Pal & Hatty

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Crossing the South Pacific - Island Stops

Crossing the South Pacific - Island Stops

After leaving Sydney Harbor, we spent three days at sea as we crossed through the Tasman and Coral Seas as well as the Southwest Pacific ocean.
We then came to Vanuatu which is made of 14 islands forming a y-shaped archipelago.  We harbored in Port-Vila on the island of Efate' which is the capital of Vanuatu.
We had some pretty views of the  island as we sailed into the harbor.

Once we left the ship, we were greeted by local musicians and little shops on the pier.
We took a taxi into Port-Vila and explored some of the shops and sights there.
These beautiful flowers were in the back of a pickup and I had to take a picture of them.
We had some views of the peaceful harbor with yachts and sailboats.
 The reality TV show Survivor season 9 was filmed on one of the small islands of Vanuatu.  The photo below shows this island off in the distance.
We could see some of the sandy beaches on our sail away that afternoon.


The Republic of Fiji is another island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific.  It is made up of over 300 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited.  We made stops on two of those islands.  Our first was Laukota on the island of  Viti Levu.  Fiji has a violent history of  warfare, human sacrifice and cannibalism.  Fortunately, today Fiji is a peaceful place!
We left the ship and joined a tour to see some of the highlights of the area around Laukota. 
Our first stop was at a Hindu Temple.  A large segment of the population of Lautoka is Indian.
A cute Indian family had come with offerings for the temple and were happy to let me take their picture.  They even presented me with a Hindu treat!  The little girls were shy and would not look at the camera.

Next, we traveled through the countryside to see The Sleeping Giant mountain.
Looking at the mountain in the background, you can see the giant's reclining profile, hair, hands, body and feet.
We then stopped at the nearby Garden of the Sleeping Giant which was located in a shady mountain valley.  Founded by Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) in 1977 to house his orchids, this garden now displays Fiji's largest orchid collection.
 This jungle paradise is filled with beautiful lily ponds, flowers, trees and shrubs.
As we left the gardens, we had a quick view of what was once Raymond Burr's home on this island.

When we returned to our ship, we were greeted by this Fijian soldier/guard? as we boarded.

Dravuni Island, Fiji

We tendered in to this island, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited!
The sandy beach, palm trees, clear blue water and small mountains and hills in the background provided all the elements of an island paradise. 
Of course, we had to go into the warm water for a swim!

After our swim, we explored the island village.
This little shop was Dravuni Island's "supermarket".
                                                              We took pictures of this cute Fijian family.
More photos of paradise

There was a native group of singers and dancers providing some entertainment.

That evening back on board our ship, we were treated to these views of the sunset.

The next day at sea, we crossed the International Dateline and were able to live Saturday, April 15, 2017 twice!!

Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa

American Samoa is in unincorporated territory of the US.  It is made up of 5 main islands with Tutuila being the largest and most populous.  All of Fiji has a population of just over 55,500.
 We were greeted to this island by these beautiful views.

We left the ship and took a taxi to the nearest LDS Church.  Once there, we learned that the meetings would be in Samoan.  So we flagged down another taxi and fortunately the driver knew where another church was located.  Our second try brought us to an English speaking ward!  When the opening prayer was announced and we heard that it was to be given by Sister Neria, we were excited to meet her after the meeting!  In our Elk Ridge ward, we have a wonderful Neria family.  They have 5 beautiful daughters and the father comes from American Samoa.  We couldn't believe it when we learned that the Sister Neria that gave the opening prayer was his mother!  She was so excited to meet us.  Our Brother Neria in Elk Ridge had attended BYU Hawaii and had been one of the fire dancers at the Polynesian Cultural Center there.   His cousin was the Relief Society President in this ward on Tutuila, and she graciously gave us a ride back to our ship!  It is truly a small world especially within the church population!
In front of the church
 These photos of the church parking lot show the beautiful setting of this LDS Meetinghouse.

After we returned to our ship, we ate lunch, changed our clothes and walked into the small town to look around.

With a population that is over 98% Christian, the streets were pretty quiet on a Sunday afternoon.
 The white building in the background is a Catholic Church.

     We stopped for photos at this interesting tree.

Hilo, Hawaii

After 5 days at sea and crossing the Equator, we stopped at the deep water port in Hilo.
 We were treated to this gorgeous sunrise as we sailed into the harbor.
 After we left the ship, we took a taxi as close as we could get to the city center - which wasn't really very close at all.  It was the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, which is held in Hilo each year and involves hula competitions, crowning of a queen and a huge parade.  Thousands of people lined the streets of the parade route and our taxi, of course, couldn't get very close.  We walked the remainder of the distance into town and arrived in plenty of time to see much of the parade.
 There were floats, colorful costumes and lots and lots of hula dancers!

 After the parade, we explored some of the shops and an outdoor market before returning to our ship.
I love seeing all of the interesting and delicious looking fruit and vegetables.

Our last stop - Honolulu, Hawaii

In Honolulu, we finished our 29 day cruise and disembarked our ship.  We had several hours before our flight home would leave, and so we decided to rent a car and see some of the sights.
It had been over 30 years since we had visited  Pearl Harbor so that is where we went first. 
 We got our tickets for the shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial, and while we waited for our scheduled time, we explored the Museum and the grounds.
 Views from our shuttle boat as we made our way to the memorial.

 On board the USS Arizona Memorial

 Wreckage of the sunken ship
Seeing the museum and then going aboard this memorial was sobering.  2,403 victims were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on that infamous date: December 7, 1941 and brought the US into WWII.
After viewing the memorial, we walked back to our rental car. 
 We drove through some of Honolulu and saw views of Tripler Hospital where my dad served as a medical doctor during the Korean War.  The hospital looks just as I remember it as a child.  We lived in Honolulu for two years (1950 - 1952) when I was age 3 to 5 years old.  

We then drove northwest out of Honolulu to see the beautiful Ko Olina Beach Resort.  
This beautiful property looks like somewhere we might want to go in the future! 

 We returned our rental car and went to the airport to await our flight home and the end of our 35 day adventure.  We saw parts of the world we had only heard about and we were truly happy that we made this awesome trip!!


  1. Wow! So fun to see all the wonderful places you visited.I watched that Survivor season when they were on Vanatua. Fiji looks so beautiful and you both look so cute. Good job Hal for reppin the Y.

  2. You make us want to take this cruise. I love that you got so much done, too. We may be signing up!

  3. Wow! So fun to see all the wonderful places you visited.I watched that Survivor season when they were on Vanatua. Fiji looks so beautiful and you both look so cute. Good job Hal for reppin the Y.

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