Close to the end in Raiatea

November 8, 2022

Lexi Valachovic, C-Watch, Cornell University

Kelly, Stella, Orly, and Lexi (left to right) on the out rigger style boat on the tour of Raiatea
08 Nov Pic 1 Resized

Kelly, Stella, Orly, and Lexi (left to right) on the out rigger style boat on the tour of Raiatea

Ship's Log

Ship Heading & Speed
Anchored

Taffrail Log
4540 Nautical Miles

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Wind: SSE @ Force 4, Sea: SxE @ 2 feet, motor sailed all day with the sun shining brightly!

Description of location
Anchored today in 84 feet of water in Bai De Pova, Bora Bora!

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-305

I can’t believe this journey is almost over; I am writing this with only 5 days left together on this boat. As sad as I am that I will soon have to leave this 134-foot boat that I now call home, we have made the most of our last few days.

Beautiful landscape including the out rigger boat that we took around Raiatea on a tour 

Beautiful landscape including the out rigger boat that we took around Raiatea on a tour

The past 4 days we spent at dock in Raiatea. This was a huge change from the bustling city of Papeete. Morgan, Stella, Ali and I started exploring the town. Of course, we started walking through the grocery store (my favorite place to go at any new place I visit). Then, we just walked through the town in awe of the beauty and how nice the locals are, always greeting us with a joyful “ia ora na”.

We found so many fruit trees, coconut, mango, breadfruit, etc., and so many flowers (always tucking one behind our ear!) Then we made our way to the water. You would think we would be sick of it because we just spent a month straight without land in sight, but it never gets old. It was crazy to see the different colors throughout the ocean – the blue water in the distance, brown water by the shore, and green moving throughout the two. It was such a nice day of just walking and stretching our legs, something we hadn’t had the chance to do in a while.

Then on our last day we went on a tour all day. We had an amazing tour guide, Tihoti, who brought us around Raiatea and Tahaˋa on an out-rigger style boat. Our first stop was at a vanilla farm where we learned that they hand pollinate each vanilla flower. Then we saw the process of drying the beans and we got to smell some fresh vanilla extract. Tip: Make vanilla extract by combining vanilla beans with rum and let it sit for 9 months!

After trying some vanilla honey and looking at everything you can make with the vanilla bean, we made our way to a pearl farm. It was a family business where the Tahitian pearl is “grown”. They collect oysters and graft the shells with a good color. Then they take white pearls made from the oyster shell and shipped from Mississippi, and they add a pearl and shell graft into the oyster gonad. It then lives in the water for 18 months and uses the DNA from the graft to color the pearl! We then took a ride down a freshwater river and stopped at a beautiful motu. This motu was filled with hundreds of coconut trees, scattered with the fallen coconuts, and surrounded with crystal clear water. We even saw a spotted eagle ray in the water!

Although I’m sad to be coming to the end of this semester, I am so grateful that I got to be on this journey. I have learned more than I could ever imagine and met some of the nicest and most genuine people.

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I love you so much and can’t wait to see you! I already have so many things I want to show you at all these places! Can’t wait to be able to explore together and tell you about everything I have done! Love you tons! <3

Lexi Valachovic, C-Watch, Cornell University

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2 Comments

  1. Nick Grant November 10, 2022 at 07:56 - Reply

    Wow, Raiatea sounds a bit different from Ithaca, NY. Pearl farms, motus (whatever they are), and vanilla beans?
    Gee whiz.

  2. Alyssa Valachovic November 10, 2022 at 21:38 - Reply

    I am so happy to hear you have had a great time and wish you got more time on the boat to explore! However, I am even happier to see you in a few weeks. What does breadfruit taste like?Keep some of the flowers so we can press them! I hope you have been journaling and taking lots of pictures. CYA soon bud 🙂

    your fav,
    alyssa

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