Tahiti ~ Real World Lessons

View from our bungalow to land in Tahiti, Mo'orea

Updated 09.20.2020

Why Tahiti?

(Click on pics to enlarge)

Tahiti was a work reward, believe it or not.  Thanks so very much Lance Campers, omg!  Best work reward ever!!  As far as what this means for us and Sea Odyssey, everything is a learning experience at this point, so Tahiti, again, best work reward ever, was no different.  With this trip, we were able to get a little sneak peak into what life is like in remote places.

Single Palm withTiki in Tahiti
There’s a little tiki in there

We went to two islands, Tahiti and Mo’orea.  Because of the tourism industry, everyone thinks Tahiti is the place to go.  After visiting both, Matt and I really think Tahiti is essentially the gateway drug to the other, aka paradise.  You only understand this when you visit a different island from Tahiti.

While we didn’t visit all of the French Polynesian Islands, we do know the Tahitian people are wonderful and beautiful people no matter which island, but the Mo’oreans were even more so.

The experience in Mo’orea was more pure and deeper, one you wanted more of.  You no longer wanted only half of an island experience, you wanted the good shit, the stuff you keep for yourself.  All my drug users in da house know what I’m talking about, whoop whoop!  Come on, I’m kidding.  Drugs are a terrible epidemic… moving on…


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Hotel Love


Hotel in Tahiti
We’ve never seen anything so amazing!  Other pool to snorkel with fish…
Our view from the hotel room in Tahiti
The view from out the hotel in Tahiti. Mo’orea across the way
Jungle Love


Waterfall in Tahiti
Who doesn’t love a waterfall… in Tahiti
Red Flowers of Tahiti
Red everywhere! Except that fern furl. That was bigger than my hand! Every one of these was bigger than my hand!!
Tiki Love


Two Tikis in Tahiti
So cool, what else is there to say…
Emily and Matt loving a Tiki
Awww!! Love this!
Market Love


Fresh Market in Tahiti
Fresh fruits and veggies and Tahitian goods… and beer

Sacred Love


Sacred Lands in Tahiti
Sacred land and stone pyramid monument
Sacred Lands Monument Tahiti
I think this was rebuilt as a smaller version after the collapse of the first.


You can’t even imagine the beauty.  Crazy to think the experience could be any better really.  The people were so sincerely friendly and welcoming.  It was remarkable to have the hospitality and kindness, island wide, that we normally would have to pay for here in the states.   I could just go on and on about how this trip exceeded anything else we’ve ever done and how amazing and fun our group was and just everything great, cause is was 100% the best ever.

We were, however, inspired to look at this experience not only as a wonder-full, amazing vacation in paradise but also as a real life scenario.  We are about to live a life of traveling full-time.  What can we learn here to help prepare ourselves.  What’s the takeaway.  And, well, we got that glimpse.

Our Tahitian inspiration

Although some places have a touristy reputation of simple island life, you can’t be naive.

Two very strange things happened:

1)  There was a purse snatching right around the corner from the market where we were shopping and then another one the same day, we heard.  We thought that was a lot considering we were there just the one day in town.

2)  While taking the bus back to the ferry when we were leaving the island at night, the streets were completely bare, like a scene from an apocalyptic movie.  There was not a single car or person moving within the streets and there were bars on some of the windows.  What??!!

Fact:  Reality check, you are not special

I want to add something here.  Matt and I are well traveled.  It’s not like we don’t have street smarts.  However, to be truthful, we did initially let our guard down.  We felt a lot safer than we should have  simply because we were in “paradise”.  I believe the tourist industry is partly to blame, but I digress.

The bottom line is, you just can’t walk around like you are in your own safe bubble anywhere.  Even though you are so excited and grateful to be there, fully embracing a new experience, you are not magically protected as a visitor.  Yes you are walking in designated areas, pointing, smiling, taking pictures, having a big time, but also remember this is actually someone’s backyard, ya dig?  It’s not a freaking zoo.  A sad lesson to learn, but it is what it is.

Mo’orea, paradise maintained?

Boats Anchored off of Moorea
This will be us out there on the hook one day…

That being said, Mo’orea boasts zero crime.  Zero.  I believe that.  It seems the people who truly want the simple life remain there.  They aren’t looking at the gadgets and gizmos the tourists have as desirable or their neighbor’s whatever.  They don’t want what others have; therefore, there’s is no drive for crime.

How we vacation from our life to their home must be a strange concept to them, or is it?  Idk.  I wonder after overhearing conversation after conversation of visitors speaking of their island as heaven on earth plays a part in their desire not to leave?  Idk.

