Sunday, August 29, 2010

South Pacific Survey 2 July 1951

Woke to the sound of the waves breaking in the lagoon and sprung out to shave and shower.

A swift breakfast and then the party moved with tantalising slowness onto the transports and launch. The lagoon quite rough with short seas of 2' to 2'6" crests and the wind a strong southerly.

On board, and after the usual struggle with the old Catalina, we manouvered her to the end of the strip on channel, and into the air.

Shades of old Gibraltar for take-off, water coming green over the top, and of course inside my seat being well filled with salt.

Airborne and set course for the Island of Tahiti. Some 4 hours 30 minutes away, a lovely day, all well and in the clear blue on top of all the cloud. Soon Tahiti and the outlying islands come into view and we passed high overhead to get a good look at the place.

Circled down and Papeete is alive with people on the waterfront. Landed without incident. Just like in the main street could see their faces clearly on the shore and were escorted to the mooring buoys.

After mooring much confusion because my ship's papers were all in order and they could find no fault with them, we were allowed ashore. On stepping ashore we were met by a crowd of all sorts of people and two beautiful ? girls in Tahitian dress who put two leis around our necks.
For a pot bellied old gent like myself I must have looked ludicrous and hot. The leis were made of Frangipani petals and they were strong smelling and warm around the neck but beautifully done.

After customs and much chattering in French we finally drove out to the Hotel Tropiques or Les Tropiques and sat down to a meal.

The type explained to us that as it was late, he would only be able to serve two courses, one a little lobster and possibly some filet mignon steak.

We had a terrific meal, one full grown lobster each and the steak was terrific, and of course we had "vin ordinaire", Vin Rosaire with our course and we felt very well looked after indeed.

We were then presented with some cottages or bungalows in which to live and they look comfortable.

Rather tired and feel the need for a rest, so had a sleep.

After we had dressed we all went in to Quinn's which is really only a glorified pub and consumed a few drinks and watched the dancing and dancers. Did notice that the toilet was the same one:ie room was used by the ladies and gents. Had a meal, a Chinese one and so home to bed.

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