04 Jan 2018
by Sara Jane Crane —
Last year we asked a few of our preferred travel partners to share their top travel picks for 2018. When we learned that Sharla, our contact with Paul Gauguin Cruises, had just returned from a voyage around the Cook & Society Islands, we were entranced.
Below, she shares some of her favorite memories and photos.
“As I sit here in Michigan with my daughters family I’m looking out at the 8 inches of snow and -0 temperatures dreaming of the warm South Pacific. Oh to still be there!!
In early December, I was fortunate to sail on our 11 night Cook & Society Islands voyage.
Although I’ve been to the Society Islands it was my first visit to the Cook Islands. I remember as a young girl seeing a photo of Aitutaki’s lagoon and putting it on my personal bucket list to visit someday. Little did I know what I would see would be more spectacular than any photo.
While I was there, a long canoe race took place. Teams from Tahiti, Cook, Fiji, Australia and even the USA participated. The race was called Motu 2 Motu and great fun to watch as the teams raced passed us from inside the lagoon out to the open ocean.
Rarotonga was another delightful Cook port. With its giant clams and crystal clear water, I enjoyed a day of fun snorkeling. I highly recommend the lagoon cruise and snorkeling excursion. It was a glass bottom boat assuring that no one missed seeing the giant clams. In the photo, our guide is holding one of the smaller clams after letting me try to hold it. It must have weighed over 75 lbs!! We watched the clams open and shut as they trapped their food. Fascinating!
Once we sailed back to the Society Islands, new experiences awaited me. For example in Moorea, I decided to go on the only shore excursion I have not been on. It was the Motu BBQ and snorkeling. Again it was a small boat with only 6 of us plus a local driver/guide.
Can you imagine 7 people in a lagoon full of stingrays, reef sharks, and colorful tropical fish? We worked up an appetite and were treated to a local BBQ on a private Motu. Our guide and his family cooked us breadfruit, fresh red tuna ceviche plus yummy fresh pineapple and mango.
Then on Motu Mahana, our company’s private island, I saw a brilliant purple octopus just 300 yards from the beach. I was enjoying a drink at the floating bar when the little octopus appeared from inside a nearby piece of coral.
Delights and wonders await you on any of our South Pacific itineraries. I invite you to visit us this year and share your own unforgettable experiences.”
Sharla Smith, Paul Gauguin Cruises
Contact an Acendas Travel Advisor to plan your trip to the South Pacific!by