My sister asked “what in the world is a hybrid freighter cruiser?” Our ship is the Aranui 5 and it takes 200+ passengers and quite a bit of freight to the remote Marquesas Islands. Besides travellers it delivers everything from vehicles such as cars and 4×4’s to building products, to washing machines and smaller items like frozen pizzas and Sao biscuits.
The Aranui 5 is 126 metres long, with a cruising speed of 15 knots. The cabins are located between midships and the stern with all the freight located in the bow of the ships.
Each day we have a briefing about the next days activities which is comprised of lectures about the history of the area and the islands, what to do on Fakarava, diving, swimming (as it turns out you will be swimming with sharks), bike rides and churches. We also discuss seating at meal times and where to find happy hour and Tahitian dancing lessons.
Fakarava is the second largest island of the Tuamotu Islands, one of the 76 low islands or motus in this archipelago. These motus have the sandy beaches and swaying palm trees that inhabit our dreams. We arrive on Sunday, so most of what you hear is song, coming from our welcome and the churches we pass by as we explore the island.
See their hats and crowns of flowers, we asked how long it would take to make a crown of woven flowers, the smiling answer was less than 30 minutes.
We walked around the island, many people were in church and finally we found a spot with wifi and a view. We had thought about swimming but when I walked over to the water, I could see a small black tipped reef shark cruising the edge of the bay. You also should be wary of falling coconuts and stonefish, but at least we hadn’t been threatened with the dreadful nono’s.
It is finally time to go back to the ship and in the quiet water it is easy to get on and off the ship. We are looking forward to our time on the Marquesas, as we are often the only tourists on the island.
Onboard Aranui, we prepare for our first long sail out to the Marquesas Island. We go up to the deck on level 9 and watch the motus fade from sight.
Tip: Don’t forget when packing: Sunscreen, insect repellent, Kwells or your favourite Mal de Mer remedy, water shoes and several bathing suits.