We spent over two months in Tahiti and explored a lot. We came here planning a much shorter visit, but plans change on a boat! A few months later, we enjoyed our time on this big island with its happy people, experiencing the top things to do in Tahiti.
Tahiti is the largest and most populated part of French Polynesia. Islanders from all parts send their children to school here, and many remain in Tahiti to work before starting families. I read that Tahiti is home to over 68% of French Polynesia’s population. The good thing is that “big island” vibe doesn’t mean it’s unfriendly. On the contrary. We found Tahitians, and Mooreans, some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met, making it even more fun to get out and explore! Plus, they are multilingual, switching between French, Tahitian, English, and more with ease.
Get in the Water
Tahiti is surrounded by coral reefs and the clarity of the sea is perfect for spotting marine life. We joined several dives with Fluid Tahiti and saw sharks, colorful fish, and tons of turtles. Snorkel, swim, scuba, kite board, or surf. The South Pacific waters are beautiful and refreshing!
When it comes to physical activities, I am a slow learner. I need lots of practice to get adequate at most sports. On the plus side, I am game to try most anything and willing to practice. I am at least adequate at skiing and paddleboarding and more than adequate at a few other sports, but it all took work! This is a post about my most recent failure, but don’t worry. I won’t be depressing, because I agree with the genius quoted below.
Regular readers of this blog know I am used to failure. Whoops. I did it again. Here’s my story about how trying to be a freediver was my most recent failure.
I love to scuba dive. I love the water. In fact, I used to be a pretty good swimmer but it’s so much easier with fins and a snorkel that I don’t swim without them much anymore. When I was in Utila I first noted the availability of freediving classes for the public. And that sport is growing, at least from what we’ve seen in the Caribbean. In Bonaire, you can take freediving classes from one of the world champions, and he is the real deal. In September, Brian and I signed up for the class.
The Freediving Course
We took the AIDA2 freediving course and it is amazing!
I loved the breathing exercises and worked my way from a static breath-hold of 1:20 to over 2 minutes. Once we got moving in the water, it was even more rewarding. Using the long fins made me feel so powerful and aided my 40 meter dynamic swim in the shallows! The technique wasn’t easy or natural for me, but I picked it up after a few tries and thought I was golden.
Scuba is a main driver of Bonaire’s tourism for a good reason. The reef is everywhere, the fish are plentiful, and access is easy. During our three months in Bonaire, we dove a few times a week for pleasure, and about once a week for reef renewal. After a lot of trips to some great dive destinations, I can see why Bonaire is a diver’s paradise.
Since we’ll be in Bonaire for a while, we want to give back while we are here. I researched volunteer opportunities and found a way to help revitalize the reefs. I especially liked that it combined scuba diving and volunteering! We enrolled in a course and are now volunteering in coral reef renewal in Bonaire.
why coral reef renewal
Around the world, the reefs are in peril due to a multitude of causes like pollution, bleaching, hurricanes and diseases. Coral reefs are very important not only to the 4,000 species of fish who live there, but to humans by providing multiple medicines, and, for tourism. In Bonaire the reefs are the main source of tourism, with the protected marine preserve a lure for divers around the globe.
The good news is marine biologists have developed a way to regenerate the reefs. It requires constant maintenance and volunteers to help with it. We learned all about it last week in our course on coral reef renewal. The 2 day course included classroom lectures, videos and 3 dives.
In the class, we learned about building and caring for coral nurseries. Bonaire has several of these nurseries and now that we’ve passed the course, Brian and I can help maintain and nurture the reef nurseries.
It’s been one week of freedom for us and we are savoring every moment. Here’s how we’ve kept busy and entertained in our first week in Bonaire.
Checking in to a new county is more complicated during Covid-19. Instead of just heading right to the customs and immigrations offices, Bonaire has a few more steps we had to complete, after 2 weeks quarantine, of course. On our last day of quarantine, we had to call the health department, tell them we finished quarantine and don’t have any symptoms, and within 24 hours they provided a letter of health for us to bring to customs and immigration.
We walked from the marina to the government offices on Thursday morning. While it was hot outside, we didn’t mind at all because we were off the boat! It was our first walk in 2 and a half weeks so it was the most exciting experience for us! Kralendjik is a charming town, with colorfully painted buildings and vibrant street art, so we enjoyed the hot walk to customs.