I’ve been watching the flying fish closely. At any given moment, throughout the day, you can watch them as they try get out of the way of the wake that the ship throws. To be more specific, they graciously glide out of the water with a swoosh motion of the body and ferociously flap their adapted fins until airborne. The longest flight I have timed lasted eight seconds with a distance of more than thirty meters. Some only go as far as a meter. They might also be trying to get away from predator fish, but my ultimate conclusion about their goings about is that they are always on the move to get to some place more desirable. It begs the question in my mind about our own destinations in life. Where is it that we are going and what drives us to get there?
Moorea, French Polynesia
I rub the sleep out of my eyes and the first thing I notice when I look out of the porthole is a beautiful blue and white yacht next to the ship. The deck hands on the yacht have no shoes on while they carefully maneuver around on the immaculate wooden deck. I wonder where those sails have taken them and where it will take them next. It is a beautiful day in Tahiti. We have an overnight in Papeete and as soon as Tam finishes her shift we jump on a bus and make our way into the lush valley of Papenoo.
Vaimahuta Falls, Papenoo Valley Tahiti
Forrest in the valley
It is a beautiful drive along the coast but all I can think about is how to get to that wave. It is a wave that will tear you apart if you don’t know what you’re doing, or for that matter even if you do. It is a wave that I would love to observe… from the safety of a boat in the channel. If you watch the YouTube clip of Code Red you will understand why. Just days before our arrival they held the final of the Billabong pro at Teahupoo. Even though we are staying for the night, there is no way we will make it to the spot. Some views are better left to the imagination I suppose.
We watch the sun set over the island of Moorea in the near distance. We have seen a fair amount of amazing sunsets in the Pacific, but I can honestly say that this one allows my soul to travel to a place I never knew existed. With every second that ticks by, the clouds and the sunrays transform the sky into a kaleidoscope of magnificent colors. It is a kind of sunset that makes you sit down and watch some more when you decide to get up and leave. It makes me realize that sometimes you don’t have to travel far at all to get somewhere really far away.
Sitting in Tahiti watching the sunset over Moorea
French Polynesia, as a whole, is an extremely beautiful place. It is somewhat sad though that this beauty is also very exclusive. Apparently, second to Norway, this is the most expensive place on the planet. I can’t afford to buy a souvenir from here so when I accidentally cut my foot on a rock at the beach on Motu Isle, I don’t curse. The scar will become my memento. A shiny black pearl on a necklace might fall off, but I can always look at my scar to be reminded of a time I travelled to absolute paradise.
Everyone’s ultimate dream…only those who can afford $1200 a night’s reality
Before I go for a scuba dive, I find myself doing backflips with some local kids in the harbor of Bora Bora. It is a Thursday morning and I wonder why they are not in school. I remember days of skipping school to go surfing and I was always on the lookout for someone who might bust me. All these kids were looking out for were passing boats into the harbor. Their bright white smiles help settle my questions about the inevitable destination at the end of our lives. I stop worrying and take it all in.
Bora Bora harbor
My French Polynesian visa takes up one more precious page of the last few blank pages left in my passport. Just like the many stickers on my guitar case, the immigration stamps in my passport have become evidence of the many beautiful places I have been to. What is it that drives us to get where we want to be? Where will my shoes be walking in a year’s time? I don’t know the answers. But I think, perhaps just maybe, it is the excitement of not knowing that is the catalyst that keeps me going.
Above and below the pristine waters of French Polynesia you can find enough evidence that this is in fact, Heaven on Earth.