Bora Bora drone aboard the Aranui 5.

Do I have your attention? Bora Bora? Drone? Aranui? Good. Listen up.

The Aranui, half cargo ship half luxury liner, is one of the wildest cruises I’ve been on, visiting some of the most extraordinary places in Polynesia, like Bora Bora and the remote Marquesas.

It’s a fantastic vessel, with 5 star accommodations, an incredible kitchen, lively lounges and divine communal spaces, but really it is the hosts that make the experience heavenly. The attention to detail, the high level of service while still being familiar and friendly, and simply the way they help you slip into island life is nothing short than other-worldly. I hope you enjoy this little drone peek at one of my most favorite ships in the sea, and if you are interested in cruising French Polynesia, seeing Bora Bora or the amazing Marquesas, check out one of my other videos aboard the Aranui, or hop over to Get Lost Magazine to read all about the adventure! #aranui #borabora #boraboradrone

Ua Pou: The world’s only Tahitian Chocolate.

Ua Pou in the Marquesas islands of Polynesia is a fascinating place. Home of traditional Hula Kahiko, the most amazing abundance of tropical fruits, and the world’s only chocolate grown in Polynesia, this emerald island is not to be missed.

The small town sits above a green bay with white sandy beaches where you can kayak or take the sun. In the town center is a community garden, where locals will bring their arts and crafts, and lots of fruit for you to try, which is amazing. Don’t miss out on visiting the little general store to pick up some amazing local honeys and wares.

One of the most unique elements of the island is a man named Manfred Drexler (badass) who was born in East Germany and escaped to Tahiti 35 years ago. A chocolatier by trade, he pioneered the planting of cocoa on the island, and now produces the only chocolate in all of Polynesia. In a region of the world where vanilla is king, Manfred looked the other way, and brought the good dark brown stuff to this island paradise. It’s a unique chocolate, silky smooth, with rich umami and toasted flavors, and definitely a unique gift to bring home.

Of course a trip to Ua Pou would not be complete without experiencing traditional Hula Kahiko dance performed on a sacred heiau, which is beautiful, haunting, and exciting to watch. The men are ferocious, and the women graceful, and together they bring the spirit of Polynesia to life. Thanks Aranui for bringing us to paradise.

 

JOIN THE CLAST!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/travelclast

Instagram: @TravelClast

Twitter: @ClastTravel

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TravelClast

Blog: http://www.cineclast.com

Ua Huka: The woodcarving center of the Marquesas.

Ua Huka in the Marquesas islands, is a remote paradise with lush green valleys, high peaks for carving, and amazing museums and wood carving centers throughout the island. The first Western navigator to sight the island was U.S. Navy Capt. Joseph Ingraham in 1791. He named the island “Washington Island” in honor of U.S. President George Washington, which blows my mind, considering that not many foreigners have visited the island since.

From Lonely Planet: This low-key, little-visited island feels entirely clean of the troubles of the world; the trees are heavy with fruit, wind whips over the mostly bare hills, surf swishes against the rocky cliffs – and good luck getting a signal on your cell phone outside of Vaipaee. Woodcarving is the main activity here and this is the land of masters. There are only three villages, and after a day or two the small communities here seem to absorb you like a giant, friendly sponge. Watch the artisans at work; zigzag up the flanks of an extinct volcano to reach mysterious archaeological sites in the jungle; look for one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful birds; and delve right into Marquesan life.

 

 

 

JOIN THE CLAST!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/travelclast

Instagram: @TravelClast

Twitter: @ClastTravel

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TravelClast

Blog: http://www.cineclast.com

Nuku Hiva – Pig roasts, mythical cultures, and rich history in the Marquesas.

Nuku Hiva has always been the most magical and mythical of the Polynesian Marquesas islands, attracting Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson to its idyllic shores over a hundred years ago. Today you can still find much of the magic tucked away in its dramatic coastline, or through its misty plateau called To’ovi’i, which is covered in a pine forest, giving it much the appearance of the lower Alps in Germany rather than a paradise island of the Pacific.

Nuku Hiva’s history is rich, dating back at least 2000 years when the first people came to colonize the island. It has been a magnet for many cultures including Tahiti, Hawaii’i, the Cook Island and even New Zealand, and this melting pot has created a robust living and truly unique culture on Nuku Hiva. Dancing, woodworking, and a fantastic cuisine are all the product of having these many people bring their cultures to this largest island of the Marquesas.

One of the more controversial historic points is that Cannibalism was practiced on the island by the first inhabitants, more out of necessity then for ritual purposes. Since there is no written history but just accounts and verbal history to take in account, many have chosen not to include it in modern studies of the island and its inhabitants. True or not, the current locals of the islands are perhaps some of the most lovely and welcoming in the world, and obviously do not practice cannibalism in any form today. Rather, they have amazing feasts!

