avatoru and then to the other end of Tiputa village overlooking Tiputa Pass which is famous for drift scuba diving. We did not have any luck with dolphin while waiting briefly at Tiputa pass. We later took Norbert's bikes to wander about the nearby Avatoru main village.

Motu Fara, an islet at Avatoru Pass. Rangiroa

Dinner prepared by our host, Norbert and Tildi was brilliant (Tuna in Vanilla Cream, a specialty from French Polynesia as well as 'poisson cru' the raw fish in coconut milk, rice and dessert). That gave us a good experience of living with the Polynesian family. We had the privilege to be the first English speaking guest Norbert had ever received. French love the traditional 'Pension' and Norbert's guests have been almost exclusively visitors from France. 2 different families we met at the other Norbert's bungalow on separate nights coincidently come from Toulouse of France.

Our host's sons playing canoes during their school holiday. Photo taken from our bungalow's veranda. Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu


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