Today we have a welcome day at sea. It’s warm, about 30Celcius.
Some interesting facts: Polynesia, the term meaning “many islands” refers to a sub region of Oceania, consisting of over 1,000 islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The term was first used by Charles de Brosses in 1756, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific. Geographically, Polynesia resembles a triangle with its corners at Hawaii, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Other main island groups located in this triangle are Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. Niue (an island we’ll visit in a few days) is a solitary island state near the center of Polynesia. Island groups outside of this triangle, but still considered Polynesia include Tuvalu, the French territory of Wallis and Futuna, Rotuma in the northern Fijian islands, some of the the Lau group to Fiji’s southeast, as well as small enclaves in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon’s and in Vanuatu. Polynesia is more an anthropological, rather than geographical, a term referring to a population generally belong to one ethno-cultural family as a result of centuries of maritime migrations. The cultural aspects of these societies were very important. Religious carvings, farming, fishing, weather prediction, out-rigger canoe building and navigation were highly developed skills. Even today these skills are highly valued.
The Society Islands, one of the five major island groups that make up French Polynesia, are geographically, politically and administratively divided into two groups: the Windward Islands (which include Tahiti and Moorea among three other) and the Leeward Islands, to which Bora Bora belongs. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honour of the Royal Society, sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands. However, Cook states in his personal journal that he called the islands “Society” as they lay contiguous to one another. As we’ve written before, many of the islands became French protectorate in 1843 and a colony in 1880. They have a total population of less than 250,000 and cover a land area of 1,590 kilometers. When the US entered WWII, Bora Bora became a South Pacific military supply base, with an oil depot, airstrip, seaplane base and defensive fortifications. “Operation Bobcat”, as it was known, maintained a supply force of nine ships, 20,000 tons of equipment and almost 5,000 men. Seven massive navel cannons were set up at strategic points around Bora Bora to protect it against potential military attack and are still a popular tourist attraction. Although Bora Bora saw no combat, the base was not officially closed until 1990.
Mark and Bruce our guest chefs left the ship in Bora Bora, we’re not sure if the new guest chefs are aboard or if we’ll have to wait until Auckland when George Geary and his partner Neil get on board.
We had a formal night tonight and I wore the purple dress that my sister Shirley let me borrow. I’ve received many wonderful comments and am praying that Shirley says that I can keep the dress. Fat chance, as it cost her a small fortune, but she’s extremely generous. Shirley, my sister in Belfast totally outfitted me with evening and dinner clothes for our trip when we were in Europe in December. Every one of the outfits is amazing and I’m asking Gerrit to photo the dresses and put up photos so Shirley will see me wear the dresses. Shirley, thank you so much for your generosity in giving me many wonderful outfits and the 2 outfits I will return when we get home in May. You are the greatest sister (in addition to Helen, of course) and I love you both so much.