Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort…..

Dear F&F,

It was a rare excitement to have an evening out. I looked through our hanging closet to see if I could find something cute to wear, but sadly it all smelled of mildew. Plus many things no longer fit. The lack of fruits & veggies in our diet has taken its toll. We cannot get an accurate measurement on the scale when the boat is bouncing around in the wind, so I don\’t know how many pounds I\’ve gained. A tape measure would work despite the motion, but I am not ready face facts on what has happened to my waistline. When we get more variety of food in Tahiti, a chance to walk every day & hopefully swim, I intend to reclaim my lifelong slim figure. Vanity aside, I resorted to a pair of clean shorts & tank top. Mascara & a necklace gave me a somewhat dressed up feeling.

We cautiously drove the dinghy through the very shallow short distance from where we are anchored to the Tikehau Pearl Beach Hotel. The resort is built in Polynesian style with thatched roofs, open air lobby, bar & restaurant. All the rooms are bungalows over the water. We enjoyed sipping a Mai Tai with Wilfred as we watched the sunset. He gave us a tour of a standard bungalow & the hotel\’s best suite. They were simple yet elegant. It was all I could do to control myself from crawling into the gleaming porcelain bathtub! \”Beach House\” is nice�for a boat. I have always been and probably always will be, a great lover of nice hotel rooms. And these were very nice. For $600-1000 per night they should be! Despite the economic downturn & \”off season\” Wilfred said the hotel is 75% full. Most of the clients are American or European honeymooners. Many stay just 3 nights as part of a French Polynesian multi-island tour. But he said they also have repeat customers (actors, politicians, other famous or very private people) who hide out here for 2 weeks or longer. There is a beautiful pink sand beach. The feeling as you step onto the property is relaxed & indulged. Wonderful!

After our tour, we had a glass of wine in the bar area & eventually eased our way into dinner. Wilfred would not hear of me wanting to share something with Scott. In fact, he insisted we each order a starter as well as a main course. I spotted the warm chocolate cake with ice cream & would have been content to start & finish with that alone. Wilfred ordered the froi gras for starter then the duck. Scott had the chicken satay & beef tenderloin. I mopped up the remains of Scott\’s satay sauce with my roll. My starter was tuna tartare followed by a vegetable plate. It was a small mound of mashed sweet potato plus a medley of green beans, onion & other chopped veggies. We were more than full by the time the molten cakes arrived – one for each of us. The taste was heavenly decadence. It was an incredibly generous gesture for Wilfred to treat us, which we did not expect. We giggled that the staff must think we are real V.I.P.s for the manager to spend so much time with us.

Wilfred encouraged me to review the \”spa menu\”. Since we have a 24 hour stint of travel ahead of us, it seems somewhat a waste to indulge in these luxuries at this time. It was 9:45 pm when we returned to \”Beach House\”. The dinghy hit bottom briefly in the dark. The wind was not as strong as last night & we had told Wilfred to sign us up for the morning dive, but when we awoke & saw the wind kicked up again, we decided to pass.

Weather permitting, we will bid farewell to this final Tuamotu atoll & make our way to Tahiti early tomorrow. The first of the Society Islands. We are glad we had this extra month in the Tuamotus but are now ready for a stint of dock life. We have a chance to see humpback whale mamas & babies in Tahiti & Moorea. We also have a few friends who live there that we look forward to seeing.

The procedure for renewing our visa is not entirely clear so we decided it is best not to wait until the last minute to check in with Immigration. We also have quite a bit of research & ordering to do before my trip to CA.

I will surely weep with joy when I see rows of vegetables & fruit for the first time since Costa Rica. I am down to my last apple and a few carrots. May you all eat your veggies with gusto & be glad you don\’t live on an atoll. Nice places to visit, but it\’s been a long stretch since decent shopping. Mary of sailboat \”Giselle\” wrote me that the cheese aisle was longer than her boat! Yippee!!!

My next report will likely be from Tahiti.

Cindy & Scott