My Birding Blogs

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tahiti Trip 2007 - 03 Aug to 11 Aug 2007

White Terns (Gygis alba) - Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu
The main purpose for my trip to Tahiti is to see some of the spectacular and endemic birds in French Polynesia. For a small island state with many island groups that scatter around the Pacific Ocean as vast as Europe Continent, it is not possible for a visitor to cover all the endemics in the island state. Anyway, my intention is just to concentrate on a few rare birds which until recently, were almost impossible to see. Thanks to rigorious conservation efforts and survey these years, many dangerously threatened birds' situations have been reversed.

French Polynesia is really a very beautiful island paradise with friendly people. (I do not need to further elaborate that). However, it may not be the best place to add a long list of new birds, considering the high cost and low number of native birds. It is rather more appealing to those who are fascinated by the native endemic Polynesian birds and are keen to know a bit more on how these highly threatened birds are actively managed to reverse their current deteriorating situation through combined efforts of local and international organisations as well as locals. The Ornithological Society of Polynesia - "Manu",( and the people behind it, should be commended for their proactive hard works to help save the birds of French Polynesia, which many of them are among the rarest birds species on Earth.

Putting birding aside, there are still a lot a travelling birdwatcher could gain: Making acquaintances with the local birdwatchers and conservation groups; Trying out local food (not the pricey hotel food); Understanding the local custom and culture (including Tahitian dance, of course); Picking up local language and brushing up my elementary level French; And last but not least, simply enjoying the beautiful scenery and friendly people in French Polynesia.

Overall, both my wife and I enjoyed this trip tremendously. My wife as a non birdwatcher and non nature lover was initially rather obliged to accommodate the trip to suit my itinerary. It turned out that she had found her favourites unexpectedly in an unexpected holiday destination - local food - simultaneously exotic and homely. We found inexpensive and great food at the “Wagon Restaurant” in the city centre - Chinese stir fry, French crepes, and barbecue fish. Having dinner in the setting of tropical open air crowded eating places reminded us of eating out at night in crowded city/towns in Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand.
Spectacular waterfalls in Papenoo Valley, Tahiti.

We may have missed many MUST DOs in French Polynesia such as beach going, snorkelling, scuba diving, some interesting sites like museums, etc. That is why one can never get enough and should never get enough of everything a place can offer. Leave it for some other time or for someone else to fill the story. After all the islands group is as big as the Europe Continent, if you include the journey to connect the islands from one end to the other. Putting aside the world famous Bora Bora and Moorea Islands, French Polynesia still has a lot to offer.

Inter-Continental Resort, Tahiti. (Moorea Island in the background)

Our 10-days-8-nights trip started from departing in early morning Fri 03 Aug 2007 from our home base in Sydney to returning to Australia on Sun morning, 12 Aug 2007. The direct Sydney - Papeete flight by Air Tahiti Nui took about 8 hours in going journey and 9 hours in returning journey. No visa is required for most nationalities.Following is our itinerary in chronological order.