Pig roasts, or Umu, are a ceremony in Nuku Hiva, and no one does it better then Yvonnes in Nuku Hiva. Whole beasts are put in a wire cage, with breadfruit, taro and other veritable delights, covered with banana leaves, and placed under hot coals. There they are slow roasted for hours, before being unearthed, prepared, and served. Pisson cru (raw tuna with coconut milk), various raw fish, crabs, shrimp, taro, manioc, breadfruit, umara (sweet potato), several types of bananas, and tons of sauces and mashed stuff. It’s a total taste bud overload. And then there is fafaru, which you should just read about here because it’s a bit hard to describe.

The darling down of Taioha’e is to be relished, with it’s colonial and indigenous mix of architecture and culture blending together in an island setting. There you will find the Notre Dame Cathedral, a strong reminder of the far reaching Catholic influence even here in the middle of the Pacific ocean. This beautiful structure is covered in some of the most lovely wood carvings you have ever seen, with cartoonish poses in religious settings. Regardless of your belief or feelings about religion, it is worth a visit just for the craftsmanship.

Before Catholicism was injected into the culture, Nuku Hiva’s original inhabitants had a very strong and complex religious and cultural beliefs. Indigenous religion was strongly dualistic, postulating a living world of light ( ao ) and a world of ghosts, deities, darkness, and night (po). The presence of deities ( etua ) in this world was believed to be vital for making work efficacious and for securing life and prosperity. There was an extensive hierarchy of deities, ranging from the founding originators of the cosmos to their particular expressions in the gods of occupations and places, and there also were apotheosized shamans and chiefs, often linked with local temples ( me’ae). The aggrieved ghosts of major shamans were often propitiated to relieve famine, and many lesser figures were associated with illness and other misfortunes. Since the late nineteenth century, more than 90 percent of Marquesans have become Catholics, most of the remainder being Protestants descended from Hawaiian mission teachers. Modern Marquesan religion has not been adequately investigated, but syncretic elements appear to persist, including belief in a range of evil spirits, such as ghosts of women who have died in childbirth. Archeological sites are all over the island, and it is common to be able to find and explore Marae, which are Polynesian temples. Nuku Hiva has some of the most preserved temples in Polynesia, some next to ancient sacred trees that really impress upon you the power of this place.

Overall no trip to the Marquesas is really complete without visiting Nuku Hiva, which has intrigued visitors from around the world for centuries. Herman Melville wrote Typee there in 1846 and  Robert Louis Stevenson‘s first landfall on his voyage on the Casco was at Hatihe’u, on the north side of the island, in 1888. Since then many an intrepid traveller has ventured across the Pacific to witness the gentle marvel that is Nuku Hiva, and I was just so happy that the Aranui was able to bring me there in comfort and style to enjoy it’s boundless beauty, and fascinating culture.

 

JOIN THE CLAST!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/travelclast

Instagram: @TravelClast

Twitter: @ClastTravel

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TravelClast

Blog: http://www.cineclast.com

Hiva Oa: Paul Gauguin & Jacques Brel knew what was good.

The Marquesas island of Hiva Oa, home of French painter Paul Gauguin and Belgian singer Jacques Brel, greeted us with a misty, rainbow and lively music from beautifully tattooed locals, that welcomed us to explore this island paradise.

We boarded rickety wooden busses driven by guitar wielding drivers who carted us up the mountain to the Calvary Cemetery, to visit the graves of the two most famous residents here, Gauguin and Brel, where devoted fans from every corner of the world paid their respects with messages of love and respect etched on stones.

Next we dove into the world of Gauguin visiting his museum where an impressive collection of his work, and work of local artist in the style of Gauguin is presented, along with his workshop home, the Maison du Jouir, which walking though gives you an amazing understanding of this genius artists life.

Finally, walking back to the ship I stopped off at a darling little restaurant Chez Georges et Tahu, where we had an absolutely fabulous meal along the seaside. Highly recommended. Before we knew it we were back on our floating palace the Aranui 5 and Hiva Oa said goodbye with yet another beautiful rainbow. Hope to see you again soon, beautiful island in the Polynesian sea.

 

Bora Bora: Paradise on earth.

Bora Bora might be the most perfect island on the planet, with crystal clear blue lagoons, amazing scuba and snorkeling, and some of the most amazing beaches in the world.

I was fortunate enough to explore this island paradise with Aranui cruises this year, and got to experience first hand what island life is like. Music, cookouts, swimming, and a lot of petanque is pretty much guaranteed on the menu.

Scuba diving here is also a delicious treat, where you can easily swim with giant rays or black tip reef sharks, and of course the entire painter’s palette of colorful tropical fish.

Stay tuned for this ten part series as I travel through Tahiti and the Marquesas islands aboard the very cool Aranui 5.


JOIN THE CLAST!
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/travelclast
Instagram: @TravelClast
Twitter: @ClastTravel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TravelClast
Blog: http://www.cineclast.com