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Aranui 3 - Freighter to Paradise: Day 1 | Travels With Carly

Aranui 3 – Freighter to Paradise: Day 1

Let me start this post by saying that you will get sick of hearing how much I loved the Aranui 3 – the freighter to paradise. I loved the ship, I loved the Marquesas and I especially loved the crew. I loved every single moment on board, so get ready for a love-fest. Can I say love one more time?

I spent my first day aboard the Aranui getting to know the ship and my fellow dorm-mates, Angela and Erke. Angela and Erke have been friends for longer than I’ve been alive, and they are traveling together for two months in the South Pacific. They’d already been to Easter Island before coming to Papeete. They are German and speak perfect English. Since both my last names are German, they adopted me which was fantastic since they didn’t mind speaking English with me. During the cruise I thought of them as my German mothers.

The dorm on the Aranui is the least expensive option for passengers. The Aranui offers suites, deluxe rooms and normal rooms, but I wanted the adventure (and the cost savings) of the dorm. The dorm is divided into two rooms, sleeping 8 people each. We were very lucky that on this voyage the ship had fewer than 100 passengers, so Angela, Erke and I had one of the dorm rooms to ourselves. Plenty of space to move around.

The passengers were a mixture of people from all over the world, but generally they fell into 3 categories: French speaking, German speaking and English speaking. All of the communication was in all three languages. The French generally kept to themselves, so I hung out with Germans, Swiss, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, Americans, one Serbian, one Scot and one Brazilian.

Before lunch the Aranui treated us to a dance send off from a very talented Tahitian/Marquesan group. Lots of chanting and stomping around, and some of the most impressive tattoos I had ever seen (that is, until I met the crew).

After lunch, the Aranui went through a few hours of steering tests on the Sea of the Moon before we turned and headed off to the Tuamotos. I sat on the back of the ship, near the crew mess, and watched Tahiti fade away into the twilight – once again profoundly grateful that I am on this journey.

My bunk, C14, in the Aranui dorm. Home away from home for 2 weeks.

My bunk, C14, in the Aranui dorm. Home away from home for 2 weeks.

Papeete harbor with Moorea in the background.

Papeete harbor with Moorea in the background.

On the Papeete dock, the Aranui loaded cars, boats and all kinds of crazy stuff  into the holds and onto the deck.

On the Papeete dock, the Aranui loaded cars, boats and all kinds of crazy stuff into the holds and onto the deck.

Loading the drums for our send off.

Loading the drums for our send off.

The Marquesas are known as the Islands of Men.  Um, yeah.  That sounds about right.

The Marquesas are known as the Islands of Men. Um, yeah. That sounds about right.

While waiting for the ship to leave, we were treated to a Polynesian and Marquesan send off.

While wating for the ship to leave, we were treated to a Polynesian and Marquesan send off.

Tattooing is a very important part of Polynesian and Marquesan culture.

Tattooing is a very important part of Polynesian and Marquesan culture.

View from the Star Deck of Moorea as we set sail.

View from the Star Deck of Moorea as we set sail.

View of Tahiti from a porthole on B deck.

View of Tahiti from a porthole on B deck.

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