Interesting how our worlds are so polar opposite.  Makes me wonder.  I settle on thinking it is two sides of the same coin.  Which do you choose?  Heads or tails.  They both are equal in value according to the spender.  You just choose which side for yourself.

Tahiti is more urbanized.  Not like our urbanization but something like.  Lots of people surrounded by the opportunity of education, employment, goods and services.  I wonder if they ever go back…



It was all about the bungalow

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First Impression


Walking up to our bungalow the first time
Walking up that first time…



Inside our bungalow
Bathroom in our Bungalow
The bathroom had a straight open view to the next room. No wall!!
Blue night


Blue night on the bungalows
What a difference a few minutes can make… watch
Bluer night


Bluer on the bungalows
Could it get any better???

Bluest night


Bluest night on the bungalows
The bluest we have ever seen… wow
Black night


Black night on bungalows
Walking back at night. Lit perfectly.


Fact:  Food will be an issue, but the beer won’t

Food will be a big, big issue.  This is going to be true in any remote place, not just Tahiti.  From not knowing what foods are or how to eat them to not speaking the language, food will be an issue.  Refrigeration or having things out too long could be an issue.  Keeping food after expiration could be an issue.  Sanitization may not be the same as US standards and could be an issue.   The plates, glasses, and utensils could be an issue.  There were tons of flies, issue.  Uncooked foods, possibly unhealthy animals and/or animal conditions could be an issue.   Then there are things we can only fret about… raw fish and chicken preparation areas??? Issue.  Pathogens unfamiliar to our system, but are fine with the natives, like the water, probably an issue.

Idk, I feel like we should eat 3-day old road kill and a tablespoon of stagnant lake water with petrified bug eggs everyday to get our immune systems up to par.  Omg, I’m so scared.  Do we need shots???

Check out this documentary called Chasing Bubbles, exciting guy, living large.  An action packed story, I truly think anyone would love it, sailors or not.  Let us know what you thought.

Tahiti Beer
Beer was not an issue, simply say “I’ll have a beer, please.”

Then the shear choices of food.  While Matt embraced the food of the islands, I was left wondering what the frick am I going to do.  Here’s the thing.  All the food in Tahiti was wonderful… kinda.  I tried everything and for the most part liked it all, but there was nothing I wanted to really dig into.  Nothing was comfortable.  Everything was a challenge, an experience, a hesitation.  As I chewed I wondered, “Do I like this?”  My answer was always… kinda with a smushed up face.

The whole thing made me nervous, not just real time nervous, also what the hell am I going to do nervous.

This was eye opening.  I figured there would always be something… something.  Well, sometimes there just wasn’t I’m here to tell you.  We stayed at a resort and their sweet attempts of American style foods, such as pizza, leafy salads, or roasted potatoes were way off and left us both unsatisfied.

The pizza was made with tomato paste, the salads were made with huge piles of vegetables that led to the bottom of the salad bowl with the lettuce in the middle, even the roasted potatoes were strange.  At least I knew roundabout what everything was though, a blessing I was thankful for.  Their main seasoning is lime and coconut milk, whereas mine is onion and garlic.

Is all this a complaint?  Sounds like it.  It isn’t tho.  It is reality.  A reality I need to get a handle on.  Matt was fine of course (where is an emoji when I want one).

Fact:  Spearfishing

Good idea.  We were on this idea of spear fishing already before we left.  We were talking to someone somewhere who enlightened us on how spearfish fishing is a better way of going about things because you can choose what you want instead of pulling in what you don’t want or can’t eat.  Great thinking.  Plus, we won’t be needlessly stressing ourselves or the fish out.  We’ll lose less lures and have less waste.  Not that we won’t line fish but maybe that isn’t our main way.  So spearfishing has intrigued us for a while.

Local Moorean boats

On this trip, our new buddy, Eddie, a spear fisher, added two great tips:

One, if a predatory fish looking at you, feed them something and let them be on their way.  Don’t even mess with it.  There are plenty of fish in the sea.

Two, there are shotgun tips for spear guns for those bigger fish, grouper and such.  Hmmm.  Interesting when you also think about protecting yourself from intruders.  We have to look into the restrictions, etc., more, but sounds like a great idea.  If anyone reading has some input on this, please leave a comment.  Anyway, good stuff, Eddie!  High five!!

The things you learn just in conversation is incredible.

Fact:  The ocean is scary

We did a jet ski tour, Tahiti style, where we swam with reef sharks and stingrays, no cages.  The sharks were a bit much in packs of 8 or so, but they were accustomed to being fed in this area where the people played and watched and they just circled about.  Super cool right?  It was.  We were able to touch the stingrays and everything.  Their skin is like something I could never describe except to say fascinating.  The outing was all well and good, but def crazy.


