Monday, May 2, 2011

Ua Huka (aboard Aranui)

Everyone was up early to watch a pretty amazing maneuver. The Aranui steamed straight into the narrow harbor entrance at Vaipaee, dropped an anchor, and proceeded to turn itself around in a space not much larger than the length of the ship!

Once we were stern to, two whaleboat crews carried lines to shore to keep us lined up in the narrow passage.

This turned out to be the highlight of the day. The shoreside activities turned out to be pretty tame (lame?) compared to the three previous stops. We were piled into about 30 vehicles for visits to a small museum, a small arboretum, and a crafts store.

Next we were ferried to a good restaurant for another excellent meal. Still surprising to me that an island with only about 500 inhabitants can muster a lunch for 130 people at one sitting!

While sitting on the beach at Hane, waiting for the ride back to the ship, we enjoyed watching a few of the more athletic locals practicing surf landings in their outrigger canoes. One of them then proceeded to follow one of the Aranui whaleboats on a roundtrip, wake-surfing the whole way. These are impressive craft, with some of the strongest paddlers I’ve ever seen.

After the Aranui pulled anchor, we steamed past a few bird-covered islets on our way to the next island.

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