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Journal Entries for 2012-01 South Pacific Cruise
OVERALL SUMMARY: We boarded the MS Rotterdam, a Holland-America Line cruise ship, for a 30-day Circle Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Island cruise.

Our first three ports were in Hawaii and then we went south to the Fanning Atoll and the South Pacific. There are a lot of islands in the South Pacific. Many we had never even heard of. We had heard of the Cook Islands, of course, and that was our second island, Rarotonga. They even drove on the left side of the road.

The rest of our ports were in French Polynesia, which is a group of five smaller island groups. The Society Islands include Tahiti (Tetiaroa), Moorea, Bora Bora (Maupiti), Huahine and Raiatea. The Tuamotu Islands include Fakarewa, Manihi, Rangiroa and Tikehau. The Marquesas Islands include Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka and Ua Pou. There are also the Gambier Islands and Austral Islands.

Volcanoes created all of these islands. Some of the newer islands have the volcanic peaks and valleys. Black beaches (like in Tahiti) are from the black volcanic lava. Coral reefs develop around the volcanic peaks. When they break down, they create the beautiful white sand beaches. As the volcanic peaks slowly sink into the ocean and the coral reefs build up, the atolls (like Rangiroa) are created. It was really interesting to see the different stages, over millions and millions of years, of these islands and atolls.

We left San Diego on Wed, Jan 4th. We had four sea days (Journal #2) to get used to the ship and routines before we had four days in Hawaii. We had 1-1/2 days in Honolulu on Oahu (Journals #3-#5), one day in Lahaina on Maui (Journal #6) and one day in Hilo on the Big Island (Journal #7).

We had one more sea day before we arrived on Fanning Island (Journal #8). Then we had three sea days (including two Jan 17ths and crossed the Equator, Journal #9) before we got to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands (Journal #10).

We had one more sea day before we started hitting the islands one after the other. We went to Raiatea (Journals #11-#12), Bora Bora (Journals #13-#15), Tahiti (Journals #16-#17), Moorea (Journals #18-#19), and Rangiroa (Journal #20). We had another sea day and then stopped at Nuku Hiva (Journal #21).

Then we had six sea days (Journal #22) to recover from all our adventures before we arrived back in San Diego on Feb. 3rd.
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