Sharks and x-rays


So one day, we were snorkeling someplace else.  Matt had swam off a bit, not cool, and a big reef shark swam by me.  Shit you not, right by me.  I definitely was like ‘fuck’.  Am I going to die in Tahiti?  No lies.  So…. I’m seriously looking around for Matt, right?  Well, my mask started to fog up and got water in it.  Emoji, emoji.  I realized I was going to have to surface to clear my mask, like right when the shark was about.  Emoji, emoji, emoji.  What else could I do, breathing in water… I surfaced.

So there I was, newbie snorkeler, trying to stay afloat, trying to take off those shit goggles, ripping all my hair out, trying to get the water out of that tube thing, the water was burning my eyes, then trying to get the damn thing back on while wiping my eyes free of salt with those little wave tufts tufting in my face, still pulling my hair out cause it is so ridiculously tight… and a freaking shark.  Dude.  SMH, IDEK.

Everything was fine obviously and any experienced person is probably laughing at this, but damn, I’m new!  You aren’t really looking behind you or side to side really when snorkeling.  What if sharks are scoping you out, creating their little shark attack pattern unbeknownst to you.  Then all the sudden you have to surface and while you are all preoccupied with your mask, boom, gotcha!

We’ve all seen the air shots of shark shadows watching the people at the beach, right?  Those people had no idea sharks were even there, watching them.  Not cool.  Add this to the things I need to work on, emoji, being comfortable in the water.

Fun fact:  At least I have mostly moved on from insisting on a safety net/critter barrier around the boat.  Dude, that was going to happen.  That is not a joke.

An aside:  Anchoring in paradise will be the best ever.  No ifs, ands, or buts.


Dusk in Moorea


Fact:  Suntan lotion is a no-go

Suntan lotion is going to be a problem.  There is information out now that all the UV protectant in suntan lotions have been adhering to the corals and not letting the sun penetrate to keep them alive. We really need to find an alternative, so we don’t kill the coral.

Matt could probably get away with a little here and there, but truthfully, we both lubed up every time we were going to be exposed.  Then we hopped in the ocean like minutes later.  We are definitely going to have to find a natural solution.  We can’t keep polluting the water and ourselves.  It is a lose-lose.  Comments are helpful, if you have any.


Fact:  It ain’t going to be easy

Single Palm on Beach at sunset in Moorea
It ain’t going to be easy… but it will be worth it

It is times like these, when I am faced with all the ‘issues’ at once that I wonder if I should even go.  When do I admit there are too many obstacles to overcome.  That maybe I don’t even belong on the ocean.  That’s when I pick my chin up and move forward.

The truth is, yeah, I am scared.  I don’t know what is going to happen.  Yeah, I’m going to have to change dramatically and learn a new way of living.  Also the truth, I have courage.  Really that is all you need.

As much as this trip is going to amazing, it is also going to be very different and difficult at times.  I am going to have to accept, adapt, change, and grow.  That is life.  I’d rather be making my own days and survive by my own grit than live a rehearsed life.  That is my decision.

There is a movie, We Bought a Zoo, omg, not a fan, but a line did stick out to me – “sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage.”

Those 20 seconds will be the day I walk on the boat… and maybe a couple more in between… and after 😉  You have to have courage for anything great to happen.

Until then, I’ll what-if.

Fact:  Things are bat-shit crazy expensive

Things are crazy expensive.  Granted, Tahiti is hella far away but wow.  We will have to provision the boat the best we can for the time we will be in these type areas.  Things were 3-4 times as much, and that’s if they even existed.  Anything they made there though was reasonable.  But alcohol.  Forget about it.  Seriously.  Provision for it before you get there.

Fact:  Something cool

We witnessed green right return instead of red right return.  Fun.  It is like driving in a foreign country where you have to drive on the other side of the road.  Same thing but for boats.  Interesting to see.

And that’s what we learned.  Real world lessons, the sailing version.


Love these pics?  Want to see more of Tahiti? 

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  1. Kirk Thomson says:

    Wow you really captured the excursion to French Polynesia so well! It certainly was a once in a lifetime event for us. I am so excited to know that this will be a daily occurence for your and Matt. Kate and I have been watching SV Delos and thinking how wonderful it will be for you.

    1. Emily says:

      That is really sweet for you to wish us such great fortune!! Thank you so much Kirk!! Delos are so legit tho. If we have half the experience they are having, we would feel so blessed. All the best to you and Ms. Kate. (kiss emoji)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I Hope you both had a great time… looks like you did!!

    Capt James

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks James! <3

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